3 Essential Steps for Innovative and New Alexa Skills

Especially through the implementation of voice advances such as new Alexa Skills, the power of the Internet is now a single swipe away, regardless of time or location. With the introduction of digital assistants, the experience of interacting with the Internet became even less mediated. Now, instead of swiping and actively seeking information, users could simply pose questions and listen to the response.
This innovation has profound impact for businesses and marketers, who are busy developing new Alexa Skills and Google actions to better serve their clients. At BIGEYE, we’re part of that trend — we recognized the importance of smart speakers early and we’ve been at the vanguard of digital assistant development.   

With that in mind, let’s discuss three key things we’ve learned while developing for digital assistants.

Intuitive design is critically important

Standard apps have visual cues that people can use for guidance. Even if they don’t entirely understand how the app functions, they can use context clues and visual information to learn how to navigate. They can also scroll back up if any information is forgotten.

Alexa Skills don’t have visual cues or scrolling ability, which means that it’s essential for developers to create logical, intuitive interfaces that are easy to use. Predictive learning is critical; only by anticipating what users are going to say can developers ensure that users don’t become frustrated and disappointed.

Emphasize user experience

People have different expectations when they use voice apps — they expect it to be a more “human-like” experience than that seen in an interaction with a graphical interface. Voice apps should play into this expectation and deliver a warm user experience.

Simplicity should also be stressed. Too much complexity will lower engagement with any app, and that’s especially true with voice technology — still an unfamiliar experience for many people.

Solve a problem

If you want to create an Alexa Skill that finds a loyal audience, focus on solving a real world problem. Give the user a reason to use the technology frequently by having it address a recurring issue they have to deal with.

These problems don’t have to be epic in scale; perhaps it’s just an easier way to order a favorite item, or a reminder that something needs to be done. The important thing is that the Skill adds value and is used frequently in daily life.

The takeaway

Digital assistant technology is being adopted at an incredible rate. Soon, Amazon Alexa and Google Home may become as ubiquitous as the smartphone.

In order to capitalize on this shift, businesses and marketers should apply the insights outlined above during their development efforts. As a top Florida advertising agency, we’ve been integrating these development advances into our own client strategies.

Contact us today to see how we advance your brand into this new voice technology realm.

How Chatbot Observations Enhance a Full-Service Advertising Agency

Chatbots are little computer programs designed to engage in lifelike, real-time conversation with humans, typically on a company’s website or on social media platforms. If you spend any time shopping on the web, you’ve probably chatted with a bot, whether you knew you were or not.

With ongoing advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), the chatbots’ “people skills” are getting pretty impressive. That’s why more companies are starting to take advantage of them to beef up their “human” workforce without actually adding any humans. Businesses are getting a big boost in productivity by letting chatbots handle initial interactions with prospects and customers. In fact, according to a study by Oracle, 80% of marketing and sales leaders say their organizations already use chatbots or will by 2020, making a partnership with a full-service advertising agency more valuable.

As a digital marketing agency that helps companies grow sales by attracting more visitors to their website, we’re thrilled about the power of chatbots to enhance the customer experience. And, we see huge potential for human/AI interactions from our work with clients in providing voice engineering services.

In efforts to emphasize the increasing implementation of chatbots, here are a number of ways that chatbots are changing the marketing and sales landscape:

24/7/365 availability and prompt answers

Chatbots don’t sleep, don’t need breaks, and don’t take vacations. They are absolute workaholics and are available to answer questions around the clock. That’s a significant advantage in our ever-more-global economy and with people who have expectations of getting the information they need when they need it.

Proactive customer service

Even as a full-service advertising agency we recognize that interactions with human customer service agents are usually reactive; the website visitor asks a question and the staff member replies. Chatbots can be programmed to be proactive. They can offer help when they detect indicators that the visitor is confused or is interested in a particular product or service and ready to “talk” about it.

