Must Chatbots Be Voice-Enabled To Improve The Customer Experience?

Steve Letford

Digital transformation has forged new pathways for customer relations, allowing organizations to reach their target audiences using emerging technologies that provide instant, easy, and relevant customer experiences. These dramatic advancements in technology have changed customer attitudes toward service times, delivery, and accessibility, especially in the realm of e-commerce. To adapt to customer expectations, companies like Amazon offer Echo, a device that connects to Alexa Voice, enabling customers to access information and complete tasks without having to press a button.

Speed and efficiency is valuable to customers, and this provides the potential for organizations to capitalize on conversational artificial intelligence in retail. Voice-activated chatbots are much more than a fading tech trend, and with companies like Facebook offering businesses text-based and voice-activated communication through Messenger, conversational AI will significantly impact the way customers choose to interact with retailers.

Create a personalized service

Chatbots simulate an in-store experience for customers buying online, ensuring that customer service is cohesive and consistent across the brand. This kind of automation creates a tailored purchasing experience on mobile and web devices, allowing customers to speak to chatbots as they would sales associates. Chatbots can be used to locate and sell products, answer product-related questions, direct customers to helpful web pages, and upsell products with the added benefit of immediacy and accuracy.

Chatbots are the new user interface

Mobile apps are less relevant. unless they’re for messaging. With mobile phone messaging apps estimated to increase to 2.5 billion users worldwide in 2021, retailers have a wider reach if they can integrate chatbots into customer service. Conversational AI already exists within our smartphones with Siri, Bixby, and Google Assistant.  Improvements to natural language processing (NLP) and understanding make voice the new UI. It can respond to more complex questions and complete simple request commands three times faster than texting. That means that retailers need to prepare for the shift in demand, especially in providing seamless customer experiences in e-commerce, even as they ask ”Is it good enough yet?” “Should I focus on other priorities until it’s better?”

The Intelligent Enterprise and conversational AI

Conversational AI will make managing operations more efficient and comprehensive by providing real-time data, accessing information on stock and ordering, volumes, sales figures, and HR management through voice-activated commands. Retailers can build their own chatbots dedicated to specific customer-directed aims and customize NLP models dependent on their performance needs. With growing demand for voice-enabled technologies, conversational AI isn’t an option, but an increasing necessity, in the retail industry.

Of course, there will be discussions about whether voice-enabled commerce is good enough yet, but regardless of its current accuracy, retailers should start planning and preparing for it now.

To learn more about SAP Leonardo Conversational AI Foundation.


Steve Letford

About Steve Letford

Steve Letford is a Senior Account Executive based in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been involved in the transformation of organisations for the past 10 years, with an unwavering passion and deep commitment to the delivery of Innovative business solutions that provide tangible ROI.