21.09.2019

Salesforce launches Einstein Voice for ‘conversational CRM’

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  • Two products being announced: Einstein Voice Assistant and Einstein Voice Bots.
  • Einstein Voice Assistant promises more intuitive interaction with Salesforce tools and data; Voice Bots will enable Salesforce customers to build their own voice assistants quickly and simply.
  • The products won’t be available until summer and winter 2019; pricing has not been determined.

Ahead of its annual conference this week, Salesforce announced the Einstein Voice platform. Initially, there are two products being introduced: Einstein Voice Assistant and Einstein Voice Bots. Einstein Voice Assistant is a speech UI on top of Salesforce, accessible through the Salesforce app or smart speakers. Einstein Voice Bots allow Salesforce customers to build their own voice assistants.

Making Salesforce easier to use with speech. If these products, which are scheduled to roll out in Q3 and Q4 of 2019, perform as promised, they could have a dramatic impact on how customers interact with and use Salesforce. Einstein Voice promises to simplify data entry through “conversational updates” of Salesforce:

As you verbally dictate your memo, Einstein Voice transcribes the audio stream to allow our natural language understanding models to classify what types of updates you need to make to the various fields in Salesforce. It then extracts and normalizes the inputs to match the required field formats, like the close date and deal amount for a given opportunity . . . Einstein Voice Assistant can create tasks and understand terms like “next month” to make sure Salesforce reminds you at the appropriate time. Einstein Voice Assistant finishes this all off by logging an event on the record and ensuring all relevant contacts are included in the event’s details, making you more productive.

The company also says that users can configure Einstein Voice Assistant to deliver daily briefings through smart speakers and the Salesforce app. These daily briefings can be personalized in myriad ways to focus on desired categories or items of information. In addition, the Salesforce database can now be queried with voice “instead of manually opening and filtering dashboards.”

Customers can build their own voice assistants ‘in a few clicks.’ Einstein Voice Bots will enable Salesforce customers to build their own voice assistants “in a matter of a few clicks” without any coding. These voice bots can similarly be used on Google Home, Alexa devices and other voice platforms as well.

The example provided is of “a rental car company [that] could deploy an Einstein Voice Bot to enable customers to update a reservation with a simple voice command to the smart speaker of their choice.” It’s not clear how voice bots would be integrated into existing third-party “skills” or voiceapps or whether they would need to build a new customer experience on top of Einstein Voice as an alternative platform.

Why it matters to marketers. We’ll have to wait and see if these tools are as simple and useful as the press materials suggest. But Einstein Voice Bots, in particular, could make brand and customer experiences on smart speakers better and quicker to deploy.

Most brands have failed so far to exploit the growth in smart speakers to create engaging or useful experiences for their customers. If Einstein Voice is genuinely simple it could help brands dramatically improve their smart speaker customer experiences and help realize the transactional promise of these devices as well.

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