The rapid escalation of voice-based interfaces is challenging businesses to understand a new world in which consumers rely on their voices to get what they want. For example, now we can use Spotify Voice to ask Spotify to play our playlists or find new music for us to listen to – hands-free. And financial services firms such as Capital One are enabling bank account access via voice. Consumers can simply ask a question or issue a command, offering unbeatable speed and convenience.

The question is, how can your brand meet customers where they are? As a new report from Forrester points out, voice interfaces challenge businesses to literally define how they express their brands via voice. Analyst Dipanjan Chatterjee writes,

We have crossed a threshold of consumer adoption and brand engagement, and voice strategy has moved from being a twinkle in the CMO’s eye to a rapidly unfolding reality that will define the brand experience in the near future. While the everyday implementation of voice may not yet have the ease of human conversation, the pace of change is rapid and the leaders have already moved. If you don’t have a voice strategy in the making today, it’s time to move now or risk falling behind.

The question is, how can your brand meet customers where they are? As a new report from Forrester points out, voice interfaces challenge businesses to literally define how they express their brands via voice. Analyst Dipanjan Chatterjee writes,

We have crossed a threshold of consumer adoption and brand engagement, and voice strategy has moved from being a twinkle in the CMO’s eye to a rapidly unfolding reality that will define the brand experience in the near future. While the everyday implementation of voice may not yet have the ease of human conversation, the pace of change is rapid and the leaders have already moved. If you don’t have a voice strategy in the making today, it’s time to move now or risk falling behind.

Defining a voice-based strategy also means understanding the nuances of designing for voice. Jakob Nielsen’s time-honored Web heuristics still apply today, but at Moonshot, we’ve found three heuristics to be essential to creating lovable experiences in the world of voice.

 

  1. HAVE DEPTH

Have a clear idea of who your user is and how they communicate. For example, if your skill is geared toward millennials, understanding how they talk so that you are communicating in a way that feels authentic to them. Speak their language. And as a person does, design the skill to have an emotional range.

ALEXA: You got it. This recipe will slow cook all day. Perfect meal after a long day at    work.   

Or  

ALEXA: Sorry, this is frustrating. Let me try again . . .

 

  1. KNOW THE LIMITS

Design the right follow-up prompt for the user request. Ask for confirmation before providing a long answer to a question. Know when to move the conversation to a different platform depending on the environment and job at hand. And know when to end the conversation.

ALEXA: Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day. Should I keep going?

 

  1. KEEP EVOLVING

Listen well and keep evolving the skill. Ask for feedback to see if the answer was successful. Review the data to see what consumers are asking for to intelligently invest in the conversation and validate your investment with objective key results (OKR).

ALEXA: Did that answer your question?

Eventually, voice interfaces will replace keyboards, taps, and swipes for many use cases, and at Moonshot, we‘re helping brands define their voice and authentically connect with customers. If you want to learn more, here are two of my favorite posts from my colleague Mike Edmonds:

 

We have embedded these learnings into our repeatable FUEL process that ensures a disciplined and consistent approach to product innovation. FUEL incorporates everything we know about product design and development – including the heuristics I’ve outlined here. The outcome you can expect by applying FUEL: businesses deliver lovable products to market more frequently and with higher quality, while managing cost and risk – in other words, continuous velocity that achieves breakthrough customer-centric innovation.

For more information on designing lovable products with voice, contact Moonshot.

Raika Sarkett

Raika Sarkett

Practice Lead, Voice

Bitnami