A few decades ago, speaking to a computer to get things done was showcasing in the sci-fi realm. As early as 1968, an astronaut crew had conversations with HAL 9000, a sentient computer, in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey which captured the public’s imagination. Cut to 2020, today, we text humans and speak to computers.
Interaction with a smart voice assistant goes well beyond requesting your favorite jazz music in the evening, inquiring about the weather, asking for directions, or your kids getting some help with their math homework.
As we rapidly progress towards the world of autonomous vehicles, smart homes, smart cities, and Internet of things (IoT), we find ourselves increasingly interacting with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered smart voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana or Apple’s Siri. Your car answering your questions does not seem as far-fetched an idea anymore unlike the 1982 Sci-Fi TV show Nightrider did at that time.
Voice-Led Technology is Here to Stay
According to Google’s Voice Search Statistics, voice commands constitute about 30% of all searches on mobile. This rate is expected to reach almost 50% by the end of 2020. About 75% of all iPhone owners have used Siri for performing tasks. Similarly, approximately 63% of Android owners have communicated with a virtual assistant on their smartphone. Ease of use, the amount of time saved, and the sheer convenience of getting things done anytime, anywhere are primarily driving adoption.
Smart devices equipped with voice assistants are becoming pervasive with over 100 million Amazon Alexa-equipped devices being sold within the first three years of the product release. It is only a short matter of time before voice technology moves to more complex and critical tasks like banking. But, will it deliver a similar quantum leap in usability like we saw with mobile devices?
Voice Assistants and Voice Banking Gains Momentum
We have come a long way from the traditional banking paradigm where transactions used to be found in a checkbook. Technology has made access to banking information easier through advancements like ATM, ITM, Home Banking, and Mobile Banking. Banking consumers demand even more convenient, quick, and insightful ways of interacting with their banks. Voice banking is our next big bet to further this cause.
Financial Institutions like American Express, US Bank, and Captial One have already launched Alexa-powered voice-banking system. Many more institutions are hopping onto the bandwagon to offer voice banking services. Evidently, it is beyond doubt that voice-led banking is making its way into people’s daily lives. What more can we expect to see in the future?
Why Voice Banking
It is easy to decipher why voice-led banking is gaining popularity at a rapid clip. As mentioned earlier, voice-enabled smart assistants ranging from Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri to Samsung’s Bixby are now indispensable for simple tasks such as placing a call.
With a virtually unlimited stream of organic voice data to process and the accompanying computational power to make sense of this fuzzy data, the quality of interactions and the scope of conversations with these virtual assistants are only going to increase
For an industry like Financial Services where customer satisfaction is a differentiator, acquisition costs are high, and the supply side is crowded, voice banking will help the institution maintain its edge by dedicating the staff’s effort to offering value-adding, personalized service and relationship-building. This is only possible when the load of everyday support activities is automated and customer experience roadblocks are eliminated.
The days of waiting on the telephone for 20 minutes to check a transaction deserve to be a thing of the past. By empowering the staff, the institution is likely to have happier staff which, invariably leads to happier customers, while reducing operational costs.
Voice technology is evolving to understand conversational linguistics, varied dialects, slangs, and accents. The entire voice ecosystem is growing out of nascency, and in to important areas like security and reliability of service are drawing attention from both the smart speaker makers and voice apps developer community.
Voice Banking will not just be another “tool” to handle customer queries but is poised to be a full-fledged digital channel which will truly lend your unique voice (pun intended) to your customer relationships.