'Frictionless' voice assistants, a new frontier for super

'Frictionless' voice assistants, a new frontier for super

Simon Stefanoff

The Oscar-winning film, Her depicted a future where AI assistants were omnipresent. According to Deloitte Digital, that future is here and could mean big things for super.

While intelligent voice assistants probably won’t be voiced by Scarlett Johanssen, by virtue of their voice-first nature, they will have the ability to promote a more “inclusive” conversation around superannuation and what it means for individuals, the director of Deloitte Digital, Simon Stefanoff told Nest Egg.

He explained that voice assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Alexa allow people to speak directly with brands, products and services they might use in a way that is intuitive.

 

After all – voice is the first interface humans learn to use and we use it from about two years of age, he argued.

“In the case of superannuation, it [voice assistants] is a way that you can talk to a Google Home device for example and ask to talk about your superannuation and it would then connect you to your superannuation fund.

“From that point onwards you can converse in language that you would use in a day-to-day manner and find out information about your superannuation balance and ask questions like… what would my balance be like if i added an extra $500 a month?

“Knowing how long you've got until retirement, it can do that calculation and return your answers in a really simple way.”

The Deloitte Digital software will be available with, and launched by, individual funds in the first quarter of next year and will be based off the individual user’s and their fund’s data.

“We work with the superannuation companies to ensure they have that data there and they have knowledge of the kind of questions that their particular customers will ask,” he explained.

A big part of that is understanding the complexity of super and being able to “cut through” it, while also making it “real” for people who may be disengaged, he said.

He said that superannuation has “always appeared” to be an industry that could do with some simplification. “I think it is really hard for people to understand and it's something that's so crucial to everybody and if they understood it a bit better they might act differently with their super funds.

“Like everyone, I get my super statements every year and I see that and I see the graph and I see the way that my super investment has changed.  

“Quite often I've got a lot of questions about that data where I have to think, alright what's going to show me this, how can I compare that to what happened five years ago? It's fine to see a graph in isolation, how about some context around it, what does this mean in terms of everyone else?”

He argued that this is where voice can be “really useful” as it allows users to deep dive into the data and get answers, without needing to already possess a font of knowledge which Mr Stefanoff described as a “frictionless” medium.

Continuing, he said: “One of the strengths of voice is the inclusive nature,” and noted that the technology could be particularly useful for older age groups and retirees who aren’t completely digital-fluent.

This generation may possess smartphones but they might not use them in the same way and with the same ease as younger groups do.

“There are a lot of super brands that are trying to interact with this age group and they're probably not going to be able to do it via their mobile channels or desktop channels. We think that with voice they'll have a far better engagement with this age group because it's something they can simply do.

“I think that’s really powerful.”

Simon Stefanoff will be speaking at The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia conference this week about technology trends and "the invisible customer interface". 

'Frictionless' voice assistants, a new frontier for super
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