In our recently launched research, Tech Trends Transforming The Insight Industry, we explore four tech trends that we believe will reshape our industry by creating new opportunities to better understand consumer behaviour.

One of the most exciting of these is voice. Voice as a channel for engaging consumers has been around for some time through voice assistants like Siri and Cortana. But it’s the emergence and rapid adoption of smart speakers – like Amazon’s range of Echo products and the Google Home – that have seen this channel really take off in the past 12 months.

Could smart speakers change the way we do research?

As a channel that allows consumers to engage quickly, easily and in-the-moment, we see voice – and in particular, smart speakers – as enabling a new type of research.

We forsee smart speakers facilitating “snap research”, where consumers respond to a set of quick questions simply by speaking to their device. This type of research could have two potential use cases:

1. Getting a quick read

The first use case for “snap research” is to engage participants, who are already taking part in a research panel or a research study, in a series of short questions. This would enable brands to get a quick read on particular topics to inform the direction of subsequent research.

2. Reimagining customer service

The second, and most exciting, use case for snap qual is to build it into an existing Alexa Skill or Google Action – the smart speaker equivalent of an app – so that a set of questions are triggered through the speaker once a user completes a particular action, such as making a purchase. Participants could then speak to the device to share their feedback. This would transform the way we research the customer experience and enable businesses to collect rich, in-the-moment feedback at the point at which a consumer interacts with a brand, rather than having to rely on retrospective accounts.

Giving consumers the opportunity to share their experiences through voice, rather than by text, could also play a key role in overcoming feedback fatigue and increasing response rates to research.

Going further

As consumers start to become comfortable interacting with smart speakers through voice, we expect to see the emergence of voice-based research on other devices, including smartphones. This will be particularly exciting when combined with passive tracking to trigger tasks based on behavioural data. For example, asking someone to record a few words about their experience as they leave a shop or exit an app.

Excited about the prospect of voice as a tool for research? What can you do right now to start tapping into the technology?

Our first tip would be to align yourself with the teams in your organisation that are building Skills and Actions for voice. Understanding the size and shape of the opportunity to build relationships with your brand’s consumers through voice will be important for many brands so start the conversion.

Secondly, why not try working with your dev team to try building a research-oriented Skill or Action. It’s also worth getting other teams in your organisation – marketing, sales, customer support, tech – thinking about the potential that Skills and Actions have as a tool for conducting research so you can harness this opportunity from the get-go.

Want to know more about how tech trends like voice are reshaping the world of research? Download our latest report to learn more about how everything from chatbots right through to facial recognition are creating new opportunities in our industry.