Innovation is one of those somewhat nebulous words that many of us use to describe what we do. Over the years, I’ve been involved in some very innovative creations that never actually went anywhere. It’s not because they weren’t really cool or didn’t have a sustainable business model. It was usually because the company backing the project didn’t have the appetite for what it takes to educate their market on something completely new or even a little different from current products and services.
This is why I became such a proponent of not just creating new solutions, but actually getting people to adopt them. Because can something be really innovative if you stick it on a shelf when it’s done and let it gather dust?
When Best Innovation Group embarked on our journey into voice-first banking, I was determined to help our clients figure out how to socialize this very new, very different technology in a way that would entice their customers to actually engage with it. We knew the adoption of something this different might be a little slower than the overall acceptance of smart speakers for things like flash briefings, times and joke of the day. So, we developed a guide for our clients to help them prepare for the journey ahead of them.
The guide itself is a document just for our clients, but I will share a few things that I’ve learned over the last 3 years about socializing a truly new solution to your audience.
It’s a journey, not a destination
When you’re introducing something new, whether it’s a math concept or a foreign language, we all understand that repetition is key. The same thing is true with technology. This is not a product announcement. You’re not saying “hey, this thing we make is available in a new color now”. The campaign to socialize a new technology, like our voice-first banking, or voice-first anything for that matter, is a process. To be honest, it’s kind of a long process. Recognize that this is a slow-drip, not just a single drop. Be prepared to keep your new solution front and center in your audience’s mind. I tell my clients that customers won’t notice announcements about voice apps until they get their first smart speaker or another voice-enabled device. It’s a little like buying a car and suddenly noticing how many other people drive that car. You have to be prepared to keep your message “above the fold” and fresh for quite a while. Don’t banish these updates and announcements to the bottom of the page and then wonder why your adoption numbers go flat, or worse.
Early in our implementation process, we encourage clients to think about what their brand “sounds like”. Do the questions represent your customers’ interests? Are the answers phrased in a way that matches how your employees interact with them? If your brand is fun, youthful, and light-hearted then contemporary words and phrases or the occasional pun or poke might be fine. If your brand is traditional, serious or stoic, you’ll want to choose your answers carefully. You know best what your customers expect and what image you want to convey. Make sure the language you use matches your corporate personality.
Influencers in your midst
I’m a huge believer that your best influencers are your employees. If you can’t convince them to use your products and services, can you really convince anyone else? Part of our program involves having our client’s employees, as many as possible, but all is best, doing beta testing on the voice banking apps. Once the app is through certification and publicly available, employees should be using it on a regular basis. As a consumer, I think there are few things worse than walking into a business, whether it’s a restaurant or hardware store or your financial institution, and asking for help or recommendations only to discover that the employees there don’t know anything about the product or service because they don’t use it themselves. Instill confidence in users by having employees trained, knowledgeable and experienced in using the voice app.
One of the most under-utilized marketing tools available is the ratings and reviews section in the voice applications store. Both Amazon and Google give users the ability to provide public feedback. Take advantage of the built-in user base that is your (client’s) employees to get ratings and reviews of the voice apps. Why would someone use a voice application for something as sensitive as their banking transactions if they don’t see anyone else using it?
But Wait, There’s More
There’s so much more to talk about, but I’ll leave you with one bit of parting advice. Look around. Really look at what others in your industry are doing. Look at what other industries are doing. Study their marketing, their website, their app pages on the voice stores. Use voice yourself. The best ideas often come from personal experiences. If you want to deliver voice apps to your customers, you have to be willing to dive into the technology yourself.