Tell us about your role and the journey into tech before joining ReadSpeaker?
I joined ReadSpeaker in 2004 as cofounder and Managing Director of France and French Territories before I became CMO in 2008.
Prior to my roles at ReadSpeaker, I worked as the General Manager at MTV and Game One from 1995 to 2004, where I managed a team of 70 for both the MTV and Game One channels. I was responsible for developing MTV’s presence in France and French-speaking territories. When I started, 900,000 households received the channel and by the end of my tenure, more than 6.2 million households were able to access MTV. In June 2000, I launched the French version of MTV and created the internal ad sales house MTV Publicité in 2002, which helped MTV diversify its revenue streams.
Prior to the launch, MTV depended mainly on subscription revenues. Additionally, I initiated and developed the acquisition of 50% of Game One, a French television channel that shows programs based on video gaming, in 2003.
Could you tell us how voice-enabled services benefit marketing, sales and support teams?
As more businesses become digital, it’s critical that brands proactively create unique experiences for their customers. Marketing, sales and support teams can benefit from voice in the following ways:
– Marketing teams: Voice-enabled solutions help marketers create a deeper, more personalized relationship that enables customers see a brand as more trustworthy and human-like. If a marketing team chooses to create a custom voice, the brand stands out from the competition, as consumers can easily differentiate it from the default robotic voices many smart speakers – the main way most consumers interact with digital voice – use. With the right branded voice, marketing teams can improve customer satisfaction and engage with and convert key audiences at the top of the funnel, growing brand recognition and increasing market share and ROI.
– Sales teams: As sales teams are constantly on-the-go, voice-enabled applications can help them easily listen to sales information that is critical to help salespeople effectively do their jobs. Additionally, eLearning training courses can be speech-enabled for sales training, offering more ways for salespeople to learn and retain information.
– Support teams: Voice solutions can be used in interactive voice response (IVR) systems that are played when consumers call customer support teams, or in interactive chatbots/virtual assistants. This ensures that while customers are waiting to be transferred to the appropriate party, or speak with a human representative, they are receiving a consistent experience, helping to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. Furthermore, support teams can leverage voice-enabled services in outbound call center applications to send notifications, appointment reminders, surveys and the like to customers in a cost-effective, engaging manner.
What is the future of branded voice?
Globally, people are becoming more comfortable leveraging voice technology. Euromonitor International reported that because of COVID-19, more consumers are likely to use AI-enabled home appliances and virtual assistants, largely because they don’t have to touch surfaces to use them. As more business is done digitally and comfort levels with voice technology increases, branded voice will become a part of a brand’s personality, much like visual marketing tools have become integral to how a company is perceived. Companies looking to invest in a branded voice will need to dedicate time to researching who the right voice partner is for them.
The best partners will help companies create a voice that leverages the most up-to-date digital voice technologies, like Deep Neural Network (DNN), so that the voice can consistently deliver quality customer experiences.
How can B2B teams optimize branded voice? What are the various touchpoints involved?
B2B teams can leverage branded voice just like B2C teams. As voice technology becomes more common, B2B teams need to ensure that they’re optimizing branded voice to gain and maintain competitive advantage. Touchpoints B2B teams should consider include:
– Websites – Voice-enabled websites and chatbots can ensure a conversational-first strategy with early interactions, and B2B teams can also add text-to-speech tools that can read content out loud. This ensures that customers are able to get the information that they require through various options, instead of just standard text. This is especially important for customers who have accessibility trouble and need more options in order to process the information.
– Corporate materials – B2B teams can leverage custom voices when creating corporate, product and instruction videos, ensuring a consistent experience across various types of content. This also helps customers feel as though they’re hearing directly from the company, creating a deeper relationship.
What are your COVID-19 goals and how does technology help meet those?
Changing consumer habits — coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – is pushing us toward a “contactless” world, where the need to physically interact with technology is replaced by the ability to interact verbally. As economies continue to open up and consumers face “the new normal,” old habits, such as using credit card keypads, will shift as people will minimize touching physical surfaces. As such, brands need to optimize their strategies to meet consumers where they’ll be consuming and sharing information, or risk being left behind.
At ReadSpeaker, our goal is to help brands realize that digital voice is critical to ensuring that consumers have the power to interact with brands at their convenience, wherever they are, in the language of their choosing and regardless of the device they’re using.
Our technology has also helped one customer, ROBO.ai, create a chatbot aimed specifically at providing information for any COVID-related questions. ROBO.ai’s developed Cosibot, a non-profit bot that provides users with reliable information about the coronavirus from sources such as the World Health Organization.
Cosibot uses ReadSpeaker’s English, German and Portuguese text-to-speech voices to provide text-based and spoken answers about the pandemic. As the contactless world becomes more mainstream, ROBO.ai’s Cosibot shows that digital voice allows consumers to access critical information regardless of language. This one example shows that technology, specifically voice technology, can be used when people need fast, reliable information during uncertain times.
Tag a person you would like to hear answers from.
I nominate Jacques Bonifay, CEO of Transatel.
Thank you, Roy! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Roy Lindemann is the CMO of ReadSpeaker, where he is responsible for marketing ReadSpeaker’s various text-to-speech solutions and go-to market strategy.
Roy joined ReadSpeaker in 2004 as cofounder and Managing Director of France and French Territories. Before joining ReadSpeaker, he was the General Manager of MTV and Game One in France. Roy earned his MBA from INSEAD, and his BSc in economics from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
ReadSpeaker is the most trusted, independent digital voice partner for global brands. With more than 20 years of industry experience, ReadSpeaker offers brands sophisticated text-to-speech solutions and expert hands-on assistance to create the most engaging bespoke voice interfaces. ReadSpeaker offers both SaaS and licensed solutions to support varying channels and devices, and consistently maintains brand trust through its commitment to data privacy. To date, the company – which provides more than 30 languages and 90 voices – has created more than 10,000 digital voice interfaces for brands around the world.