How voice technology can help businesses keep their New Year’s Resolution

This opinion piece was contributed by Mark Geremia, VP of Worldwide Marketing at Nuance Communications.

With the new decade upon us, there’s no escape from the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. In our personal lives, these vary greatly; they could involve anything, from climbing Mount Everest to trying to stop eating so much chocolate.

But, as many business leaders welcome in 2020 by setting new objectives and thinking about how they can improve operations moving forward, they are likely to have one New Year’s Resolution in common: the desire to increase productivity.

And it’s no surprise that this is a topic high on the boardroom agenda. Increased productivity enables organisations to rise above their competitors and ultimately leads to higher profit margins. It makes more of a difference to the bottom line than almost anything else and can be the difference between a business surviving, thriving, or collapsing in our current climate.

It’s the perfect time of year to adjust mindsets, break out of old habits, and plan for a productive year ahead, both in our personal lives and in business.

But how can New Year’s Resolutions around productivity transform from a boardroom strategy to real-life practice? 

Drowning in documentation

For many businesses, one of the main barriers standing in the way of increased productivity is the never-ending trail of administrative duties that employees are expected to complete.

No matter what industry your business operates in or how many customers it serves, the likelihood is that paperwork and other documentation processes will take up a lot of time. Responding to emails, writing up meeting notes, and crafting or updating reports… All are jobs that are important and need to be completed to a high standard. Yet all are also jobs that can easily become a burden on staff, taking up the majority of their working day.

This is where voice technologies can help. These technologies have the potential to undertake over half of the tasks that employees carry out, especially when it comes to administrative duties. In fact, a recent independent review discovered that speech recognition technologies could save businesses operating in financial services – one of the most administrative heavy industries in the UK – over £40,000 a year per employee.

This is possible because voice technologies have the power to recognise up to 160 words per minute. And, with the best solutions in the market now offering recognition rates of 99%, their accuracy is often even better than a human counterpart. This eases the pressure on employees and often enables them to channel their efforts into other areas of the business.

Of course, there are some tasks for which voice technologies cannot be used as a suitable replacement. Client meetings will always require the human element, as will product and provider research. But, given that we talk up to three times faster than we type, it’s no surprise that voice technologies have the potential to drastically transform administrative processes and support workforce productivity throughout an entire organisation.

And that’s not the only area in which voice technologies can enable businesses to improve productivity…

Supporting your most valuable asset

There’s no doubt about it; the workspace has seen a total transformation over recent years. Today, the office doesn’t have to be a physical space and work doesn’t need to be done between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

Instead, this generation of workers are mobile – visiting clients and meeting their peers in various locations all over the world and often working from public transport in between. As such, their phones often become their main interface. But it can be difficult to operate productively whilst using a small mobile phone screen.

To combat this, businesses can invest in voice recognition apps that enable employees to be productive no matter where they are or what time it is. The best of these will provide all the professional grade accuracy and features of desktop versions and also synchronise so that when users get back to their laptops or PCs they can simply pick up where they left off meaning that no time is wasted in between.

And that’s only one part of the puzzle. By investing in technologies which will support mobile working habits, businesses are able to attract and retain the best talent.

The majority of today’s workforce wants to be empowered by the company that they work for. They want to work somewhere that has the right tools to support them, whether that is in terms of mobile working habits or in terms of reducing the administrative pressures that they so often face.

Ultimately, by investing in voice technologies, businesses can ensure that their employees are able to work in a way that best suits them while reducing their stress levels and increasing happiness throughout an organisation. And everyone knows that happier employees are more productive employees.

Making this year count

Each year, it’s estimated that around 92% of people fail to keep their New Year’s Resolution. And it’s true that it can be extremely difficult to break the mold and shift well-established mindsets. But as voice technologies infiltrate most of our personal lives – bringing convenience and efficiency – it’s time for businesses to ask whether the traditional keyboard and mouse have had their day.

Voice technologies can open a whole new world of possibilities for businesses, enabling them to better support their staff by drastically reducing the time spent on administrative duties and providing a platform that aids the growing trend towards mobile working.

Above all, by investing in voice technologies businesses can make their New Year’s Resolutions a reality and boost their productivity, both this year and beyond.

Next, is AI even intelligent? Find out here.