Voice calling as a technology is ancient history. We‘ve all heard the story of the first successful telephone conversation in 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell uttered, “Watson, come here! I want to see you.”
Voice is the “opportunity calling” for mobile apps, and this missed opportunity becomes particularly apparent with the “on-demand” category such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and Instacart. These companies have clearly found a formula that works, but they are still missing a major opportunity to improve the app experience through voice.
Consider how an incoming call works with your favorite transportation app, such as Uber or Lyft. You’ve placed your car request, a driver has confirmed, and everything seems to be just fine. A few minutes later, you get a call from a number you don’t recognize. You may assume it’s your driver because of the timing, but you don’t want to take the chance so you let it go to voicemail. Shortly, your phone rings again. It is your driver and she wanted to let you know she’s stuck in traffic and is at least 10 minutes away. You agree to cancel that ride and need to restart your app and begin the process again. Does this sound like a remotely successful user experience?
Here’s how outbound voice calling looks when it’s not kept in-app:
Now imagine what taking a call in-app can do for user engagement. In-app calling gives you an unparalleled opportunity to fully customize how a user interacts with your product. You can implement innovative voice features that supersede the old school “phone call” we’ve all come to know and enhance your offering. You retain complete control over the user experience, rethink the standard definition of voice, and make sure a user sees the most valuable information on the screen during a call. Taking voice in-app never puts a user in the previously described disruptive experience again. Users can be provided with the necessary context to foster a successful connection – such as a push notification that says, “Your Lyft Driver John is Calling” that, when swiped, opens the app with the driver’s position, car, and other relevant info.
Here’s what the outbound call experience could be with voice in-app:
When you make the user experience seamless and customized, you’re fostering brand advocates who will become addicted to what you have to offer. As a user, it’s wonderful to open an app and have everything be catered to you. After all, it’s personalization that has contributed to the success of giants like Amazon, Netflix, or Pandora, something on-demand apps have yet to capitalize on.
Every opportunity to collect business intelligence is an opportunity to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. How is your app being used? How are users communicating? What’s working? What isn’t? What is the context of each and every user interaction? These are the questions apps must answer to ensure their offering will drive user engagement and ultimately enjoy success.
With in-app calling, instead of losing all visibility into when and why a call is being made, you can be collecting valuable metadata that provides ultimate business intelligence. Tracking in-app communication gives you the ability to see when and where a user is getting stuck or what action prompted a call. You can facilitate the user experience to follow logical patterns and better anticipate a user’s needs and foster a positive experience.
Stronger analytics enable you to make informed design and product roadmap decisions that will enrich your app for the long term.
One could argue that a clean user interface, a seamless user experience, and strong business analytics are all nice to have, but at the end of the day, if someone wants the service you’re providing, they’re not going to care. After all, these successful on demand services we speak of are doing just fine without in-app calling, right? Perhaps the most important reason to rethink voice is because its inclusion in your app will drive more conversions and will help you reach your ultimate goal – ROI.
Let’s also go back to the experience we described before where a passenger is sent out of an application to take a call from a driver and something goes wrong. How much more likely would that customer be to order another car, versus switching services or finding an alternative mode of transportation, if the whole experience was in the app. Or even better, the application would know the passenger needs a new vehicle and be able to automatically order the next available car.
Additionally, when you invest in improving the user experience to foster successful transactions (whether money is exchanged or not), a user will remember how simple the whole process was and keep your app in mind next time your service is needed. But one bad connection or negative experience can take your app out the running just as quickly as you got the download in the first place. Given today’s competitive market, apps must be focused on providing the features that contribute to driving conversions.
Moving voice in-app creates valuable interactions and gives you unparalleled insights so you can innovate and satisfy customers.
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