Inteligencia artificial

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Engagement

When I was asked about my takeaways from CRM Evolution by the audio-visual team at the event in Washington D.C. last week, I didn´t doubt for a second: The theme of the moment clearly is the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) in CRM, CX and Customer Engagement. All the sessions I attended, both key-note as well as break-out, had one or more mentioning of AI in it. Some of the sessions, were about AI full stop.

At CRM Evolution I had the pleasure and honor to be one of the break-out session speakers. And my theme being about Organizational Alignment toward Customer Engagement, I did not mention the word technology at all, let alone talk about AI. But, in hindsight, I should have dedicated it some time, because the impact of AI on organizational alignment is huge. And because I didn´t talk about it then, I´ll do it now.

Artificial Intelligence is on the rise, an unstoppable, unthinkably impacting and very useful to engage with customers and employees if used wisely. But it implies a mindset change. If through AI the customer experience can be more seamless, we should be embracing it. Repetitive tasks and questions can be dealt with much better and quicker using AI technology than done by humans, this means work becomes more fun, customers and better experiences and companies would get an ROI and reduce operating costs.

Thinking about what it would mean for me as a customer, I realize that in many occasions AI would certainly save me some angry tweets every now and then. I would no longer have to shout, “I want to talk to a human being” to the Vodafone IVR, for example. And, as I learnt on the CRM Evolution conference, AI is continuously developing more intelligence: AI is learning. It is evolving in such a way that the bots, robots etc. keep on learning, are even taught emotions, to show empathy even. The secret behind that all is the intelligent use of data of course.

Let´s go back to Organizational Alignment toward Customer Engagement. With AI, we´ll have to take care of another type of internal customer. You select and hire (acquire) it, it has it needs introduction (programming), it has educational needs, it comes with an operating cost, it delivers results, it has performance reviews, and it needs maintenance. Somebody or some department needs to take ownership. It learns through interaction, it usually has a name and a role profile, so it has an employee journey.

Should it be rewarded too? To what extend does it need motivation, and can it help motivate human talent? Can it have a role in taking the Customer Engagement strategy and vision forward? Can it help to making a Customer Centric Organization sustainable? Treating AI as another group of talent within the organization, would be exciting. It´s challenging, but around the corner.

However, I have a deeper and more fundamental worry when it comes to AI. My guess is that while AI takes care of the repetitive “chores” and customer interactions, not all employees are able to take on a more intelligently demanding role. Even if they would like to do a more complex role when bots take over their tasks, would they, with all the training and motivation we can think of, really be able to take on other tasks? And if indeed AI keeps on learning and improving, where will it end? To me, it´s all a bit too “Black Mirror-ish”, and its scares me a bit.

Imagine there were hardly any average or bad customer experiences because of AI. Imagine everything goes smoothly. Wouldn´t live be a bit boring? What would we talk about during the coffee break if it wasn´t for our bad customer experiences? Would AI come up to my room in the Marriot from the front-desk to tell me with a smile how my coffee-machine works? Would AI glow with pride because it tells me it made a great decision, and would this make me go all emotional? ¿Would AI tell me all about his home country Ethiopia while driving me to the airport?

These are some of the questions on AI that did not get attention in CRM Evolution, and I am, as you can read, left with a lot of questions. I would love to have a debate about this. Please feel free to join the discussion!

buljan and partners & brand loyalty

Bond Brand Loyalty and Buljan & Partners Form Strategic Alliance to Expand Global Presence and Deliver Transformative Customer Engagement Solutions

Partnership leverages global insights and local expertise to address changing needs of brands.

Bond Brand Loyalty, a leading customer engagement agency, and Madrid- and Munich-based Buljan & Partners, a customer-centric management, customer experience, and engagement consultancy, announce a strategic partnership.

Bond and Buljan are excited about pairing their global insights and extensive suite of services, accelerating each firm’s growth globally.

Through the combination of knowledge and regional expertise, the partnership will strengthen the market position for both organizations and increase the value to clientsentering and operating internationally.

Both organizations will gain a deepened knowledge base and invaluable global insights, services, and capabilities. Insights from combined studies include Buljan’s Automotive Customer Experience study, Bond’s annual Loyalty Report—the largest of its kind globally– along with a new Human Experience study that launched this year. Together, these assets are a powerhouse of comprehensive intelligence that inform client plans and decisions.

“North America is the most mature loyalty and customer experience market globally, and we look forward to combining Bond’s expertise, leadership, and reputation with our extensive customer-centricity frameworks and experience to bring increased value to our clients,” said Silvana Buljan, Founder and CEO, Buljan & Partners. “This allows us to help our clients differentiate their customers’ experience, and we’re excited to take the expertise that has served our clients so well in Europe to North America.”

“We continue to expand our global footprint through the growth of our team in the U.K. and strategic alliances with organizations such as Buljan–whose people become a natural extension of Bond,” said Bob Macdonald, President and CEO of Bond. “When in discussions with Buljan, we saw a partner that shared our philosophy to design, build, and operate customer and employee engagement solutions across human and digital channels in order to increase brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.”

