Communication – a key principle for man and machine

Posted on June 29, 2018

 

Earlier this week, the Engage Web team was represented at the European Search Conference which took place at the Exhibition Centre on Kings Dock in Liverpool. The event coincided with the nine-day long International Business Festival, so saw many business professionals and experts descend on the city on a lovely summer’s day.

Communication is key

Communication was a big point in Vickie Cheung’s morning session, which was titled ‘The Ten Commandments to Demystifying the Creative Process’. She highlighted communication as a key principle in at least half of these commandments.

When accepting a job from a client, Vickie explained that it is best to set the right brief with clear and concise objectives and goals in order to get exactly what the client wants. Sometimes it is difficult to take what clients say on face value as they think they want one thing, when they actually want something else. This makes clear communication vital in ensuring the job gets done correctly and to a satisfactory level.

Dewi Nawasari of Monster also highlighted the importance of communication in her afternoon session, saying that people within the organisation must copy every relevant person into an email, as over-communication is better than miscommunication or under-communicating.

Voice search

The first talk of the afternoon was given by Dawn Anderson of Manchester Metropolitan University, and centred on voice search. This was a very interesting talk and got myself and John hooked, with John’s post yesterday focusing on this session.

Voice search is still a relatively new concept for most of us, with over 70% not yet utilising it. Of the 24% that are, the most popular is Siri, with 11% using it, followed by Google Home (7%) and Amazon Alexa (5%). It is something that many people are intrigued by as it is expected that 56.3m smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Home will be shipped in 2018.

As we are still in the early stages of developing this technology, it is still problematic and far from perfect. The current crop of products still have issues understanding language, in particular pronouns – which can get pretty tricky linguistically.

Right now, the most popular use for voice search is to find out what the weather is, with 18% of people who use these voice assistants saying this is what they use it for. This is followed by a web search (13%) and starting a phone call (10%).

As voice search develops, these voice-based assistants will be able to react to more questions and prompts, which will enable them to do more for us, developing conversational actions beyond a simple question and answer. It also suggests that communication with machines is on the rise in a more vocal way than inputting commands.

A customer-centric approach

Overall, the day was successful, and a lot was learned by all delegates. The recurring theme that seemed to keep cropping up for success in the industry is to pay close attention to the client/user journey. What is it that customers want to get out of your services? What is it they are looking for? How do they expect to do this?

When it comes to being online, customers want the easiest way possible to get the best possible results. So those that do well are those that are quick to find, offer a service that the customer wants and deal with affairs in terms that are convenient and in a way that they understand. Therefore, ensuring a customer-centric approach will continue to reap rewards.

Alan Littler

Account Executive at Engage Web
Drawing from a broad pool of experience that ranges from university studies in English Language to his work as a medical receptionist in a busy GP practice, Alan fits right at home as Engage Web’s Account Executive.

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