As the world experiences yet another week of the effects of the coronavirus, we’d like to look at how technology can support people as they navigate these difficult times. What do physical distancing, brands, and speech technology have in common? How can what was initially referred to as social distancing, but was recently redefined by the WHO as physical distancing, be facilitated by AI-driven speech solutions?

From social distancing to physical distancing

A few weeks ago, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove stated in a WHO news briefing that “technology right now has advanced so greatly that we can keep connected in many ways without actually physically being in the same room or physically being in the same space with people”. She added:  “We’re changing to say physical distance and that’s on purpose because we want people to still remain connected.”

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are pushing people to be creative in how they maintain connections, and manage mental and physical health. But it’s also influencing people’s daily lives as consumers.

How can brands stay close to consumers

During this critical period, consumers are selecting brands with greater caution. One of the aspects that customers are taking into account is simply how brands communicate. There is to a greater extent a perception that consumer investments need to be safe and brands trustworthy. This is true across a number of sectors, including banking, insurance, retail, healthcare, and more.

Across industries, and particularly in those that touch consumers’ daily lives at the moment, brands must make sure that they maintain the right tone of voice. Moreover, they must fulfil the promises they have made to consumers, while continuing to conduct business at best, despite the challenging times.

“Brands that take proactive steps to comfort customers and protect their safety and financial confidence will earn strong reputational benefits during a volatile time.”

Augie Ray, Vice President Analyst at Gartner.

In a recent article “Embrace Proactive Customer Experience in the Midst of COVID-19” Gartner’s Augie Ray examines the new challenges and customer concerns that brands are currently dealing with, including:

  • Customer concerns about the safety of visiting brick-and-mortar stores, or purchasing a product from a brand
  • Customer concerns about delivery
  • Hesitation to commit to purchasing

These are just a few of the recurring customer concerns that are currently causing massive call peaks for customer services. Those brands that do not have the right technological solutions (speech technology included) in place, are having difficulty managing to retain customers, not to mention incurring higher customer care management costs.

Today more than ever, businesses that demonstrate their customer-centric approach and engage proactively, sometimes even anticipating customer needs and concerns, are the ones that are able to establish trust and not lose business. It’s a matter of catering to customers’ requests rapidly and seamlessly, on every touch point. AI-driven solutions that include speech technology help automate customer care requests instantly and effectively.

High-quality text-to-speech solutions facilitate the contact between the consumers and the brand, making it friendly and more accessible than text-only solutions.

What’s more, in order to emerge in a competitive marketplace, conversations that take place between brands and consumers need to be sensitive, effective, and memorable. One of the ways of achieving instant recognition is avoiding standard speech output, which tends to make all brands sound the same. ReadSpeaker is a speech technology leader, offering bespoke custom digital voices that are effective in enhancing personable communication and overall customer experience. If you’d like to engage with your customer base in your own exclusive branded voice, please ask the ReadSpeaker team for more information.

For insights into creating memorable customer experiences with custom text-to-speech voices, please download our e-Book.

If you’re looking for innovative custom voices for your brand, contact us to start a conversation with the ReadSpeaker VoiceLab today.