Most conversations with Google Home or Alexa tend to focus on quirky features like weather or telling jokes. But voice recognition technology is set to become the most powerful computing step-change that we have experienced since the launch of the iPhone.
According to Gartner, 30% of human interactions with technology will happen through conversations with smartphones in the short term. By 2022, voice recognition will be a $40b industry, says AdWeek, with 55% of homes having a smart speaker.
The INMAN Connect 2018 conference was told voice activation is allowing the creation of virtual assistants that can be on call for real estate agents 24/7. Imagine an assistant that is always present, connected to you through your watch, or ‘Fitbit’ styled device.
Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard it before, the next big thing. But let’s stop to think a moment about why voice technology is so powerful and how it can help real estate agents.
1. It will make us faster
People speak 150 words a minutes compared to typing about 40. This means that you can give approximately three to four times the number of instructions to a voice system, than you can by typing. Voice technology therefore is likely to revolutionise how much we can get done. Real estate agents have a gift for the gab - this unleashes that skill as a tech platform.
2. It will be less exhausting
When you can conduct business and get things done simply by asking questions and giving instructions, the need to peer constantly into a backlit screen 24/7 starts to dissolve, and with it, the headaches, the eyestrain and the cramping thumbs. Gartner predicts that voice technology is a new operating system that will physically free us up rather than current systems that suck the life from us.
3. It will make life easier
The current process for most agents is this: meet someone, get their business card, go back to the office and your desk, type their details into your CRM, rage at your CRM for refusing to save the record until all fields with an asterix are completed and you forgot to ask a question or two, categorise the record, send the new contact an email, maybe send a second one a few weeks later, completely forget about them, wonder why they sold their house with someone else.
The new process might look more like this. Meet someone, ask if they mind if you turn on your assistant, you and your contact talk while the assistant records and picks up key words – name, current address, email, why they want to sell, their fears and concerns, name of their dog. By the end of the conversation, their details are in your CRM and upon your prompts, your assistant has emailed your new contact a property valuation of their current property, a list of curated properties they might like to buy based on the preferences you discussed together, has connected them into a contact schedule and posted a reminder in your calendar to follow up with a call and a bone for the dog. You win the listing.
4. It will help us deliver higher levels of service
Why don’t agents deliver amazing service constantly? In most instances, it is not because they don’t want to but because consistency is really hard work – especially with the busy and overwhelmingly manual processes of buying, selling and renting property. With the ability to request things by speaking, we’ll be able to take action as soon as we remember or think things through. The need to write instructions or spend time researching dissolves. We can take action in an instant.
5. It will help us be more human
As humans we connect through speaking – it helps us gather and share information and build relationships. We’ve created manual systems to capture the information from these conversations but they now slow us down and distract us. Voice activation will give us confidence that the details are being taken care of, encouraging us to inquire more, connect more and focus on the people – not the device – in front of us. In short, voice activated technology will make us more human.