Talk to Me: How Voice Recognition and AI are changing the Game for Associations

What does voice recognition technology mean for nonprofits and associations?

We’ve all heard it, right? “Alexa…play this song,” or “Siri…purchase this item.” These days, it’s not unusual to hear other people (or yourself, for that matter) talking out loud to a technical gadget. Voice recognition (VR) is on the rise, and with Apple’s Siri (via the iPhone), Amazon’s Alexa (via Amazon Echo), and the Google Home device; a lot of brands are starting to jump on the voice bandwagon. Put simply, voice recognition is software and hardware combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has the ability to interpret the human voice, which then allows the user to perform a command, receive the answer to a question, operate a device, or write without the need for a keyboard (among other things). Basically, voice recognition offers a new and innovative ways to reach consumers, and in turn, can change the way that associations interact with their members.
As mentioned in startups, the CEO of Convertize, Philippe Aime, explained, “A.I. (artificial intelligence) in 2018 will bring SEO-voice activation, which is an as-yet unexplored opportunity…What if, rather than being overwhelmed by choice, the customer knows exactly what they want? All they need to do is take out their phone and talk to it.” Considering most are attached to their devices 24/7, phones – as well as TVs and automobiles – are all powerful vessels for voice recognition. However, according to Marketing Week, Google claims that 20% of mobile search queries submitted via its app are done via voice. Also, comScore estimates that 30% of searches will be performed without a screen by 2020.
Speech is ideally suited to mobile, in part, because users have their hands and eyes tied up, but also because it bypasses all of the additional swiping and pressing. This has changed the way businesses and associations can potentially implement customer and member services. There is a multitude of ways that voice recognition can make everyday life easier, but how does it benefit associations? Read more below:
 
Virtual Assistant
Vlad Sejnoha, CTO of Nuance Communications believes that mobile voice interfaces will continue becoming more pervasive and powerful, very similar to the current virtual assistants that we all know and love (Siri and Alexa). They’ll listen for trigger words, and act immediately—whether it’s popping up a calendar, readying a text message, or pulling up a browser that’s already navigated to where you want to go. These features can potentially streamline association meetings and/or conference calls.
Training and Classes
When it comes to voice recognition, personalization is key. Organizations collecting consumer data can combine big data and machine learning, and apply it to association training events – curating them to meet the specific needs of their members. This can range from product or training recommendations, to website personalization in real-time, in order to meet certain criteria or member profiles. This kind of personalization not only promotes customer satisfaction and improves the member journey – it could also drive deeper engagement with the association.    
Member Interactions
New technologies like voice recognition can drive productivity on the customer loyalty front, by offering reliable and expedited customer service powered by AI technology, such as chat bots. They can be programmed to answer questions immediately, navigate issues, and escalate calls to management or senior association members if needed. Voice recognition can also work to gather and act on member feedback in a timely manner, and allows associations to scale for growth with speed.
Events
Setting up appointments, and booking association events via voice recognition technology will allow event professionals to optimize delivery. It can change how members search for events, and implement security and confidentiality measures as needed, depending on the person’s unique voice signature , and what they are saying.
Voice recognition is already becoming a part of everyday life, so it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a standard way of communication and navigation for members of associations. Maybe we’ll start hearing more of this: “Alexa… renew my membership,” or “Siri…ask my [Association] about recent industry news.”

Is your association ready to embrace Voice Recognition and Artificial Intelligence? Share your thoughts in the comments below.