Where we were:
It may seem crazy but just 5 years ago only 16 million people in the US used smart speakers, and now, here we are in 2021. Over 75% of the American population have at least one, many having multiple in their homes. These devices that we can interact with, that can listen to us and verbally relay information, have now become common place necessities, and have become part of our daily lives. Google, Alexa, and Siri have become an integral part of our homes, they can do everything from playing our favorite song, to adjusting the lighting, but these speakers can be used to accomplish some incredible professional feats. Within the past couple years, businesses like Starbucks, Mercedes and Kia have been using the voice assistance technology in smart devices to reach even more customers, and drive even more business; but why is this?
The answer boils down to convince. It’s the reason that voice assistance has become so popular with consumers. Its speed requires less manual input and is able to communicate with large groups. When it comes to “kitchen table” businesses, such as insurance companies, the more convenient and accessible they can add to their business, the more value that they can provide and the more attractive they become to potential customers.
In the insurance industry, there are two main areas that voice assistance can really create a lasting impact:
- Help customers in purchasing products
- Assistance when a claim needs to be submitted and/or is being processed
With voice assistance, insurance companies can set up their business so clients can ask their smart speakers or phones about where their claim are currently at, next steps, or who to contact if there is an issue. It provides an opportunity for these types of businesses to generate more value and reach policyholders on a new level.
Where we are:
The finance, transportation, and food sectors are all digital now. There is not a person with a phone who hasn’t ordered an uber or used skip the dishes. And why? Because it’s convenient. RBC is renowned for its customer service and ease of doing business. This is because everything can be done through voice control via their app; whether it be checking account balances or sending internet transfers. While this technology is still relatively new, the insurance industry already has several players involved in this segment. GEICO, Allstate, and General Auto Insurance all have converted to the online space, but how exactly did they get to where they are?
First, the development of a mobile app is crucial to success. In 2020 alone, more than 218 billion apps were downloaded, indicating the vast market that is available to companies. Apps offer your customers a convenient way to engage with your company without having to access your website. According to Mobile App Daily, the most competitive insurance apps have features that include instant competitive quotes, in app transactions, easy to fill out claim’s forms, and photo uploading features. However, the largest benefit to companies using mobile apps is their potential to integrate with further technologies.
With a mobile application in place, companies can then use pre-existing voice technologies, such as Google, Siri, or Alexa, and integrate them to allow for customizable voice assistance. This process can be accomplished with the help of special API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) and will allow policy holders to either link their smart speakers and devices to their insurance accounts. GEICO, who has created arguably one of the best voice assistance services, has programmed with applications so that policy holders can ask Google: “What’s the status of my claim?”, “What’s my total premium?”, and “Find an agent”. These are all very common questions that can all be found via their mobile app, but are made more accessible with voice assistance, and this is simply the beginning. As this technology continues to evolve and learn, policy holders will be able to ask more complicated questions and give more complex commands.
Where are we going:
It is clear that smart speakers are not going away anytime soon. If anything, they are only going to become more and more integrated into society. In 2020, the global smart speaker market was valued at $4.66 billion and is expected to exceed $17 billion by 2025. Consequently, voice assistant usage and applications are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27% between 2021 and 2026, meaning that this market is nowhere near saturated. We are living in an age where what was once science fiction is quickly becoming reality, soon it may be hard to tell the difference between an automated voice, and a real person, which offers businesses an endless world of potential in the realm of communication.