Companies need to take artificial intelligence-based voice recognition seriously

Artificial intelligence is already strongly involved in corporate customer service. Automated chat bots are able to meet customer needs increasingly better. As the abilities of these virtual smart assistants grow, they will also begin to acquire human traits.

For example, a Swedish company has developed a personality for its own Emma assistant, prepared a CV for it and given her her own telephone number. Smart helpers are now coming deeper and deeper into people’s territories, as their ability to understand speech and also respond by speaking has evolved a giant step. We are moving into a time when we communicate with computers in the same way as humans. For example, many smart helpers available to consumers are already surprisingly able to understand the expressed wishes, although unfortunately often not yet in Finnish.

However, I think the importance of smart helpers is greater in the business world than in the consumer market. One good example can be found in customer service centers, where tireless artificial intelligence receives customer calls and in simple cases is able to give a satisfactory answer to the customer. Voice control is also used in maintenance tasks, for example, allowing installers to better focus on the work at hand.

The growing popularity of voice-guided smart assistants sends a strong signal that we are moving from broader written communications to the era of speech. Globally, for example, large telecom operators are developing their own voice-controlled services – Orange has launched a smart assistant called Djingo. Broadcasters are also heavily involved in innovation, and the BBC is about to launch its own Beeb voice control.

It is natural that companies working with communications services have been the first to seize the opportunities of voice control. However, the utilization of this revolutionary technology should not be left to these actors alone. Speech adds a human dimension to the use of artificial intelligence and increases the accessibility of services to those who find it difficult to use current information technology.

Therefore, it is worthwhile for all companies, regardless of industry, to take a strong position now on how to start using voice in customer service, marketing and branding.

Stefan Reijonen
Stefan Reijonen
As Head of European Customer Profitability focusing on sales, contract and structural pillars, I have the unique opportunity to observe and contribute to the changes that digital and data transformation brings to us and our customers. By combining my broad experience in sales, change and people management with Nordic and European leadership and driving regional profitability programs, I am able to find innovative solutions to meet customers' business needs.
In my spare time I love singing in a choir and sailing a classical yacht in the Finnish archipelago.