Voice services is an emerging trend in business. It affects many aspects of business plans, from search engine optimization, to the help desk, to normal, day-to-day communications. We have seen a major trend towards voice services in customer service, as it allows call centers and help desks to operate on a leaner budget, optimizing the time spent directing the call to the right person or department, and for standard inquiries, often eliminating the need for a real person altogether.
We are already seeing a trend towards unified communications (UC) for enterprise, but more SMBs are adopting the technologies as they become more accessible from a financial standpoint. Scalable solutions that offer pay-per-user licenses are making it easier to get into the game, and the value that it provides to the bottom line is undeniable. Voice services go hand in hand with UC. While UC has virtually eliminated complex, cost-prohibitive legacy PBX, further integration of voice services is chipping away at the need for human capital to man the systems. This trickles down to maintenance and installation as well. As UC leverages existing broadband connections and SIP trunking, we will continue to see a downgrade in the importance of PRI circuitry. Ultimately, it’s a good thing, although telecom businesses everywhere are being forced to reevaluate their mission to meet the demand.
Will we ever see the day when humans have been phased out of the service industry completely? It’s possible. Self-driving cars, self-checkout at the grocery store, self-service through the call center and self-ordering at the restaurant are just a few of a growing list. Much automation relies on voice services to complete its tasks, and the ones that are less reliant on it are slowly turning in that direction. Voice services cuts down the need for manual technology to enter information, so as voice recognition and translation become more efficient, it is feasible that companies will be doing away with machinery that requires manual input. It’s all in the interest of commerce and staying lean, because in the end, the less equipment there is to handle, the less maintenance costs that are incurred, and so on. If a voice command can efficiently and effectively trigger the required action, then this is the next logical step.
All businesses that depend on search engine optimization are having to strategize for the wider prevalence of voice services. Voice search is on the rise, and it is disrupting the SEO landscape almost as much as we have observed with mobile in recent years. Anybody who is involved in SEO knows how complex search algorithms can be; the list of ‘rules’ seems to be in a constant state of flux, and voice services is just one more thing in a long-branch chain of requirements a company needs to pay attention to in order to come out on top. Though still based on keywords and key phrases, more attention should be paid to what a person might actually say in a search, as opposed to what they might type. For example, a keyed search phrase could be “phone companies in Jacksonville,” but that same person might enter a voice search that sounds more like “who can fix my bad phone connection in Jacksonville.” With that in mind, web designers and copywriters must anticipate and integrate these keywords to stay on top – especially if they are in a highly-competitive industry, such as telecom, or trade services like plumbing or electrical. You get the idea.
The trend toward voice services is on the rise, and is set to disrupt just about every facet of every industry. While we’re not quite ‘there’ yet, the rising quality of digital voice communications is going to drive the trend. At today’s stage of development, it’s not perfect – not yet, anyway. However, we can be confident that the future has definitely arrived, even if it’s in its infancy. It’s most definitely a brave new world.
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