Media & Entertainment

Here’s How We’ve Reinvented the Customer Experience

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Back in 2013, author Niraj Darwar pointed out in the Harvard Business Review that so-called “upstream” activities like building bigger factories and finding new, cheaper sources for raw materials ate up too much energy and resources of enterprises. While worth the effort, these activities can and always have been copied quite easily and rapidly.


Pleasing Customers Trumps Making More Products

Darwar pivoted from the upstream to the downstream and recommended that we ask the most important question: What else can we do for our customers?


Changing the question heralded in the era of marketing as strategy.

It’s very difficult to compete with a company that does everything really well for its customers. In fact, it’s near-impossible to copy an extraordinary customer experience.


Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit

And building a superior customer experience is getting easier every day with the rise of artificial intelligence and cognitive. That’s just one of many reasons I’m looking forward to attending the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit on Tuesday, May 9 in New York City. Steven Canepa, General Manager, Global Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment Industry, IBM, will be discussing with his guest, David Kline, CTO of Viacom, how augmented intelligence is transforming the User Experience. (Be sure to stay tuned to this Web site to read more about Mr. Canepa’s Variety keynote…)


Watson’s Limitless Possibilities

I had the pleasure of speaking with the Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Global Media & Entertainment industry, Peter Guglielmino, about IBM’s recently announced collaboration with We kept coming back to the virtually limitless possibilities Watson could bring to the collaboration as well as to a business that had a stake in both the IBM and ecosystems.

For example, a company could vastly improve the customer experience by processing call center data and video messages for sales insights. Watson’s tone analysis can tell the mood of a customer – another win for the CRM category. Mr. Guglielmino even mentioned the ability of Watson to translate if an employee doesn’t know the native language of a consumer. These aspects of an ideal customer experience are pretty difficult to copy without the right ecosystem in place.


There’s Only One Way to Go: Up

There’s plenty of room for improvement on customer experience. IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) recently published their 5th annual Customer Experience Index study which revealed that the average customer experience score was a weak 33 out of 100 and 39% of brands were classified as Falling Behind or Lagging Behind.  And brands scored even weaker on personalization- exactly the area that AI and analytics can help to improve.  Most troubling, brands’ customer experience scores are deteriorating as consumers change their expectations. The average CEI score dropped 7 points from the 2016 survey to the 2017 survey.


What to Do?

In this environment, brands that stand out in customer experience will gain customers and market share. Experts like Peter Guglielmino recommend that brands:

  • Realistically benchmark their current customer experience performance.
  • Develop and execute a strategy to fill gaps and address issues – starting with the low-hanging fruit.
  • Build a long-term roadmap to incorporate artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities like Watson into their customer experience transformation – to continuously learn and improve performance.


Mr. Bontempo is Director, Marketing & Communications, U.S. Communications & CSI Market and Security, North America.

Director, Marketing & Communications

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