Have you seen one yet? The new iPhone 4S? If you aren’t one of the lucky few who got theirs today, then just wait. You are in for a treat.

Today marks a milestone for natural, conversational interaction between consumers and their mobile devices. Apple’s Personal Assistant Siri marks a sea change in how consumers leverage voice technology. If you used the original Siri App or Nuance’s Dragon Go! You know that there are a few key ingredients to the interaction that can feel almost like magic.

It understands what you say. Speak naturally, just like you are having a conversation with a person. Speech recognition has got it covered. It knows what you mean. It’s not just about transcribing speech to text anymore – though there are a million use cases where speech input offers significant value over typing on a smartphone keypad. It’s about the smarts behind the words and understanding what you want to accomplish and taking appropriate action. It considers the context of the conversation. Understanding a single request and its intent is incredibly sophisticated and useful. Understanding that your inquiry about an “arm” is related to the previous one about “mortgage rates” is where context becomes critical.

All this is well and good for consumer experiences, but don’t think for a second that it won’t impact customer service strategies. Get ready for another sea change. Not only are customers converting to Smartphones in droves and turning to apps first when they want to get things done, consumers who use Siri for everyday interactions will quickly be clamoring for just as intelligent, just as conversational capabilities in their interactions with your company. At Nuance, we’ve been delivering natural speech interactions for customer service experiences for decades. We’ve provided millions of consumers natural speech interactions via our own mobile apps, Dragon Dictation and Dragon Go!, and brought speech technologies to the original Siri app that propelled the revolution.

The good news for companies who need to engage their mobile consumers: there’s an opportunity to increase customer engagement while increasing self-service at the same time. Today’s customers are empowered and looking for ways to serve themselves in this growing new channel.

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About Christy Murfitt

This was a contributed post by Christy Murfitt. To see more content like this, visit the Customer experience section of our blog.