84 Percent of Businesses Expect to Use Voice Technology with Customers in the Next Year

A new survey by Pindrop of 500 IT and business decision-makers in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K. found that 28% are using voice technology with customers today and 84% expect to be using it in the next year. A full 94% expect to be using voice AI with customers within two years. That is an overwhelming trend by enterprises planning to adopt voice AI technologies.

Image Courtesy of Pindrop

The study found that 94% of managers believe that voice technology is an important driver of customer satisfaction and 88% believe it can deliver a competitive advantage. Only 57% believe it will reduce the cost of customer transactions.

“The number of businesses to utilize voice to interact with their customers will triple [in the next year], with over two-thirds planning to use voice for the majority of interactions, and nearly one fourth to use voice for all interactions in the next five years.”

All of the Above Strategy for Voice

Business users listed Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant as the top targets for enterprise investment in the next two years at 78%, but Amazon Echo trailed by only one point at 77%. Even IBM Watson, Apple Siri and Samsung Bixby cleared 60% likelihood of investment.

Image Courtesy of Pindrop

The logical conclusion is that IT and business leaders see these different tools as all having value to the enterprise and that the intent is to provide consumers with voice access through their preferred channel. It doesn’t seem likely that a business would force their customers to use Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri or Cortana. Instead they will create onramps through each assistant to interact with the company.

With that said, a survey earlier in 2018 by Spiceworks also found Cortana topped the list of voice assistants that U.S. and European businesses plan to support. That study found Siri being the second most popular selection. The rapid rise in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa popularity among businesses is likely driven by their rapidly growing consumer user bases. One concern expressed by the business users in Pindrop’s report related to data ownership.

“Though businesses seem to be welcoming voice technology with open arms, there are also high levels of concern (80 percent) regarding the ability for businesses to keep the data acquired through voice-based technology safe.”

There will no doubt be concerns over the security of personally identifiable information (PII) and GDPR compliance. However, the issue about businesses being able to access and keep their customer interaction data will likely be a rising point of contention with the large tech players such as Amazon, Google and Apple. This may provide an opportunity for independent voice assistants such as SoundHound and Mycroft to highlight their key differentiators related to data ownership.

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