HGS Trend 5: Smart Speakers Become Digital CX Voice Assistants

Earlier this year, HGS presented our trends forecast, comprising customer experience (CX) disrupter predictions, supported by practical strategies businesses can use to succeed in the changing marketplace. This HGS ebook covers 11 trends, from those in self-service, mobile service, messaging, and social media, to artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and analytics. This year we frame change with the perspectives of an elite group of industry thought leaders. Here, we describe how HGS supports CX Trend No.5, from Ivan Kotzev, Lead Analyst, Customer Experience (CX) Services, NelsonHall on how smart speakers have become digital CX voice assistants.

Here’s the recap of Trend 5 of the ebook:

ASSISTANT: Smart speakers become digital CX voice assistants

Ivan Kotzev, Lead Analyst, Customer Experience (CX) Services, NelsonHall

We saw consumers embracing smart speakers, with adoption of the channel stronger than expected. The installed base of Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod is growing rapidly in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, as well as in Korea (Naver, LG) and China (Alibaba Genie). In fact, its usage is underestimated because multiple users interact with the same device, unlike the smartphone. This year, tech investments in the area will continue with the launch of Facebook Portal and Samsung Galaxy Home Smart.

The focal point of this home consumer technology ecosystem will be digital voice assistants, which provide a low-effort and cost-effective control point for managing the connected home. Think of this tool as tomorrow’s remote control—with less risk of losing it. Use cases abound, as with the most mature device, Amazon Echo, where the number of developed skills has surpassed 30,000. Current CX implementations range from product promotion, new sales, repeat sales, account management, account notifications and status updates, order tracking, and escalations to live support. Additionally, with the integration of video (YouTube), technical support with visual guides has a lot of potential.

There is significant untapped potential for this innovation. In fact, entire consumer segments can be opened with digital voice assistants, (such as, visually impaired, limited mobility, computer illiterate). Its business uses are growing with current opportunities for scheduling, simple tasks assignment, email, and message typing. The breadth of applications in the home is growing further as users become accustomed to using the devices for multiple purposes from basic search and discovery to more complex tasks, and serving as an entry point for a business (such as getting help from Task Rabbit, starting a smart device, or shopping).

Verticals with existing or planned implementations include e-commerce, telecom, security, retail banking, travel, utilities, and charities.


By Parikshit Kalra, Senior Vice President of Solutions and Capabilities at HGS

Customer experience (CX) is constantly evolving, enriched by embracing and accommodating newer technologies and solutions. Chatbots, advanced predictive analytics and reporting, and complex data-driven consumer engagement strategies are just the tip of the iceberg. In a growing, symbiotic-like relationship between consumers and companies, technology and its role in CX is growing in importance.

A relatively new entrant is the “small and ubiquitous” smart speaker. The speaker is a gadget that has been around for decades, and has now grown into a multi-featured phenomenon that is powered by intelligent software and artificial intelligence (AI). This innovation learns from every interaction or instance with a user and imbibes that learning into an array of skills and capabilities. Though these more intelligent smart speakers have not been around for very long, it has been accelerated learning. Smart speakers are boosted with numerous applications to enable their many functions and features. Additionally, smart speakers have joined the swelling ranks of internet of things (IoT) enabled and connected devices which has contributed to their high popularity levels. These speakers are finding application and uses across industries with increasing adoption of connected devices in every home driving up consumption. Brands are applying smart speakers in numerous scenarios like playing interactive media (and thereby increasing paid online media subscriptions), tracking online shopping portal orders, video calls, etc.

In today’s digital and AI-enabled world, smart speakers can play a major role in making better CX and technology more accessible to consumers with impaired vision, mobility issues, and those who aren’t tech savvy. These devices can make it easier for brands to reach out to and build more mutually satisfying and profitable relationships.

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