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As part of the digital transformation of customer experience, we’re embracing conversational artificial intelligence (AI) and digital voice. After all, voice is the most efficient and natural form of human-machine interaction. According to UK-based Juniper Research, 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023. And Gartner has predicted that soon we’ll speak to digital assistants more than to our own spouses.
The exploding AI-enhanced conversational commerce didn’t arrive with simplistic and gentle requirements for digital, synthetic voices. Just the opposite: It’s set new and higher standards. Synthetic voices are expected to be more natural and human-like — and to be available with varied styles and tones — to enable personalization while supporting contextualized and situationally appropriate interactions. Custom, uniquely branded voices are becoming must-haves, rather than nice-to-haves. And this is all for the purpose of improved human-machine interaction and customer engagement.
Create a Consistent and Engaging Voice Persona
The voice of a digital assistant is an important element of a company’s brand. Creating a custom, branded voice for your digital assistant is one of the greatest opportunities to help establish or strengthen your brand.
When we design a brand, much thought goes into it — from coming up with a name, a logo, a look and feel, and a tagline to creating a brand persona. A brand persona is a collection of personality traits, attitudes, values and beliefs that we hope to communicate to our targeted audience.
When we introduce a digital assistant, its voice becomes part of our brand. Designing a voice for the digital assistant is beyond the simple task of adding a generic Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice. A similar thoughtful exercise is required — starting with the creation of a voice persona and going on to choose voice styles and tones to support the core personality traits, attitudes and values that we want our voice to project authentically to our target audience.
Often, an established company already has a brand proposition and a recognized tone of voice. The Nike tone of voice, for instance, is urgent, motivational and encouraging. Your brand proposition and tone of voice should likewise become the foundation for your voice persona creation — not only for brand continuity, but also to extend an established and trusted relationship to new voice-based products and services.
Define Your Voice Fonts: Voice Styles and Tones
Voice fonts are real things. Humans speak expressively; we modulate our tone of voice to express emotions — from happy to sad and from stern to apologetic. We speak with varying styles adjusted for our changing audiences and contexts.
For example, easily recognizable styles include conversational, presentational, promotional, reading aloud for children, etc. So, while we recommend using a consistent voice that reflects your corporate brand for all types of customer scenarios, we don’t recommend speaking in every scenario with the same style and tone. We use our voices to connect and build trust with our audiences. And each conversation is unique with changing audience or context. Contextually inappropriate tones or styles signal insincerity and create uncertainty and mistrust. The right tones and styles can engage deeply and foster better user experiences.
Accuracy Is Only the First Step
Designing conversational AI systems has moved into a more advanced phase. The initial requirements were about accuracy, value and effectiveness. The next phase is about personalization and the demonstration of emotional intelligence.
Conversational AI systems now perform sentiment analysis and emotion analytics. They can read customers’ emotional and linguistic cues and determine their attitudes and feelings. Then the systems respond appropriately — not only in the words they select but also in their vocal styles and tones. This is where Speechmorphing comes in.
Genesys AppFoundry partner Speechmorphing offers AI, neural network and prosodic modeling-based speech synthesis technology to create a custom voice based on your specified voice persona and voice fonts. Rapid and high-quality voice development can be achieved with only minutes of audio recording per style or tone — and in only days of production. Each voice’s multiple styles and tones can be arbitrarily combined during synthesis to support real-life customer interactions.
Speechmorphing text-to-speech can train a voice, along with a wide range of tones and styles, to convey a broad and powerful spectrum of emotions. You can further modify and customize the voice downstream with the highest degree of control on the market. The outcome will be expressive and sophisticated artificial speech — and the most natural conversations between people and computers.
Speechmorphing now offers seamless integration with Genesys products and industry-leading ASR/NLU/dialog managers. Speechmorphing helps transform the customer experience by taking conversational customer care to the next level. For more information on Speechmorphing, watch their latest webinar and visit its listings available on the Genesys® PureCloud®, PureConnectTMand PureEngageTM products in the AppFoundry Marketplace.
This blog post was co-authored by Shing Pan, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Speechmorphing. Shing leads marketing and business development at Speechmorphing, a personalized speech technology company aiming to improve human-machine communications. As a serial entrepreneur and an experienced marketer, her expertise includes developing, positioning and growing new products and businesses. Shing is fascinated by the converging trends of conversational AI, human-computer interaction, and customer experience.
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