The rise of Digital Assistants at work and at home

I’ll confess, before starting this article I did try asking “Alexa write me an article on the rise of Digital Assistants” but Alexa isn’t that good…yet.

In the world of smart speakers and live chat (or Digital Assistants as we call them) things are looking very positive.

For smart speakers, the rise in usage has been dramatic and the global market continues to grow (up 44.7% yoy last year1). As too does the amount of websites offering live chat facilities and these are generating the highest levels of customer satisfaction (around 92%2).

Tech savvy users now want companies to communicate with them in real time, whether via a reply to a tweet or a live chat. Consumers want things now and in real-time, which in turn leads to improved customer satisfaction, which is around 12% more than email communication3.

Today users are less concerned about speaking directly to a human face-to-face (or over the phone) instead preferring to carry out interactions with companies in one window while they’re doing something else at the same time on their phone or tablet. Multi-tasking is now the norm.

Digital assistants provide an accessible way of communicating for those who find gathering information a challenge such as disabled customers or those who suffer from anxiety, where talking one-to-one over the phone can be a stressful experience. They now have alternate avenues to use.

Our Survey Said…

But what is happening in the social housing industry? As part of our recent technology survey we asked respondents, who work in this sector, what their views and usage habits of digital assistants were. This was split into home use and business use.

The findings for home use were:

  • 58.57% owned a smart speaker and their usage habits were:
    • 34.29% – Multiple times a day
    • 12.86% – Once a day
    • 4.29% – Once a week
  • Only 11.27% of smart speaker owners had ever used them to make a purchase
  • 78.87% preferred to use live chat instead of calling or emailing a business

The findings for usage in the workplace were:

  • A 50:50 split right down the middle with 50% saying they would use a smart speaker in the workplace if one was available to them. These respondents indicated they would use a smart speaker to help them with the following tasks:
    • 23.94% – Book meetings
    • 18.31% – Looking up information
    • 8.45% – Data Entry
    • 1.41% – Ordering Materials
  • 47.22% said that their organisation offered tenants a live chat option on their website.

Not a replacement but an enhancement

Within the social housing industry we have tenants from a wide range of backgrounds with a range of different personal circumstances. Due to this it would be difficult to cut ties with the traditional contact methods of email and telephone calls, as some will always prefer these ways of getting in touch.

Instead, digital assistants should be seen as a great way to enhance your customer service offering. Your next generation of tenants will already be tech savvy and ready to use a smart speaker or a live chat to find out their rent balance for example. Also the COVID-19 situation has forced people who usually might have been adverse to technology to embrace it (e.g. online shopping or video conferencing to keep in touch with family and friends). This means there is definitely an appetite out there for these alternate and real-time ways of communication.

(source: ContactBabel March 2020)

They can also prove to be great ways of improving operational efficiencies too, by giving your call centres less volume to handle. Accenture stated that 80% of all enquires can be answered by using voice based AI call centre assistants.4

Find out more

At MRI we’re keen to offer our customers the best solutions so they can in turn provide a great experience to their tenants. So we’ve teamed up with customer experience and communication specialists converse360 to bring customers Digital Assistants. They have been designed to provide a great new way for your tenants to securely get access to information instantly and at a time that is convenient to them, either through web, messenger or speech without waiting in a queue. If you would like to arrange a demo please drop us a line.

You can read more about this topic in a recent Insight article written by one of our Product Managers Graham Hopson – Delivering the next wave of customer experience with a winning AI technology strategy.



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