Introduction

6 min read

How do Voice User Interfaces Compare with Chatbots

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Voice bots are the next frontier of artificial intelligence. They've been around for a while, but their use is on the rise as they become more readily available and provide a variety of advantages. One reason why voice bots have grown in popularity recently is that voice recognition technology has advanced significantly.

The growth in popularity of voice bots is also aided by the fact that more companies are developing their own AI assistant, such as Amazon with Alexa and Google with Assistant. Being among the most popular automation solutions, voice bots are quickly becoming a must-have for any contact centre. This article will start by defining exactly what voice robots are, and how they work before going through their advantages over chatbots and some of the functions they may perform to assist your company.

What's a Voice Bot?

A voice bot is an automated system designed to answer questions that are commonly asked by customers and perform simple tasks. It's an AI-powered helper that can communicate with users using spoken language. Picture it as a modern version of the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, that can handle many phone calls and voice chat sessions without the need for human attention, or if they're not able to answer the question for any reason they can route calls to appropriate contact centre agents for additional support.

How Does a Voice Bot Work?

Voice bots utilise artificial intelligence to an even bigger extent than AI-powered chatbots. They use natural language understanding, sentiment analysis, and natural language generation, which makes them similar to their text-only counterparts, but they need to perform additional steps to understand human speech and be able to generate natural-sounding responses. The conversation usually starts when the customer starts to speak, the bot needs to detect that thanks to the voice activity detection system and start paying attention.

What're the Differences Between Voice Bots and Chatbots?

While they can both streamline the customer journey without sacrificing user experience and reduce the number of contacts that need human attention, there are times when people prefer to use voice over text-based chat. Maintaining clear communication across modalities is very important and the usage of voice channels is constantly increasing.

Although chatbots and voice bots are not identical, it helps to view them in the same light. Both use the same underlying technology and are designed to understand a customer’s question and deliver the right answers at the right time, but a chatbot uses text-based messaging while a voice bot engages purely through voice.

What're the Advantages of Voice Bots?

While most people are good at texting, multitasking, and switching between messaging applications, voice search is becoming a big trend especially among the younger consumers, who have grown up in the digital age, and often find the act of manually typing in requests to be outdated.

On the other hand, as the population ages, the use of voice-only interfaces is going to become increasingly important. Both of these observations are good indicators that voice-based interactions with businesses will continue to rise in the future. Here are some of the most important advantages of voice interactions:

Accessibility

One of the biggest advantages of voice bots is their inherent accessibility. Customers can interact with them hands-free, without ever needing to input text manually, which can be useful not only to interact with it while performing some other activity, like running in the park or driving to work but can also help to reach people with certain disabilities, who have problems with reading or typing.

Speed

Voice bots also provide an advantage in terms of speed, simply because they allow customers to avoid having to type queries or requests. Looking at the numbers alone, people can type around fifty words per minute on average, whereas they can speak almost three times faster. This results in providing a real-time, and largely uninterrupted customer experience.

Intuitiveness

Using voice is the most natural way of communication for human beings. Most people can communicate using their voice around the age of three and continue to use this ability throughout their lifetime. It's also worth noting that it enables easy access to information since most people don't have any problems with asking quesitons even if they're less familiar with technology in general.

Personalisation

Another advantage of voice bots is that they can offer a more personalised experience than text-based chatbots. The context in which customers interact with an interface changes the way they formulate their questions or requests. While a text chatbot requires text inputs, a voice bot can pick up on contextual cues, such as demographics from the tone of their voice, and adapt accordingly.

What're the Disadvantages of Voice Bots?

While voice might be beneficial in many scenarios, this is not always the best medium for your users. Here are some reasons why voice user interfaces are not a good idea:

Public Spaces

Customers who are in public spaces, such as movie theatres, offices, or trains often don't use voice interfaces to contact businesses because they don’t want to interrupt people around them. Besides that, there's a technical difficulty to doing that. Just imagine if everyone in your office started to talk to their voice assistant at the same time, despite the chaos, there's a problem in choosing whom to listen to.

Discomfort

Although talking to voice-enabled assistants is becoming more common, there are still people who might find it uncomfortable speaking out loud to a robot, even in private. This is especially true when this form they're new to this form of interacting with technology. People who find it difficult might be reluctant to use voice interfaces unless they need to complete an urgent task or activity.

Text Preference

Most people spend a lot of time on their mobile devices communicating through real-time messaging with their friends, family, and businesses using text. They might have been accustomed to it so much that they prefer this form of interaction and might not want to shift to voice unless they need to free their hands to perform some other activity.

Privacy

People don't want other people around them to hear their personal information. If you need to ask for their details or other sensitive information, like your credit card number, or some medical details it might be better to do it via text-based messaging. It's also important to remember not to automatically read any sensitive data out loud.

Conclusion

Voice is the most natural way of communicating and it's preferred by many customers because getting answers is extremely efficient. Voice search, virtual assistants, and voice bots enable fast and easy access to information. Voice interfaces allow customers to receive assistance while multitasking, which makes them an ideal multi-tasking customer support tool.

These characteristics enable customers to get in touch with businesses while going about their daily lives and make them great candidates to improve customer experience. Now is a good time to integrate them into your business communication because their importance will continue to grow and bring benefits in the years to come.

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