#46 – Artificial Intelligence and CX, sponsorship for your work, Micro Focus, Barclays, record book sales


Welcome to the 46th edition of my customer strategy newsletter. The five topics this week are:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Customer Experience
  2. Preserving customer experience work in times of cost reduction
  3. Latest blog posts
  4. Notable items from other sites – Micro Focus NPS, Barclays’ CX journey
  5. Looking forward
Artificial Intelligence and Customer Experience

As mentioned last week, I was the MC for a webinar about AI and CX on Tuesday. I think it went well, though I am not very objective, of course. The people providing most of the content were Dr. Alyona Medelyan, CEO of Thematic software (www.getthematic.com) and Nick Stroud, Director of Brand Loyalty at ManpowerGroup.

We started with a refresher about what Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning are, and the role of Natural Language Processing in each. We covered a number of AI examples, including how ManpowerGroup is using Chatbots in customer experience.

Alyona covered the latest relevant developments in AI, focusing on a concept that was new to me: ‘Prescriptive Analytics’. This means analytics that not alone tell you what is going on, but also provide information on what you should do about it. Nick showed how ManpowerGroup has put this into action with their two main groups of customers.

I found it all to be quite insightful, and I learned some new things, including how the Chinese equivalent of Uber has found ways to improve customer experience for people who are still in the car.

See what you think. You can access the replay by filling out the form here.

Alyona mentioned Big Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess. This reminded my of my brother’s drawing below. (You can see lots of his drawings in our book “So Happy Here” on Amazon. And yes, he has a rather absurd sense of humor.)

Preserving customer experience work when cost cuts have to happen

Earlier this week, I spoke to a very experienced Customer Succcess team leader that I had not met before. She told me a pretty sad story that took place a couple of years ago. Her very large employer had a Customer Success team of over 50 people. A new manager came in two layers above hers, around the time the corporation needed to reduce costs. The person did not understand what the team did, and completely eliminated it. After discovering the problems that caused, the company had to rebuild a new team from scratch about a year later.

This reminded me of the key actions customer experience leaders need to take on an ongoing basis to ensure that they have good sponsorship for their work, through good times and bad: 

  1. Make sure senior leaders talk about your work. If they are not already doing so, supply them the necessary material. If someone else writes their all-employee messages and prepares their presentations, meet with that person and provide them with the necessary compelling collateral. They want to talk about customers, so will welcome it.
  2. Ensure that the names of your teams and projects are clear, and reflect what the work is.
  3. Deliver something every two or three months that is clearly worth the effort and investment.
  4. Ensure you are able to communicate your work clearly, both internally and externally.

I just call these ‘The four rules of sponsorship’, and have written about them extensively in our books and elsewhere.

Our latest blog posts

Here are the latest posts. The first two are in a series of three about types of teams you may want to implement if you are designing a new customer experience strategy for your company. Older posts are still available on the blog page.

image Customer Advisory Boards – One of four types of team you may want to implement

Following on last week’s article about Customer Success teams, here are a few words about Customer Advisory Boards. I provide various hopefully-useful suggestions, including that you must remember who is supposed to be doing the advising…

image Customer Success Team – First of four types of team you may want to implement

There are four types of teams you may want to implement to improve customer experience. I will cover the the membership and work of each in three blog posts. The mission of Customer Success teams is to ensure customer get the ROI they expect from their investments.

image The Net Promoter System® is defined and documented in one single way – Everything else is fake news

I have been trying to work out why most Net Promoter System implementation I see are missing even some basic things. The root cause, I believe, is lack of common understanding about the reference source of information about what the system actually is…

Notable customer experience items from other sites

NPSbenchmarks.com – Micro Focus and NPS

Micro Focus gained its initial success by producing a version of COBOL for the PC. I believe COBOL is still the most common programming language used on mainframes in large banks. COBOL programmers tend to be even older than me, so there will be a problem at some point. More recently, Micro Focus acquired the software division on Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where I used to work until retiring two years ago. In this interview, Cvetilena Gocheva talks to Dr. James Borderick, who leads customer research at Micro Focus. He descibes how they have implemented NPS and makes some valuable points about the importance of talking to Passives. You can read it here.

NPSbenchmarks.com – Barclays Bank

I promise this is just a coincidence. Both articles I found interesting this week are on the same website. I have no commercial relationship whatsoever with the site, or its owner, CustomerGauge.  In this article, Sarah Frasier discusses Barclays’ approach to improving customer experience. She explains the interesting relationship between their customer experience and financial goals, and you will see a photo of one of their customer interactions on a smartphone. Read it here.

Looking forward

As forecast last week, January has been a record month for our book sales, by a considerable margin. This applies to all three categories: Kindle, print, and the page reads in the Kindle Unlimited / Kindle Online Lending Library services. Thank you! And we would of course appreciate you writing a review on Amazon, no matter what you think of the books.

Here are links to the books on Amazon.com.

Customer Experience Strategy – Design & Implementation

Net Promoter – Implement the System

Customer-centric Cost Reduction

“So Happy Here”: The Absurdist but Essential Guide to Better Business (Color edition)

“So Happy Here”: The Absurdist but Essential Guide to Better Business (Black & White edition)

Other than that, I realize many companies have cost reduction objectives, and that I have not written enough about ‘customer-centric cost reduction’ recently. I will work on that.

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You can also email me, Maurice FitzGerald, at mfg@customerstrategy.net.

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