More than 123 million people now use a voice assistant—whether on a smart speaker or a mobile phone—at least once a month. But it’s not just for, say, playing music or checking the weather anymore. Voice assistants can be used for a growing array of business-related tasks.


Several of the most popular voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, have been building out their business-focused features, and in the future, businesses will be able to conduct many more tasks by voice command than they can today. However, there are already several ways businesses can use an assistant to save time and overall be more efficient.


Here are three ways a voice assistant can benefit your business right now:


  1. Keep track of daily activities.


One of the quickest ways to dip your toe into the voice assistant water for business is to start using some of the easiest built-in voice assistant functionality for scheduling and reminders.


“My voice assistant makes me feel like I have a personal assistant on my phone,” says Gauri Manglik, CEO and co-founder of Instrumentl, an institutional fundraising platform for nonprofits. Manglik has her electronic calendar linked to Alexa, allowing her to add appointments to it by voice command and invite people on her contact list. “If I need to book a meeting with someone, I can just say ‘Alexa, book me a meeting for next week at 2:00 with whichever contact, and it’s done.”


Voice reminders set for a few minutes before the start of a meeting are a great way to stay on track. They can also capture thoughts without interrupting the flow of work.


“I use Alexa to create a reminder or add to my to-do list as it pops into my head,” says Erika Barnes, founder and CEO of Petsmitten, in Longmont, Colorado. “It’s a lot quicker than jotting it down or making a note on my phone, but it also stops me from forgetting again before I have a chance to make a note of something.”


  1. Provide information to new and existing customers.


Your customers may be turning to voice assistants to learn information related to the types of products or services you sell. You can help them find your business by making sure your website is optimized for voice search.


Voice assistants also let businesses create “skills” or “actions” so that customers can engage with them through voice.


Alexa Skills allows businesses to share information through voice, so customers can learn about products and services, FAQs, bios, and updates, hands-free, on thousands of voice-controlled devices. From smart speakers to smart TVs, mobile phones and the car, it gives your audience accessibility and convenience,” says Emily Binder, founder of WealthVoice, a voice marketing platform and Alexa Skills content management system.


One example, she says, is the St. Louis-based financial advisory firm Plancorp. By saying “Alexa, ask Plancorp Perspective for the latest update,” listeners can hear the latest market trends, investment advice, and more.


  1. Enhance customer service.


Voice assistants can be set up and integrated with other systems to answer questions, collect information, and input data into customer relationship management systems.


“We are currently using in our business, which is a voice assistant service that automatically collects important caller details like their names and topic of inquiry before using that information to quickly craft an effective response that helps us to significantly reduce average handle time,” says Kathleen Ahmmed, co-founder of iPaydayLoans, in Kirkland, Washington.


Any FAQs and basic requests like scheduling appointments are typically automated and dealt with by the system, while any requests that require specialized attention are instantly rerouted to the customer service team, Ahmmed says.


“This has helped us significantly reduce the number of inquiries that require human intervention, which has not only decreased the workload for our customer service team but also effectively reduced the need for us to hire more support agents, which for us, per agent, translates to roughly $29,500 in salary costs, each year.”


Voice assistants, including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and others, also enhance customer service by providing language translation services. Dan Shepherd, CEO and owner of VEI Communications, a custom radio technology and construction company based in Louisville, Kentucky, says he and his employees use the language feature as needed. Callers are given the option to change their preferred language. Once this option is selected, Alexa is activated.


“We have a global business,” Shepherd adds. “Our customers are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, which means that not all of them can speak or understand English. Alexa makes it easy for us to communicate with anyone who calls us.”

Print this article