Voice Assistants: The Next Great Tool for Originators

Patricia Sherlock

In the last few weeks, I touched on the macro-selling strategies that lenders and originators will need to succeed in the new decade. Today, I want to go more in-depth and discuss emerging technology that could be a game-changer for salespeople: voice assistants. Yes, voice assistants!

While artificial intelligence is often referenced in the media and trade papers, AI sounds more like something from Star Trek and not a practical tool for helping salespeople. Nothing could be further from the truth especially considering the rampant growth of voice-controlled technology. In 2019, there were an estimated 3.25 billion digital voice assistants in use around the world.

This holiday season, voice assistants were one of the most popular gifts. Even my brother received one from his son. This is remarkable since my brother is someone who still uses a flip phone! Old school to say the least.

Whether it is Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri on your smartphone, voice assistants are becoming a part of our daily lives. In my view, it is not too far down the road that computer keyboards will be ancient history similar to Lotus 123 and fax machines.

Leveraging Voice Assistant Technology

So, how are voice assistants used and how can they help salespeople work smarter? Voice assistants are most often used to accomplish simple tasks such as turning lights on/off; playing music; answering questions; placing orders; and controlling other smart gadgets.

Now, voice assistants are performing more complex jobs that come under what Amazon’s Alexa calls “skills.” Similar to mobile apps, voice assistant skills can be used to implement a wide range of tasks via voice commands. Skills have become so popular that Amazon has created a Skill Finder app that can help users find an app for exactly what they are interested in. How cool is that!

Following are just a few examples of voice assistant skills in action:

Financial management skills

  • Capital One has a skill that allows users to check a credit card balance or make a payment. The skill performs security checks and requires a sign in with user name and password. The user then provides a four-digit code to confirm their identity.
  • The Opening Bell skill allows you to ask for a stock price using a company’s name instead of its stock ticker symbol.
  • If bitcoin is what you are interested in, there is a skill which gives the current pricing.

Productivity skills

  • The Quick Events skill can add an item to a to-do list or to Google calendar.
  • AT&T’s Send Message skill allows you to text someone a message.
  • Voyage Conference Manager dials into the bridge number for a conference call.
  • UPS skills tracks packages for you.

Fun skills

  • MySomm skill will help you select wines to pair with certain foods.
  • The Meat Thermometer skill lets users know what internal temperature is considered safe when cooking different meats.
  • Fitbit users can ask Alexa about their progress by linking their Fitbit account to the skill page.

Skills are just one example of how dramatically communication and productivity tools are changing. This is exciting news for originators. Keeping abreast of tools that can help an originator be more productive is an important competitive advantage. Every originator’s game plan for 2020 should include learning how to use these apps in their sales process.

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