Trend 10: Digital Assistance—Voice Search

Earlier this year, HGS released a white paper on this year’s top 10 trends in customer service. Over the course of the past year, we’ve dedicated a blog post to each of these CX game changers. Here, we dissect CX Trend No.10: Digital Assistance—Voice Search, highlighting strategies designed to drive the right answer, fast, for your customers—to ultimately result in a higher CSAT and NPS score for your business.

By Lauren Kindzierski, HGS Vice President, Solutions and Capabilities

The last topic in our blog series on the 2017 trends is digital assistance using voice search functionality.

So, what is a digital assistant? A digital assistant, also called a virtual assistant, is an application program that can understand natural language and complete electronic tasks for the end user. The biggest players in the arena, Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa), Microsoft (Cortana), and Google (Google Now) are all now competing to make the best digital assistant.


Google reports that one in every five Google Android apps is a voice search. And, according to Gartner, by 2020, 30% of web browsing will be done without a screen. The same study reports that many teens already use voice search daily and platforms like Apple’s AirPods, Google Home, and Amazon’s Echo are bringing in “voice-first” experiences. Using hands and eyes for browsing is paving the way for voice interactions to increase its areas of influence.

Customers are continually on the go, and it is not always possible to type in keywords and search. These customers are reaching out toward new search methods that are efficient and fast and require investment of minimal effort. Voice search is all this while also being accessible, easy-to-use technology. Voice digital assistant products provide other avenues of self-service. Voice digital assistants help customers find the right answer fast via self-service.

The addition of voice search as another tool will contribute significantly in ensuring reduction of customer effort and offering great customer experiences. There can be a lot of uses for customer service to leverage the power of a digital assistant. With voice assistants getting more responsive and advanced, customers are increasingly gravitating towards voice search. AI technology is also continuously evolving to understand user intent and search context better to make customer usage more efficient and effortless.

For example, Nuance recently rolled out its version of the digital assistant referred to as “Nina.” Nina delivers engaging self-service platforms for your customers to transact, navigate, ask questions, and get exactly what they need. Customers converse with Nina through voice or text, and Nina delivers instant, accurate, and successful outcomes in a natural, human-like way. Accenture also rolled out its interactive digital assistant, which combines artificial intelligence, live agents, and social media to manage and optimize customer interaction across channels in a manner driven by automation.

Over time, continuously learning through human interactions, the digital assistant’s artificial intelligence capabilities will expand to handle more and more interactions, allowing live agents to focus their time and talents on high-value customers and more complex or critical issues. Empathy-focused customer service can take higher precedence with digital voice assistants taking up the load of simple and repetitive queries.