As many as 70% of consumers in the UK and France have yet to act on the search results provided by voice search alone.
The ’Accuracy in the Age of Voice Search’ report from Yext shows this cautious behaviour may be rooted in the accuracy of online business information – opening hours, locations, product features and reviews – that voice search technologies use to provide answers.
In the UK, 35% of consumers have discovered opening hours displayed online have been inaccurate upon checking with the physical restaurant or store. 21% have seen inaccurate locations listed and over a quarter (26%) haven’t been able to get in touch due to incorrect contact details.
As a result, when completing any kind of search online, 52% of consumers surveyed still qualify the information by checking on three or four online sources.
Jon Buss, Managing Director UK & Northern Europe, Yext, explains: “People are increasingly searching for business information on their voice devices. However, if companies fail to present accurate, comprehensive facts, people risk arriving in the wrong place at the wrong time. This leaves a bad taste in the customer’s mouth and results in a negative experience they may share with friends and colleagues.”
To address the knowledge gap between technology and brands, more than half of the consumers surveyed (56%) believe voice assistants ought to have different voices that indicate how confident they are of the facts. This feature could, for instance, forewarn users of changes in opening hours around Bank Holidays.
While such warnings can lessen the blow of inaccurate information for intelligent service providers, just 22% of UK consumers state that the accuracy of voice search results is down to the search engine to guarantee. Instead, over half of the UK respondents surveyed perceive that responsibility should rest with the retailers and brands.
In light of this, brands must consider how they can proactively build trust over voice. Buss says: “Brands have to be conscious of the assumptions consumers are making. If online information leads them astray it’s the logo on the closed storefront they are upset with. Crucially, improving the voice search experience involves not just ensuring the information is right, but also starting to think about how users can access and provide customer feedback through voice to propagate valuable insights.”
The good news is progress is already being made. Three in five voice users already feel they trust the information their smart voice assistant provides more now compared to before they had owned one.
From a seasonal perspective, retailers will also have to pay particular attention to voice search around the upcoming sales peaks of Black Friday and Cyber Week. Not only do nine in ten consumers that currently use voice search (89%) plan purchases around winter sales periods, but they believe that electronics (49%) and fashion (28%) are among the most promising fields for voice search and shopping.
Buss concludes: “Voice search is the testing ground for a world in which keyboards, keyword searches and confusing user interfaces are abandoned. In this world, accurate digital knowledge is the only resource standing in between the customer arriving at the right place, at the right time, and something going very wrong.”
To ensure brands are ready, Yext announced the next generation of digital knowledge management, Yext Brain, at its ONWARD18 conference. This new technology allows businesses to create and relate all the facts about themselves in an artificial intelligence-ready data structure, so they can answer detailed questions such as ‘Which store is hosting a Black Friday event?’ through AI-enabled consumer services, including search, voice assistants, and chatbots.
Image: Internet Retailing Media Services