For businesses of all sizes, the move of people from screen to voice search and interactions may seem a long way in the future – however, when three (if not all) of the big four of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are investing billions in the technology that underpins the behaviour then there is only one ‘direction of travel’.
The move to voice will only increase and as such the opportunities for interacting with customers through voice will only expand over the next 12 months. The marketing collateral that both Google and Amazon have put behind both ‘Home’ and ‘Echo’ will only increase take-up and in many ways, will create its own demand.
Alexa for Hospitality
The use of increased digital services ‘on-site’ – within the hospitality sector – is already gaining traction and is an area where holiday parks are already investing time and budget, and voice is simply one albeit more recent aspect of those digital services.
15-20% (and growing) of all households in the UK already own a smart speaker (Alexa, Google Mini etc.), so the expectation for all aspects of the hospitality and leisure markets to provide voice services to customers will no doubt increase too. So much so, that Amazon have recently announced a specific range of services and functionality for the hospitality sector – https://www.amazon.com/alexaforhospitality
Voice Services for Holiday Parks
At Key Digital we have already been testing and prototyping some voice services to understand how we can enable our holiday park clients to offer voice services directly to their customers at the right time, in the right context and delivering useful services.
Here’s a short video that explains voice in a bit more detail and shows our prototype – Park Speak – that enables a user to book a table at a park restaurant.
Should you invest in voice search?
So, how can your business serve your customers changing habits and digital interaction? Should you invest time and money in developing voice ready content and services to meet your customers expectations, if not their demands?
We’ve pulled together a few questions to ask of yourself and your existing digital services that create a quick checklist of when to investigate or invest in voice services.
So, we think you should ask the following questions of any type of interaction where you are considering providing a service via a delivery channel of voice;
- Is it easier to reach for a mobile phone to complete the task?
- Are you slowing down, interrupting or distracting the customer from other tasks?
- Are you confusing the customer with too much choice? I.e. an app, a website, a reception area, the telephone and now voice and smart-speaker
For example, in our table booking prototype we identified that the customer wanted to complete the following tasks (without visiting reception) and was happy to do so by voice;
- Checking table availability for a date and time.
- Booking a table for the date, time, for a specific number of people.
- Receiving quick and accurate confirmation of booking.
The benefits for the customer were;
- Time saving
- No need to pick up their phone
- Quick to complete
- Reassurance that a table was booked
Benefits of voice-based services
So, if you’ve convinced yourself that there are some considerable benefits to creating a voice-based service, you should perhaps ask some of the following questions to put some depth to your planning.
- Do you have the data to support voice interactions? e. Prices, availability, opening hours etc. in a database (of any kind).
- Can you provide the customer with more information, quickly and accurately? Can you give them a price, availability or a schedule easier and quicker than on screen?
- Can the customer make and confirm a decision/complete an action in this interaction? Is there a clear ‘end-point’ for the customer after they have finished interacting with you via voice?
- Is there a clear next step for your business to complete after the interaction and is that online or offline? Can you easily follow-up (if required) with the client?
- Can the interaction be monetised? Not always immediately (i.e. selling a pair of shoes) but does it improve customer service (and therefore brand reputation) or does it take the customer closer to committing to ‘transacting’ with you?
- Will it build trust of your business for the customer? Will your customers have their opinions of your business reinforced (if positive) and changed (if negative)?
- Will it be used regularly, and can it be updated? Its regular use should be tested with customers and benchmarked. But can you commit to ensuring that the questions, answers and data is constantly checked and maintained. You spend time on your website and social – can you do the same for voice?
- Are you clear over the place of the interaction in a wider customer journey? Do you understand where voice sits within the entire customer journey with you? How does it sit alongside your website, social media and offline interactions (leaflets, reception teams etc.)? How does your customer journey ‘puzzle’ fit together?
- Can you utilise existing services to get the customer comfortable and trusting of the tech? Do you have existing data or services that can be rapidly deployed into a voice service? I.e. do you have all your accommodation, prices and availability together that can be easily searched? If so, then yes you can.
- Can you develop a consistent marketing message for the use of the tech? Can you market the service to your customers simply and easily?
- Can we capture and learn from the interactions and data? Are you going to review the data that Google Home or Amazon Alexa will give you and update or change the services?
We hope this very brief article has helped you understand a little more about the opportunities that voice interactions bring and how you can start to meet your customers technological and digital expectations to provide useful and engaging services.
We believe that with the Amazon investment in hospitality services for voice it’s the right time for holiday parks to begin to consider the option themselves and we are very happy to chat through any questions you may have to help you get started – do just drop us a line.