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Voice Search Is Here to Stay: Ways Your Financial Institution Can Answer

Voice search and voice-powered experiences are two of today’s hottest topics — and for good reason. According to a recent Yext webinar, the use of voice-enabled speakers will grow 130 percent over the next year. So, there’s no doubt voice recognition is shaping the emerging customer experience and will have a direct impact on businesses of every kind, including financial services (if it hasn’t already). So, exactly how does voice search impact your financial institution, and most importantly — how can you keep up?

Speak and you shall receive.

For starters, voice search functionality marks a seismic shift in how consumers get results. In fact, over 20 percent of all Google mobile searches are now voice-command interactions. Siri co-founder has even called voice search a “defining characteristic of computing” over the next 10 years. But, unlike a text search you do on your computer, voice search results provide just one answer at a time, meaning there’s only one best answer. This “one result only” model really puts the pressure on financial institutions when it comes to things like:

  • Your financial institution’s digital knowledge
  • Optimizing your Google results
  • Ensuring you become/retain the best search result available

It’s important to note that on the whole, consumers are not consuming less traditional media, they are instead interacting with more media in more forms — often at the same time. As a result, many businesses spend just as much on traditional (paid) media, but then add owned and earned channel spend on top. As one can imagine, this becomes quite costly.

A smarter approach is to factor SEM (search engine marketing) into your budget. This way, your institution is more likely to show up at the top when people are looking for a feature or offering near their location or in their specific area of interest. For example, if someone is searching for something as general as checking accounts in their city, your financial institution would then show up as a top search result.

Now, back to voice.

It’s important to note how younger generations access and consume information through the internet. This might be a no-brainer, but today’s teens and children know of no time in their lives when they didn’t have access to the internet, and most have always had access through a mobile device. It’s critical to understand these behaviors when thinking about how a young person might interact with voice search and the result offerings. While it may seem like a leap for us, for teens this is just more of the same, and soon could be the norm for many industries.

Behavior-wise, consumers are being taught how to ask devices the right questions, which is a natural extension of their current behavior. People type questions differently than when they say them out loud. This is because we can speak more words per minute than we can type and also because we are less deliberate with our words when we speak. So, this has resulted in an increase in “conversational search.” Think about the rise of Alexa and Google Home, particularly with older people. These devices make it easier for people with growing, age-related challenges to accomplish simple tasks. Order more dog food, check the weather, understand their calendar for the day, and so on. There’s no reason why banking tools and search for financial-related help topics couldn’t become an everyday voice search all over your community and one day, the globe.

So, how is it powered?

“Intelligent services” triggered by voice rely on your financial institution’s structured data to provide “rich” experiences. This creates an importance to ensure the data about your brand is structured in a way these services understand. A program called Schema Markup helps your website speak the language of intelligent services, so they can understand, categorize, and structure the information about your brand. An enhanced, consistent, and accurate digital knowledge published everywhere can help offer a positive consumer experience.

By complying with these best practices, businesses become a part of that circle of trust around the content showcased to consumers via voice search. Yext puts you in control of all of the public facts about your brand. With Yext, you can be sure consumers find rich, accurate, and consistent information about your brand — wherever they are, in all the ways they search. Every time.

Want to learn more? Download the white paper “Deliver a Better Brand Experience Wherever Customers Search.”

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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