Expansive Assistance

This week’s news shows voice assistants taking a step forward from simply being ever-present with information and utility on-demand to providing valuable, proactive assistance in a variety of contexts. We see businesses turning to voice to augment their operations and drive efficiencies, brands activating marketing in more meaningful ways, and consumers being provided a new and easier shopping experience. These applications of voice show assistants becoming a more important part of our lives— not just as a dependable presence, but as a collaborative technology.

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Always Be Closing (with your Voice Assistant)

Sales Engagement Platform Outreach has launched a new voice-enabled virtual assistant called Outreach Kaia. The new AI agent is focused on providing sales reps real-time information during conversations based on what it is hearing. The assistant can proactively provide a host of content to representatives including information cards, call summaries, follow-up action items and more. Additionally, the tool is able to sync up key information with the broader outreach ecosystem for future use by the sales team. More on MarTechSeries.

A New Alexa Roommate

Everyone’s favorite marshmallow sandwich, MoonPie, has found its way to Alexa. The new skill was borne out of the brand’s empathy for quarantined consumers who are feeling isolated. LBB online reports that “The inspiration for the MoonPie MoonMate came from a Mayo Clinic report on the body of research showing that laughter helps boost immunity.” To that end, the skill anthropomorphizes the brand as a virtual roommate (or, in their parlance, a ‘MoonMate’) and provides a light-weight conversational experience for users. The content, including jokes, stories from the brand, recipes and more allows users to engage with the brand in a fun digital context. More on Little Black Book.

Conversational Grocery Shopping

U.S. grocery company Albertsons is partnering with Nuance to expand their customer service offering through voice and conversational AI. Specifically, Nuance will be developing enhanced voice assistant and live chat capabilities for Albertsons’ online shoppers through their Intelligent Engagement Platform. According to FindBiometrics.com, “The voice assistant and live chat features will let Albertsons process a greater number of requests, and answer any questions shoppers may have about delivery, store hours, and product availability.” More on Find Biometrics.

Stats Don’t Lie

50% – UK consumers who have increased their use of voice assistant technology. (data via Voicebot AI)

40% – German consumers who assume that smart speakers and voice applications will play an important role in the future. (data from Beyto via ecommerce magazin)

Chart of the Week

Smart speaker market share by brand voicebot AI
(data via Voicebot AI)