Talking company – what if your company, not your employees, could talk?

by Bruce Kasanoff on September 28, 2011

Rumored features of Apple’s new iPhone Assistant started me thinking about the possibility that a company could literally talk to its customers. Yes, the company itself would communicate directly with customers, not employees.

First, let’s take a look at what 9to5Mac has reported about Assistant’s new capabilities:

One of the key elements of Assistant is the conversation view. The system will actually speak back and forth with the user to gain the most information in order to provide the best results. The user essentially can hold a conversation with their iPhone like it is another human being… Assistant is literally like a personal assistant, but in your phone. The speech interpretation is so accurate that users do not even have to speak very clearly or in a slow and robotic tone, according to a source familiar with the software. Users can simply talk how they would usually talk to another person, and the iPhone with Assistant will do its best to interpret the speech and provide accurate results.

Now imagine if a company fed all its product descriptions, specs, reviews, training materials, marketing offers, support information and inventory levels into a single system a customer could navigate simply by talking.

This is the Holy Grail. With one call, you could find someone who knows all the answers. This “someone” would also be the perfect salesperson, programmed with best practices of the best human sales talent.

It sounds like a fantasy, too far ahead of where voice recognition is today, right? But what if it isn’t that far away? What if talking companies are less than five years away?

How would that change your strategy?

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