Alexa: Simplifying the Self-Service Experience
With sky-rocketing sales of Amazon Echo and Google Home in 2016, consumers are experiencing greater flexibility in self-service through voice-enabled smart home devices.  

Over 5 million smart speakers have been sold in the United States, UK and Germany since the Amazon Echo and Google Home hit the market. Two million of which were sold in the first nine months of 2016 putting adoption rates in the same neighborhood as early iPhones. The list of devices supporting voice interaction, such as Amazon’s Alexa, is growing. Cars, washing machines, refrigerators, wearables- just about any device capable of connecting to the Internet is evolving to support voice as the primary interface.


With the ability to utilize existing voice infrastructure and foster an omni-channel experience capable of following users from one platform to another, companies are extending their brand into the home giving customers the ability to interact with their services through voice powered experiences.

Nearly any interaction where a user scrolls, clicks, or taps can be executed gracefully over a voice experience, but to do so companies must have an in-depth understanding of their customer. You must understand the customer’s interest, intent, and ability to interact with their smart device. And while voice enabled smart devices are redefining the voice user interface, best practices still apply. Design standards for creating these applications align with practices followed for more traditional contact center interfaces supporting intelligent assistance such as speech enabled Interactive Voice Response systems (IVRs). Just like with your IVR, a well thought-out design is critical to your company’s success.

How it Works
When a customer speaks to a smart device, the speech is captured, translated to text and delivered to a cloud service. The text is then acknowledged, a determination is made as to what the customer wants, and a structured request is sent to the skill- skill is the term Amazon uses to refer to the ‘apps’ that Alexa can interact with- to fulfill the customer’s request.

Defining the Actions
Each skill and experience are built with dynamic, but ultimately pre-defined, actions the user can perform to interact with your company. For instance, a user may speak a request to securely login to their banking application to check an account balance, transfer funds, send a text message or pay a bill. All without lifting a finger.

Designing the Interaction
Start with the customer in mind; what interactions would you like to have with your customer? What key phrases would the customer naturally speak to initiate the interaction and how would your company respond to their request? Lastly, how would you subtly train the customer to understand the commands to speak so they feel the interaction is of value?

Improving the experience
As with any speech recognition system, it’s necessary to ‘tune’ the experience using business relevant data. DDV’s proprietary diagnostic and analytics tools, combined with years of experience in Voice User Interface design, provide critical usability insights necessary to refine, enhance, and add value to your overall customer experience.

This is just the beginning of the evolution of voice, let DDV help map your path to success!