In last year’s inaugural State of ASR report, we partnered with Opus Research to examine how companies of all sizes use voice technologies built on ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) to drive efficiencies and productivity through their organizations. But businesses have come to understand the inherent value of voice and the data it holds, so this year, we wanted to expand beyond just ASR to the entire speech technology industry. We wanted to dig deeper into the motivations for using voice technology, what the future holds for voice, and the most impactful uses of speech and voice technology that companies are seeing today-the State of Voice Technology report was born. To make it happen, we again partnered with Opus Research, who surveyed 400 North American decision makers-from managers to the C-suite in various industries from finance to healthcare to hospitality-to understand how they are currently using voice technology and what they think is coming in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the major findings from this year’s report.
Major Findings from the Report
One of the most interesting results is the speed with which companies are moving from voice technology as a cost-saving tool to a revenue-generating strategy. Companies are thinking about all the insights that can be gained and actions that can immediately be implemented to create more loyalty, build better products, and create additional revenues. Voice technology automation is moving away from, “Say one for support, say two for sales…” to a voice bot that might say, “You said you need more bandwidth, you might want to upgrade to our premium package, so let’s look at the cost difference for you.” Voice technology is being recognized not as a cost but as an investment to increase revenues. Cost savings is a want-to-have but increasing revenues is a need-to-have, so this may be the time you really see voice technology takeoff in business. Here are some of the other key findings that are revealed in the report:
Customer experience is the top motivator for speech technology adoption
Customer loyalty is harder to secure than ever, leading more and more companies to differentiate on CX. Speech technology is seen as a key piece of CX with 73% of respondents noting customer experience analysis as the most impactful use for speech technology and 75% reporting they plan to increase their speech technology budget in 2022.
Speech technology is creating a bottom-line impact
Our data found that 83% of companies see 25-75% productivity gains, while 59% of companies are seeing revenue gains of 25-75%. Speech technology historically seemed like a costly investment for businesses of all sizes, but companies have started noticing the increased payoff. 60% of respondents noted that speech technology helps promote operational efficiencies, while 77% believe it helps identify new business opportunities and ways to engage and retain customers.
Concern around bias in speech technology is top of mind
The way we speak contains a multitude of information about who we are and how we identify. Bias in AI has been a highly debated topic, and the debate isn’t much different for speech technology. Several high-profile cases of systemic bias have been in the news, and companies realize the importance and impact bias can have, with 92% of respondents agreeing that speech technology bias has an important impact on customers. The most significant kinds of bias that concern respondents?
- Gender: 85%
- Race: 72%
- Non-native speaker: 56%
- Age: 8%
Widespread speech & voice technology adoption is coming
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of speech technology as we pivoted to a remote world, but respondents are wary that the rapid growth will continue. While 64% of respondents expect speech technology to be one of the most critical aspects for the future of their enterprise strategy, only 15% of respondents felt it was being adopted at a massive scale now. The majority (77%) shared they believe the mass implementation of the technology will take place in the next one to five years.
It’s Time for Voice
With investment increasing and a voice-enabled future on the horizon, it’s time for enterprises to get serious about how they’re using voice technology. Voice-enabled experiences are solving problems right now through positive customer experiences and will continue setting companies up for success down the line by reducing bias, increasing revenue, and identifying new business opportunities. With many respondents believing widespread adoption of the technology is coming in the next few years, the time is now to invest in speech technology. Read the full report and get even more insight into the State of Voice Technology for 2022.
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