Designing for voice in a systematic way

Last night I went to an event that featured five women leading AI startups (RAIN, Convrg, The Difference) and AI-focused teams within larger companies (Google, NPR), where they led a discussion on the need for inclusive design in AI. We questioned why so many digital assistants have feminine names, and discussed how you can better design usability testing for voice assistants to account for bias - which, as it turns out, can be really hard because you lose the traditional richness of ethnographic research where you can see the contradictions of saying one thing and doing another.

At one point the CEO of RAIN noted there are some experiences that just aren't right for voice, but that it's easy to get lost in the hype and excitement around the channel/medium. One thing that brands can do to design the right opportunity for voice, is to recognize that the capability or goal for that experience should be built within a system, and not as a standalone solution. It's about creating a holistic, omni-platform journey in order to optimize for what voice can do. For instance, even ensuring that if I order an Uber through my Alexa as I'm getting ready to leave, the mobile app is already updated once I get in the car. Or if I order a pizza through the Domino's app, I can later ask Alexa for a status update on delivery time.

This got me thinking about the implications for insurers and how we (as New York Life) might use voice in the future. Where does voice make sense for us? And how do we ensure that it fits within a systematic offering for customers, or how might we leverage voice within the omni-platform environment to place the agent at the center of the customer's financial wellness?

And finally, as the traditional brand voice in marketing truly becomes a 'voice' it puts a greater burden to really ensure the right attributes and personality comes through. Which makes you wonder, what is the right voice that captures our brand trust and reliability, with hopefully some friendliness as well? Why and when would customers want or need to talk to their life insurer?