Freeing humans for other tasks

With chatbots handling initial inquiries, human workers can focus on higher-level tasks, and in the process grow their careers and contribute more to the company’s bottom line.

Zero errors

Chatbots answer questions accurately every time. Where a human worker might occasionally make a mistake in explaining a promotion, resolving a problem resolution, etc., your faithful chatbot will only share the information that you’ve carefully programmed into it!

Perfectly calm demeanor

Everyone knows that customer service can be a little… let’s say… challenging. But while humans might eventually lose their cool with a particularly grumpy prospect or customer, a chatbot never will.

Easier and more complete data collection

Nobody likes to be faced with a form of seemingly endless fields when they need to provide information. Chatbots can get the required data in a conversational manner that feels less like work for the site visitor. This includes reminders about missing information or explanations about what a particular piece of data is or why it’s needed.

Wondering how chatbots can figure into your marketing efforts, customer service plans, and help drive greater success? We’re a full-service advertising agency that loves to talk artificial intelligence! Contact our team today to learn more. (We promise you’ll reach us and not a chatbot!)

The Importance of Voice Commerce for CPG Brands Continues to Spike

Voice commerce may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your CPG brand’s end of year strategy … but it should be. Get ahead of the competition by embracing this trend before it’s too late. In case voice commerce is new to you, here are a few statistics showcasing what voice commerce can do for your brand.

Voice commerce is the fastest growing retail channel

According to OC&C, voice commerce will represent a $40 billion retail channel by 2022. Despite the prevalence of mobile and e-commerce shopping platforms, consumers cite convenience, speed, and the ability to multitask as reasons why they are beginning to prefer shopping by voice.

Although the most common form of voice commerce is creating shopping lists and checking delivery, Amazon Echo’s Alexa users are increasing point of sale conversion metrics exponentially. Amazon’s one-click shopping flow and saved payment options make purchasing by voice frictionless and have helped Echo users become comfortable with voice commerce so the trend can expand.

Smart speaker voice commerce outpaces mobile aI assistants

Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other smart speaker customers are more likely to shop by voice than those using mobile virtual assistants such as Siri and Cortana. NPR’s Smart Audio Report found that nearly 60% of smart speaker owners have already purchased items using their devices. While another study from Capgemini, indicated that 40% — perhaps the remaining market share — of consumers predict they will be more likely to use voice commerce to make purchases rather than engaging with a retailer’s mobile app or website.

 If your brand can only invest in one voice commerce platform, we recommend partnering with a digital marketing agency like ours to create baseline integrations for smart speakers. 

Smart speaker users also represent higher AOV

Due to the socioeconomic demographics of smart speaker owners who tend to be wealthier and more tech-savvy, shoppers using Amazon Echo tend more on CPG products than consumers without speakers.

A consumer report by InfoScout in collaboration with Alpine.ai saw a 29% lift in consumers’ year over year CPG product purchases who had smart speakers, and only a 19% lift in those that did not. While this metric does not show causality, the correlation between speaker owners and higher AOV’s signal digital marketers to begin investing in this trend as a way to access a more desirable customer base. 

Voice commerce is critical for standardized CPG products

Before the end of 2018, 55% of retailers plan to have voice assistance integrations on their roadmap, 60% plan to have mobile voice search, and 58% plan to have desktop voice search, according to a study by Onespace.

Staying in line or ahead of this digital trend is important for CPG brands, especially those that sell standardized products and have few opportunities to differentiate themselves beyond price and placement within the market. While it may not give you an immediate leg up, no CPG brand can afford to fall behind.

Connect with us to learn more about voice commerce and other cutting-edge technology that BIGEYE uses to transform our clients’ brands. When you reach out to our team, we’ll work with you to create a custom digital transformation strategy that puts your products everywhere your clients are shopping.

