About One-third of Smart Speaker Owners Want to Contact Customer Service Departments by Voice
Many businesses are thinking about how to best employ voice assistants now that over 66 million U.S. consumers own smart speakers. Some are building voice apps to create consumer engagement and capture new customers. However, one use case that every business should be considering is building voice apps for customer support. In the U.S. Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2019, 31.4% of smart speaker owners said they were interested in using their devices to contact customer service departments.
Not every smart speaker owner is enthusiastic about using their device to contact customer support. More than 38% said they are not interested with another 30.4% saying they are unsure. That means consumer product brands and other companies that have customer service today that is online or telephone-based at least have 30% and maybe 60% of the populous interested in using smart speakers for self-service.
Smart speakers are not currently designed to connect directly to customer service departments using calling services. So, businesses cannot today replicate their contact center services using smart speakers as speakerphones, but they can put FAQs in Alexa skills and Google Actions which may provide useful services for customers with a higher level of convenience. Jason Fields, Chief Strategy Officer at Voicify, was not surprised by the consumer interest in marrying smart speakers with customer service needs. He commented,
Customer service is simply an early iteration of what we call customer experience today. That customers are interested in leveraging their voice assistants as service vehicles in their lives should have every brand hurrying to meet their customers where they are.
Some Brands Already Providing Customer Service Through Smart Speakers
A few brands have already recognized this opportunity and launched voice apps with customer service features. Levi’s has both an Alexa skill and Google Action that will help consumers select a product, get information about returns and gift cards, and where they can find a local store. Neiman Marcus also has an Alexa skill and Google Action that enable customers to ask about order status and how to make returns. P&G has similar features in its voice apps.
However, the number of brands listing customer service features in their Alexa skills and Google Actions is short. There are far more brands and retailers offering consumer engagement and shopping features. Any brand that is contemplating how to get started with a presence on voice assistants or is considering how to expand their current offering should look into customer service. Many organizations could simply repurpose FAQs from their website and provide contact center information for those interactions that require human intervention to support the customer. Product search is already popular on smart speakers and adding customer support information could be another way to create a positive interaction with new and existing customers.