With complementary competencies, both Bond and Buljan are poised to provide their respective clients with the depth of services that responds to the demands of global brands today and in the future.

About Bond Brand Loyalty

Bond Brand Loyalty is a global customer engagement agency that specializes in building brand loyalty for the world’s most influential and valuable brands. Our mission is to make marketing more rewarding for customers, richer and more resilient for brands, and to deliver profitable business outcomes for our clients. We build measurable, authentic, and long-lasting relationships through a combination of services that includes loyalty solutions, customer experience, marketing research, customer analytics, live brand experiences, and proprietary technology platforms.

About Buljan & Partners 

Buljan & Partners is an international consultancy that is passionate about customer and employee experience, customer engagement, and customer-centric management. We support our customers by applying a unique three-phase approach (START, CREATE, ENGAGE) that we consider the framework companies need to apply to position themselves as customer-centric. Our multicultural and multidisciplinary team accompanies our clients on their way to true Customer Orientation at all organizational and functional levels, considering each project a unique challenge. Buljan & Partners methodology has been evolving over the past 15 years, making companies a better place for customers and employees.

car client premium

Automotive | Customer Experience

Our client is a premium vehicle manufacturer and is amongst the top three brands worldwide. Its distribution model is through a network of dealers that are the main point of contact with the end customer. Read more

retail company

Retail | Customer Experience

The client is a 100 year old company and world leader selling branded luxury products (watches and jewellery). It has a retail distribution channel with 35 stores worldwide. Read more

industrial company category

Industrial | Customer Experience

The client is an industrial company with a 90-year history and is currently a world leader in its product category. It generates indirect sales through a network of highly qualified distributors. Read more

financial services 3 cases

Financial services (3 cases) | Customer Experience

Case 1

Our client offers credit financing for retail customers. It has two types of client: a) partners that offer our client’s financing to their own customers via the consumer products and services that they sell (for example, electronic devices, dental treatment…) and on the other hand there is financing for the end-user/ customer. Read more

air services company

Air Transport | Customer Experience

A company from the airline sector decided to carry out a customer-centric cultural transformation that included the following elements Read more

funeral services

Funeral Services | Customer Experience

We started collaborating to improve the experience of people who have lost a loved-one by encouraging the funeral home to put the family at the centre of their service. Read more

insurance

Insurance | Customer Experience

The client is a company in the insurance sector undergoing structural and cultural change concerning the way it interacts with its customers. Read more

Healthcare | Customer Experience

 

The client is a large insurance company. They contacted us when they were going through internal changes and needed a Customer Experience specialist to help them understand their customers’ situation and how processes and systems were managed in their organisation with special emphasis on the department that had been created to manage customers. Read more

The Magic of customer Impact Management

Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting

Today the majority of businesses continue to be structured in a traditional manner, either through an organizational chart or a mixed approach (a combination of conventional methods and project management). On the other hand, although businesses are starting to enter the digital era, they are still very much in the process of adapting. As a result of this situation, there is a huge amount of confusion between different departments and project teams over who is the customer ‘owner’. Read more

THE VULNERABLE CUSTOMER

Written by Lisa Rottmann for Buljan & Partners Consulting

In this blog you’ll find ideas, support and references for exceeding your client’s expectations and consistently improving their experience. But what happens when customer experience theories fail? when the customer does not choose you? does not buy your products or services or simply doesn’t take them seriously? How can we exceed their expectations if they have a negative predisposition towards us and, due the pressure, they’re just not themselves? Read more

Managing emotions in stressful situation for clients

Written by Miguel Sanz for Buljan & Partners Consulting

The words “managing customers’ emotions” are tremendously attractive to companies and there is no doubt that they are key to establishing an emotional bond with customers. Read more

A human look at a digital future

Written by Elisabete Zubiarrain for Buljan & Partners Consulting

At the start of July, I attended the 20:20_CX Summit in London, an event dedicated to Customer Experience, participating in which were a range of very interesting speakers who looked at CX from numerous different angles. Events kicked off with a look at companies’ customer focus, moving on to how to effectively manage a company obsessed with the customer or go about laying solid foundations for a company to execute a CX strategy. All of this was done keeping in mind employees’ commitment to their company and that of their company’s toward them, with a major focus on obtaining and measuring the ROI of the initiative or investment in question, as well as the implementation and consolidation of a CX culture within a company.

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Visit to a touchpoint organization

Written by Raquel Calleja for Buljan & Partners Consulting

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Buljan & Partners Consulting and as part of the commemorative events we’ve arranged visits to some companies of reference in CX like Loewe and Inditex. But we also wanted to pay a visit to the company we’ve always dreamed of being: the one that abandons the traditional silo structure and evolves for the good of its customers into a company organized around Customer Journey. Read more

Apple, the best customer experience?

Written by Luis Hergueta for Buljan & Partners Consulting

In my opinion, it is difficult to find a remarkable customer experience in product centric sectors. There are some automotive companies with a genuine interest in customers’ concerns, which want to take the basic standards and processes to the next level, and which really care about customers’ needs and concerns. Read more