Echo Echo Chamber – Adam Greenwood, Greenwood Campbell – Voice Tech Podcast ep.036

Adam Greenwood Greenwood Campbell

Episode description

Adam Greenwood is the founder of the award winning digital agency, Greenwood Campbell. We discuss his experiences building chatbot and voicebot applications, as well as the wider implications of these technologies, specifically the echo chambers they are so good at creating.

We learn what an echo chamber is, why they are so dangerous, and what we can do to avoid them. We also discover whether voice enabled devices will make the situation better or worse. Adam shares the state of the UK voice market, and highlights some of the use cases best suited to voice apps. Then we discuss voice SEO and how brands can compete here.

We then tackle the design and development of chatbots and voicebots, discussing the different ways they can be built, and the benefits and challenges of each. Adam also reveals some of the big surprises his team have had during their many successful implementations. This is a thought-provoking episode that will inform and inspire in equal measure.

Highlights from the show

  • What is an Echo Chamber? A place where your thoughts and opinions are bounced back at you, reinforcing your current views and excluding opposing views.
  • Why are echo chambers dangerous? It’s important to debate, to challenge your thoughts and find better solutions for all. A society works best with different personality types in it, so we must resist dividing over our differences.
  • How can we avoid echo chambers and their effects? We can deliberately seek out opposing views, get comfortable with a certain level of conflict, and be aware of our need for validation.
  • Is Fake News a problem? No so much, the real problem is the echo chamber reinforcing only the part of the Real News that you already agree with.
  • How will voice assistants help? They may actually make the matter worse, as voice search returns fewer results, increasing the bias. It’s also possible to game the system to get to position zero.
  • What’s the state of the UK voice market?  Numbers low but rising. Built in smart speaker functions are used the most, custom skills much lower. The young are more comfortable talking to their devices, and Brits can generally be hesitant to use voice features in public compared to overseas markets.
  • How can brands improve their voice search SEO? You can increase the chance that your voice app will be selected for an implicit invocation by having many users invoke it with an explicit command i.e. target your core users first with traditional channels, to helpl new users to discover it through implicit invocation.
  • In which use cases has voice proved to be especially effective? Donations through voice are quick and frictionless, and can help charities boost revenue.
  • What are the big challenges around desiging for voice? Voice is tough to design for as there are no visual cues on how to start. Canned responses and options can help to get the conversation going. You must focus on end goals for business and user is key, to find the middle ground.
  • What are the big benefits of chatbots? The ability to tell a story and fulfil customers basic needs for connection. Also, Facebook Messenger campaigns achieve 85% open rates, versus 20% on email. It’s all about speed and convenience.
  • What surprised you during your chatbot projects? That people of all generations use Facebook Messenger & Whatsapp, not just the young. In fact, university undergraduates now have to be taught to use email, as their generation never use it. Using Facebook Messenger for registration and reminders boosts engagement and retention, as this is their go-to communications channel.
  • What chatbot builders would you recommend? For drag and drop, The Bot Platform, and Chatfuel. If more NLU is needed, use DialogFlow. It’s often good to prototype with a simple tool, then build out in more advanced one.
  • What should brands focus their efforts on? Voice search is the best way for brands to see value, so website optimisation is a must.

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