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6 Questions for Nodes’ Head of Voice Maarten Lens-FitzGerald

6 Questions for Nodes’ Head of Voice Maarten Lens-FitzGerald

Where does the interest in Voice come from?

I fell in love with Voice while wearing Google Glass. My wife was pregnant with twins and at the end of the day would I rush home to relieve her of watching our first born and make dinner. While cycling in Amsterdam I tapped my Google Glass frame and say: “Send a message to Lori: I am on my way home!”. It was so easy and efficient to do this, I did this every day.
It is the oldest yet the last interface. No more keyboards to type on, no more screens to swipe or buttons to tap. Just say what you are looking for and start the conversation. We talk 7 times faster than we write.
It makes brands better: Organizations who add conversational services will be winners in customer centricity. You can’t start an engaging conversation if you just push products. You need to have a complete understanding of who the customers are and what they need.
It democratizes: Everyone can now use technology. No need to learn difficult interfaces. Especially impactful for elderly and disabled people as well as in care situations.
It is a new and important movement: I always find myself at the forefront of new media movements. Voice is the fifth new medium I am working on. It started with the web in the 1990s, e-mail in the early 2000s, followed by Mobile and Augmented Reality.

What should we see as the biggest Voice opportunities for corporate organizations?

It’s a new channel with two billion endpoints on smart speakers, phones, and computers where your customer will talk with brands and organizations. They expect to book tickets, order groceries, get customer service, interact with smart home devices, play a game or get a cool experience. Just by saying: “Hey Alexa”, “Siri” or “Google” followed by their question: “ask KLM when the next flight to London is”, “add Gouda cheese to my groceries”, “play the Auping bedtime story for me” etc etc
Be present for the customer in their home, car and while they are doing something else. It’s not about distribution anymore, just about being of service.
Organizations have the opportunity to be first in their category or better than their competition.
Add the last interface to their channel mix
Create the ultimate customer-centric service
Healthcare and elderly focused business have an even larger growth potential using voice due to the democratizing effects of the easy voice interface
A good Voice Service will:

    • Grow customer intimacy and loyalty by offering Voice based customer service (in the customers context while they do other things)
    • Grow product or service usage by offering a Voice version.
    • Grow the campaign effect by adding Voice to the concept and execution.
    • Develop innovation and customer focus by running Voice services

Maarten Lens Fitz Gerald legt de voordelen uit voor Voice in digitale bedrijfstransformaties   Nodes Digital Agency Amsterdam - 6 Questions for Nodes' Head of Voice Maarten Lens-FitzGeraldMaarten Lens-FitzGerald explains the advantages of Voice within digital business transformations

In which practices have this already proven to be successful

Shopping: this is why Amazon has 10.000 people working on it and has 100 mln speakers in their customer’s living room or kitchen. Hollands largest supermarket chain Albert Heijn offers shopping and recipe voice services.
Media: Talpa Network uses Voice as digital transformation means of their Radio networks ANP, 538 Veronica and others. News and music as well as in-car use dominate.
Health: Deloitte created a Voice Nurse service to win time for other work.
Travel / Customer case: KLM Airlines uses voice and other conversational channels to handle almost 20% of its customer service communication volume. They use it for customer services such as flight information and booking and packing help.
Finance: Consumer bank Rabobank offers their customers voice service to get information about transfers and how much people have on their accounts.

What are the most frequently asked corporate questions about Voice as a service?

Why start in another new medium?
Adoption is faster than the web and mobile, since no new skills have to be learned.

Is it safe?
Yes, even more, safe than a phone. Yet for users who never used Voice services, it may feel unsafe due to their unfamiliarity.

How can my organization benefit?
First mover advantage / claim your #1 spot
Focus innovation processes on customer benefit
Learn conversational commerce and service
Grow top line revenue

What is the development process?
It starts with a voice design sprint where prototypes are created and tested. It then is followed by development sprints and the launch. After this management and maintenance starts. On one hand not different than mobile application development yet Voice is 90% design and 10% technical work. The more you test conversation flows the better the voice service.

What are the costs?
A design sprint is between 8000 to 30000 dependant on the context and the questions. Creation of a Voice Service end to end is 15.000 to 150.000 or more. It depends on conversation complexity and backend integrations.

Which tech developments do you find most interesting heading 2020?

Voice Integrations: that voice will be integrated into any device
Smart speakers were the first manifestation of the new Voice medium. The next step is that Voice is integrated into all devices: from toasters to fridges and cars.
Connected & Cloud AR game platforms like Niantic with Pokemon Go. It’s is exciting to see citywide immersive games merging the real world and the virtual one creating a rich shared experience.
Quantum Computing. The power and also the weirdness of this technology have unimaginable effects which will be as exciting as the digital revolution.

What can we expect from you in this role? How will you translate your knowledge to something that can be shared with Dutch organizations being interested?

As Head of Voice I will form and run the Voice exploration and execution team to service customers with:
Introduction workshops and meetings
Voice Strategy
Voice service design sprints
Voide prototypes
Voice concept development
Audio branding services
Voice user testing
Voice dialog writing
Voice service coding
Voice service management and maintenance
Regular newsletters, podcasts, keynotes and workshops at events and in organizations about the new opportunity of Voice.

What are your personal Voice favorites?

Netflix. I just say Hey Google: Play Peppa Pig to start that series for my kids on my Chrome cast TV.
Kitchen timer. I cook a lot.
Weather. It rains often in Amsterdam.
Word Mine on Alexa: a fun game with the family and an awesome execution