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5 Reasons Why it’s Time to Voice-Enable Your Surveys

Voice technology is rapidly transforming the way that we interact with our devices, changing the way consumers search for and purchase products. The time is right to explore, experiment and test the power of voice technology to enrich your market research.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. Abigail Stuart & Mike Page will be speaking at IIeX Europe 2020 in Amsterdam, Feb. 25-26. If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE IIeX Europe. Click here to learn more. 


Voice technology is rapidly transforming the way that we interact with our devices, changing the way that we search online, purchase products and complete simple tasks such as checking the weather or ordering food.

Consumers are adopting voice technology faster than any other technology, including smartphones. According to PWC more than 50% of people in all age groups, even 50+, already use their voice to interact with technology daily. This year, over half of U.S. smartphone owners will use voice on their phones for something other than a phone call.

So far, the research industry has been slow to pick up on this trend, but we predict that 2020 will be the year that voice explodes, and we will wonder how we ever lived without it.

Here are 5 Reasons Why:

1. People are More Comfortable Talking Than Texting

Voice interactions are the most intuitive, natural and efficient way for us to communicate. Our speech allows us to communicate freely whilst simultaneously engaged in other activities such as shopping, exercising, driving or performing household chores.

This level of comfort means that when people talk instead of type they give longer, more in-depth responses, especially on mobile. What’s more, voice communication requires less effort, so it conveys more nuanced, unfiltered and emotional responses.

2. Voice Data is Really Easy and Convenient to Collect

Subconsciously we deeply understand that time is our most important resource. We will literally do anything to save even a few minutes each day and voice technology makes answering surveys easier and faster.

Voice responses require no special equipment, we simply use the built-in microphone of the device during the survey (laptop, tablet, smartphone, desktop). This allows respondents to participate in market research wherever and whenever they like, just by speaking freely into their device.

Because answering a survey by voice is often easier, we predict that voice-enabling surveys will lead to improved completion rates, saving researchers both time and money.

3. Our Speech is an Emotional Microscope

The verbal signals in our voice might offer the most powerful and revealing way to understand human emotion and behavior. With speech, it’s not just what a person says, it’s how they say it. We can hide our emotions in the words we choose, but our vocal reactions cannot hide if we are angry, happy or neutral.

Voice emotion detection is rapidly advancing and getting very sophisticated. Artificial intelligence can detect changes in vocal range and uncover nuances in mood, attitude, and decision-making characteristics. The technology can now be being built into market research to provide voice-based analytics that can predict intended consumer behavior.

Additionally, understanding a respondent’s emotional state can enable smarter responsive routing. For example, when negative emotion is detected in response, you may want to ask a follow-up question to learn more or to shift to a different line of questioning.

4. Quantitative Rigor, Qualitative Richness

In the fast-paced world of real-time, automated quantitative research we are in danger of losing the ability to listen to the authentic voice of the customer. Qualitative research focuses on the ‘why’ not the ‘what’ and provides the nuanced insights that enable marketers to prioritize customer’s wants, needs and desires and to make the right decisions based on that feedback.

Thanks to state-of-the-art technology we can now collect hundreds or thousands of open-ended speech responses, allowing people to describe their experiences using their own voice. With speech-to-text technology, it’s possible to transcribe audio files easily, quickly and at a low cost. Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing we can automatically analyze open-ended data to discover hot topics and patterns, then quickly turn this into actionable insights.

5. Preventing Fraud in Market Research

Trusting in the quality of respondents is paramount for successful market research. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for bad actors to try to “game the system” by taking surveys multiple times to influence results, or to gain access to rewards.

Voiceprint and other new analysis capabilities can confirm participants are genuine, help prevent fraud, and the reduce the effects bots can have on results.

With the foundations already well laid, we predict that in 2020 voice technology will become the next big thing in market research. The time is right to explore, experiment and test the power of voice technology to enrich your market research and provide new insights that truly represent the voice of the customer.

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