Voice is the future of online search, but not enough businesses are prepared for the transition. To that end, the location intelligence software Synup recently released a product it’s calling the Voice Readiness Test to help brands discover how their search results sound to consumers using popular hands-free systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
With ComScore projecting that 50% of all searches will be voice by 2020, and voice commerce sales expected to reach $40 billion in the next four years, the topic has been begging for attention it’s not getting from many businesses.
According to Ashwin Ramesh, CEO of Synup, most businesses have no idea whether they are ready for voice search or not. By taking Synup’s new test, those businesses should have a better understanding of what consumers are hearing when they search by voice, the case for the tool goes.
“This will provide them with insights about how searchers consume their information across intelligent voice search systems,” Ramesh says. “The response has been really positive; in just a span of two days, more than 350 businesses have tried out the test.”
The search terms people use on voice devices are different than when they’re typing, and the way they consume information offers much less room for error. For example, a person interested in going to Red Lobster might type “Red Lobster” into Google, but he’s more likely to use a descriptive phrase, like “Red Lobster hours” or “Where is the nearest Red Lobster location?” when he searches by voice. And whereas a person searching on a desktop can browse through results until he finds one that looks accurate, voice offers no such mechanism. Searchers are provided the information, often without any idea of where that information came from.
When brands take the Voice Readiness Test, they see the responses consumers are getting to a handful of the most common sorts of questions, like, “Can you give me a contact number for Red Lobster located in Sacramento, California?” and “When is Red Lobster in Sacramento, California open on Saturday?” The responses generated by voice search can be eye-opening, as they are often outdated or altogether inaccurate.
“Data is the heart of any business, and bad data can have a lasting impact on everything about your business—from the customer experience that you provide to your revenue,” Ramesh says. “Through this test, we want the business owners and brand managers to realize the importance of having consistent data online, as consumers expect answers that are absolutely relevant and accurate. Inaccurate business data can be extremely damaging to any organization and its reputation and can further result in customer churn or revenue loss.”
As Ramesh sees it, we’re all living in the age of convenience, where consumers turn to their smartphones and smart speakers to search for businesses nearby, and brands can’t afford for potential customers to be getting the wrong information.
Synup’s test gives brands a score of one to 100 based on how prepared they are for the voice search takeover. Ramesh says he hopes the test is a “wake-up call” for organizations that have poor data floating online and that the scoring system allows businesses to benchmark their performance and provide a better customer experience on voice search over time.
“The biggest takeaway is to understand the importance of having accurate and consistent data across platforms,” he says. “If businesses want to stay ahead of the competition and avoid damages, it’s high time they realize the power of accurate business data online and make any information and other related content voice-search ready.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.