Customer- and user engagement trends over the past two decades have been heavily optimized for efficiency, inevitably resulting in loss of human interaction. Automated email and chatbot communication definitely have a raison d’être. But it is the real human exchange, social competence and individual experiences that build trust and make or break an engaged community. The profound desire of people to connect with others is nothing new and has also been confirmed by social and biological sciences (Bowlby, 1988).
The right conversation at the right time changes everything. And that doesn’t only apply to personal conversations, but also to customer interactions. Social audio opens up a whole new mode of connecting with your audience and turning them into an engaged community. Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT comes to the same conclusion in her work ‘Reclaiming Conversation’:
«Conversation is the most human and humanizing thing that we do.»
Among companies who work to improve their customer experience, 84% report increased revenue. Live audio rooms allow your audience to directly engage with the platform or brand they love in an authentically human way that goes far beyond business-traditional means of communication. Hearing real human voices does something to our perception of an organization — suddenly we connect as people. We are convinced that the more conversations people have, the better place the world becomes. Making it easier for everyone to have those conversations makes people’s online experience much more human. And this not only leads to more user engagement in your product but at the same time fosters a culture of trust and personal exchange, which allows building deeper and more meaningful relationships between you and your community.
«Highly engaged users are more likely to buy, return and share the product or service with friends.» — Jenny Booth
In his 2017 paper, Yale scientist, Michael W. Kraus, questioned the primary role of face perception in the communication of emotion. His research has shown evidence that voice-only communication can allow us to feel empathy with higher accuracy than interactions using additional visual aids. Contrary to expectations, the combination of audio and visual cues adds more complexity to a conversation experience. Taking a more minimalistic approach and reducing it down to one sense — voice only — enhances empathic accuracy.
These results are in line with recent learnings from social audio platforms and the phenomena widely known as ‘zoom fatigue’: Constant camera attention can lead to pressure and anxiety around the setup, one’s appearance, limits movement options such as pacing, and as a consequence results in an uneasy conference call experience. Social audio conversations optimized for voice-only interaction with only the occasional and targeted use of screen-sharing or camera, allow participants to relax and join a conversation from anywhere without worrying about the impression they might make on a video screen. Those of us who aren’t Gen Z surely have had countless long and valuable phone calls (as in: landline) in our lives. How is your experience with video calls as a comparison? Do you relax and open up just as much?
Audio conversations work in any online space that offers potential for interaction (i.e. many people in the same place at the same time). If you’re now wondering if social audio might be for you, ask yourself the following questions:
If so, adding low-friction, high-value conversation to your product has the potential to change the game: Book a conversation with Matthias to learn more about how social audio can help you engage with your community inside your own product or platform.