There’s a New UI in Town . . . The Need for a Voice Strategy

The popularity of voice-activated applications, such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, has serious implications for insurers. Celent’s Donald Light offers key considerations for a voice strategy.

(Image credit: Adobe Stock.)

It’s not hard to find people saying that voice is the new UI.

It’s a great slogan, because it is succinct, plausible . .. and confirmed by the experience of tens (hundreds?) of millions of us who talk to Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant every day. Talking to your phone or computer or car or that funny-looking cylinder- (or hockey puck-) looking thing on your coffee table is much easier, faster, and rewarding than banging on a keyboard or developing texting thumb (owee!).

All cool, all fun . . . but there are some serious implications for insurers. I’ve previously blogged about how Alexa is becoming one of the family, and displacing time people spend with their phones, tablets, and television. I’ve also blogged about how it is no coincidence that Alexa (dutiful daughter of Amazon) is happy to shop for your groceries, clothes, and the occasional insurance policy.

Putting these trends together, an insurer needs a Voice Strategy.

  • Defining the identities, capabilities, and personalities of the voices it will use with its prospects and policyholders, its distribution and supply chain partners, and its staff.
  • Creating a roadmap for the transition from text to voice—building, deploying, and continuously improving its voices (while maintaining some legacy text UIs).
  • Deciding when business cases are needed and when they are not. (Think about whether an insurer in 1999 needed a business case to build its first website – or whether it should have just done it.)

Building a Voice Strategy will take time and effort. If you need a break, take a look at a Star Trek movie, “The Voyage Home.” The crew of the Enterprise time travels back to 1986. Scotty has to fabricate a new form of plastic. He sits down in front of an early Mac and addresses it politely, “Computer? Computer?”Getting no response, someone hands him the mouse, which Scotty uses as a microphone, still no response. Finally someone tells him to use the keyboard. “How quaint,” says Scotty.

Note: Some of the ideas in this blog, and the term “Voice Strategy” came from a recent conversation with a Celent client. Thank you!

(Editor’s Note: This piece from Celent’s blog was reprinted with permission.) 

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Donald Light // Donald Light is a Director in Celent’s North America Property/Casualty Insurance Practice. His coverage areas include: technology and business strategy; transformative technologies such as digital, the Internet of Things, and driverless cars; core systems; and insurance technology M&A due diligence. His recent consulting work includes: developing a strategic IT plan for a specialty insurer, core system vendor selection support; a build vs. buy analysis for core systems; and several due diligence assignments. Light is widely quoted in the press and media, including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, NBC and CBS Evening News, CNBC, National Public Radio. He is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including those sponsored by ACORD, PCI, and IASA.

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