5 Steps to Add Voice Calling to Your Mobile Applications

24 Jan

“Hello? Is anyone there?”
“I can never find anyone to help me!”
“I can’t figure this thing out!”

If this is the feedback sounds familiar, your customer experience might be suffering without the all important power of connected voice within your application. Not sure where to start?   Good news!  We’ve figured out the hard part for you.

Step 1: Identify the problem that adding voice calling will solve

Voice integrations are like any other application in one key way–they have to serve a business purpose. Almost all goals will fall into one or more of three big buckets:

  1. Reduce operational costs
  2. Shorten sales cycles
  3. Deepen customer loyalty

 

Step 2: Create a functions inventory

What’s that? Simply answer the question ‘What will this app do?’ List every function that you want your app to fulfill for your customer. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here’s an example of a functions inventory for an airline app:

  • If a visitor opens the app from the GPS coordinates of any major US airport, then track that customer’s app activity
  • If this visitor searches for flights, then send him a pop-up notification asking him to ‘press 5’ if he’d like to arrange a flight
  • If the customer presses 5, then send him an automated voice message suggesting flights
  • Then offer the customer the option to purchase one of the suggested flights by pressing 6
  • Transfer call to a live operator to complete the purchase

Don’t worry about what’s possible yet. Just plan the functions. If one of your functions isn’t possible, your mobile developer can help you figure out an alternative approach to achieve the same goal.

 

Step 3: Plan flow of information

Now is the time to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine the experience that will serve them best.

From the first action on the initiating screen, create every possible subsequent screen; if the customer presses 5, this happens, or if she presses 6, that happens. Don’t skip any steps. When there are two steps, ask yourself if they can be combined into one. Once you’ve roughed out the flow of user-initiated events and automated voice responses, it’s time to pull in a mobile app developer to make sure that the flow you’ve planned is possible to develop within your budget.

 

Step 4: Identify and provision technical resources

Your plan is in hand. You’re ready to start building. And the first thing you need to build is your development team. Most teams consist of the following::

  • A backend developer to set up a server to drive your application
  • A mobile app developer to connect your web server to phone services via API
  • A UX designer to make your mobile application beautiful and useable

 

Step 5: Test it within an inch of its life

It’s got to be right. Testing mobile apps is tough because there are so many hardware devices and platforms. Screen sizes, operating systems and versions, and mobile network operators (such as GSM vs CDMA) are just a few of the variables that you’ll have to test. And you’ll have to perform different types of tests. Just a few are:

  • Usability testing to be sure your interface is easy to use and pleasing
  • Compatibility testing to check that your app works on a multitude of devices
  • Services testing to see that the webhooks and APIs are playing nicely together
  • Performance testing to ensure that your app works on 4G, LTE,  and wifi without draining the device’s battery

Consider each one mandatory. Your mobile developer will be able to help with this, so seek his or her advice on practices and timeframes as you begin to develop your project management plan.

Annie Steur
Annie Steur
asteur@bandwidth.com

Annie Steur is a Marketing Consultant and graduate of Wake Forest University. Go Deacs! She has experience in event planning, project management, developing lead generation campaigns, and social media. She’ll update with what she likes to do in her free time as soon as she has some.

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