How hospitals & medical centers are incorporating voice technology

A smart, reliable voice assistant makes life easier — and in turn helps make us more productive. The truth is that we live in a world where mobile and smart devices are used for almost everything. By moving these functions from a smartphone to a voice assistant, the experience becomes simpler and less mediated. Having the power of the Internet not merely at our fingertips, but also ready to be activated at the sound of our voice, is a development with massive implications — not only at home, but also in the workplace.
One key example: Hospitals, where the stakes couldn’t be higher and the need for innovative technological solutions is ever-present, are on the verge of experiencing a patient-care transformation facilitated by voice apps in healthcare.

The growing presence of Alexa in healthcare

Within medical centers, the shift from desktops to laptops — and later from laptops to mobile — was a significant one. Today, voice technology is supplementing mobile and may largely replace it within the next decade. Recently Healthcare IT News took a close look at how voice technology is being deployed at several prominent hospitals.

At Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, Amazon Alexa development is in full swing. A team of IT professionals and developers have created applications that allow patients to ask Alexa (or Google Home) to call for a nurse, check what’s on the evening menu, find out when a physician is arriving and other fundamental tasks.
Normally, many such activities would require the attention of a medical professional. By using voice technology to automate these processes, hospitals are providing timelier services and freeing up personnel for value-added tasks.

At Northwell Health in New York, IT teams are developing with Alexa and Google Home. Here, they use cases for voice technology that include letting patients know how long they will be waiting in emergency rooms and directing them to nearby urgent care centers.

Once mature, the technology would allow someone who slices open a finger while preparing a meal to ask Alexa which nearby medical center has the shortest wait period. Because Alexa is integrated with Northwell’s app, she can query local hospitals and urgent cares and provide an optimal solution within seconds using real-time data. This allows those who are injured to get treatment quickly, while also reducing bottlenecks at local hospitals.

Finally, Libertana Home Health is leveraging voice technology to help elderly clients live independently. Alexa is not only a useful tool to help people remember appointments and medication schedules, but it also provides a form of social interaction.

A pilot study conducted by the organization showed that voice assistants can help reduce loneliness by interacting with the elderly. Alexa can be programmed to play cognitive games that enhance memory and deliver daily personalized greetings.

The takeaway

Voice technology is helping to transform patient care. Our agency has been at the forefront of this developing trend, creating deeply useful third-party apps that allow organizations to unlock the full power of voice technology.

If you need assistance with Amazon Alexa development or Google Home programming, we’d love to help do the same for you.

How voice technology is transforming the healthcare industry

In the healthcare field, the voice technology platforms developed by both businesses (Amazon Alexa and Google Home) have been lauded by medical practitioners and developers alike.
It’s not difficult to see why the interest has been so apparent. While voice interaction has been a resounding success in the consumer market, allowing users to save time by automating essential home functions, its applications in business and organizational contexts are just now being explored.
One thing, however, is certain: As voice technology matures, its effect on the healthcare industry operations will be profound.

How voice technology changes how patient care is delivered

Voice app development in the medical field is somewhat constrained by the fact that most major voice tech products are not yet HIPAA compliant (though Amazon and others are working to achieve this). Yet even working within these limitations, developers have already made remarkable strides toward making healthcare more efficient and accurate.

Medical centers are using Alexa and other platforms to transmit routine medical data to patients in their homes. Hospitals are also using voice technology to help with surgical note taking or record keeping. Voice technology also has a crucial role to play in helping people become more involved in their own health care.

One app, as well as many others, created by Boston Children’s Hospital, allows users to access information about common medical conditions and prescription medicine dosage. Apps such as these can help deliver much-needed information virtually instantly, without the need to waste time performing manual searches.
Communicating via voice, rather than having an experience that’s mediated by a screen, has immense potential for helping patients become more engaged with their own health. This will ultimately give them the power and agency necessary to make substantial improvements to their own lives.

What the future holds

While these initial developments are quite promising, they represent merely the first steps toward deeper voice technology integration with healthcare services. Some of the world’s most prominent medical centers are experimenting with voice technology in an effort to build applications that will transform how hospitals operate and how patients are treated.

