Engage your customer dynamically
As we head into the busy holiday period, it’s important to get the word out on your business promotions, updates on sales, and respond to customer inquiries. If you are a business who has built a smart speaker skill for Google Assistant or Alexa, have you thought about this seasonality in your customer engagement? By offering seasonal, dynamic content you can deliver a more personalized and relevant experience. This increases the likelihood of your customers coming back to use your smart speaker skill often. Are you thinking of building a smart speaker solution for your business, or enhancing the one you have? This article is for you if you’re just beginning to consider how you can use voice skills for your business, or if you are looking to improve or replace an existing voice skill.
Hard coding vs dynamic content
When skills are created by traditional software developers, they go through a process of coding many different responses for specific verbal situations. This is called the “hard-coding” of responses, resulting in a complicated and costly effort if a business wants to tweak or adjust these responses for seasonality. The skill might even have to be redeployed and go through an additional review process with Alexa or Google just to share new wording for a holiday or special event. Imagine having to do this for all of the major holidays and having that wording just right. One alternative would be to drive that information dynamically through a database. This is a step in the right direction, but it still requires you as a business owner to understand how to edit and maintain that database. What if you wanted to allow access for event and marketing managers to maintain that content? How could you ensure the content they added didn’t break your smart speaker app? There is a better way and we will show how easy this can be done without any coding below.
Linking news and calendar events
Another situation that is timely for the holidays is letting your users know what’s going on. This is usually done in one of two ways. The first is through news, in the sense of Black Friday sales deals, updates on holiday activities, notices of expanded or special shopping hours, and many other possibilities. The second is in the form of calendar events. While Alexa provides blueprints for linking to your RSS or iCal feeds there is still a lot of work involved in hosting, coding, and managing the AWS infrastructure just to share upcoming events. When you mix this in with the core features you want to provide to your customers, your skill-building plan gets complicated. Because of the work involved, many companies shy away from developing dynamic content for their business. Hiring coders to build and manage your changing content – on top of your core business – seems complicated, and it is. There is another way that is simple, fast, and allows you to change as your business needs change, and it is what we do here at VOGO Voice.
We’ve talked about “hard-coded” solutions, but what about no-code options? A common misconception with no-code offerings is they are easy to build and deploy. This leads the unwary to think they are viable “do-it-yourself” paths, when in fact there is still a considerable learning curve associated with no-code. What’s more, most no-code options available are very limited in what you can do with them. If you’re looking for a basic solution, you have the time to invest, and you’re OK with staying within the constraints of that no-code platform, this might be a viable option. For most businesses, this is too limiting. There is little if any dynamic content capability and the time spent on learning how to do a DIY solution would be better spent on other aspects of the business.
No-code works well when it’s applied in a sensible manner. The VOGO Voice platform is a professional grade solution that enables us to build flexible, performant, and dynamic skills fast. Once built, businesses can add, update, change, and remove content themselves as they need using the VOGO Voice no-code interface. Built-in access rights allow business owners detailed control over employee changes, and our broad catalog of data connectors allows building dynamic engagements with customers using the businesses’ own data.
Dynamic content for the holidays
So, back to our holiday example. How do we make it easier with the VOGO Voice solution? An initial approach would be to use the no-code editor to simply include a holiday message to your customers. You can update the voice response and the display response. Maybe you want to add a fall-themed background to liven the mood for customers with display-enabled devices. All of this is possible in a matter of minutes without any coding.
Let’s take it a step further with a date-sensitive dynamic content setting. In this example, we want to show our customers some holiday deals on any day after Thanksgiving. This is done with simple branching as shown here. These techniques make it easy to quickly add more value and help keep users coming back knowing that your content changes throughout the year.