Third party voice application developers are busy dreaming up innovative new uses for Alexa and her competitors in healthcare settings. Amazon is busy supporting this wave of development; one example is a recent software development challenge the company co-hosted with pharmaceutical giant Merck. Developers were tasked with finding creative voice technology solutions to help people manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Devices such as Alexa are well-suited to help people manage these chronic conditions. By asking simple questions such as “have you taken your medication today?” Alexa and other platforms can help ensure that patients remain compliant with their treatment needs. This is critically important, as some studies have shown up to 50-percent of patients do not comply with their dosing schedule — a problem that has massive public health consequences.

The takeaway

Voice technology has a major role to play in the healthcare field — and we’ve only begun to see this impact take shape. Our firm has been at the forefront of this trend, and we’ve used our expertise to help clients in a variety of fields harness the power of voice technology to improve their own processes.
In the coming days and weeks, we’ll publish more content explaining how voice technology can benefit both hospitals and patients by driving better financial and personal health outcomes.

Need help incorporating voice technology into your current strategy? Contact our team of professionals today to learn more about our voice interaction services.

Why voice technology is important for your business

Today, voice-based assistants such as Siri and Cortana are used to fulfill basic office tasks such as document retrieval, typing and transcription. Saving even a few seconds during such common tasks can lead to significant productivity gains when taken to scale.
 

Why voice technology is right for your business

One needs only look at the quickly escalating adoption of voice technology — and the laserlike focus on the development of such technology by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, to understand the paradigm shift that’s underway. Research firm Gartner has estimated that 30-percent of our technology interactions will be voice-based by the end of 2018. As the technology matures and grows more powerful, we can expect this number to grow dramatically, as businesses and consumers seek to take advantage of the ease of use and efficiency offered by voice interactions. At some point in the not distant future, the frictionless nature of voice technology makes it destined to become the default means of tech communication — and this will transform the business landscape.

While voice may be the dominant form of technology interfacing in the near future, today it largely serves as a key supplementary technology. When deployed in appropriate areas and used within current technological limits, it can help reduce inefficiency, improve the customer experience and help businesses earn a decided competitive advantage.

Partnering with a third-party application developer is of the best ways for businesses to ensure that voice technology is leveraged to its full potential. These providers can develop industry-specific solutions that make voice technology more effective while improving the customer experience. By helping companies take full advantage of Amazon skill development and assisting with the formulation of a strategy for the deployment of voice technology, these providers serve as a trusted gateway into this exciting new business realm.

 

Examples of voice technology deployed in a business setting

Getting the most out of voice interactions demands a two-prong strategy. First, businesses need to play to the strength of voice assistants, they are remarkably good at what they do, yet it should still be understood that these are first-generation devices. Ensuring your dialogue with Alexa or Google Assistant has the requisite context clues and conversational relevance, for example, can make the process much more efficient.

Second, businesses will benefit from developing tailored use cases where voice technology can be effectively applied. Today, this goes well beyond simple tasks such as email dictation. Today, voice technology is used in myriad ways. For example, the Museum of Modern Art used voice technology to help visitors navigate their building by deploying Amazon Echos throughout the facility.

Visitors could ask Alexa about hours, restroom locations and even the theme or intent behind specific works of art. Voice technology is also deployed on a daily basis in more routine corporate settings, filling key tasks such as making warehouse operations more efficient by helping workers locate inventory.

 

The takeaway

As voice technology continues to mature — and businesses grow more creative with applications — we can expect it to grow from a key supplementary technology to a core part of business operations. Enterprises staying at the vanguard of new developments in this area are likely to reap profound competitive advantages.

At BIGEYE marketing agency, we help our corporate clients get the absolute most out of voice technology every day. We provide market leading voice solutions supported by a sophisticated understanding of both the technology and our clients’ needs.

If you believe voice technology can better serve your business, please reach out for more information about how we can help.