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How to attract customers in a world of AI, bots and automation

I was excited to read Professor Steven Van Belleghem’s latest book ‘Customers The Day After Tomorrow’ (Lannoo Campus, 2017) because it is so of the moment. Tackling topics around the shift from a mobile to artificial intelligence (AI) world, it doesn’t disappoint.

I need to start with practicalities. There is an augmented reality (AR) component to the book that is introduced at the start. The author suggests you¬†download a free app (he calls it Aurasma, but in the app store it is now called HP Reveal). And on several pages you will see a symbol that indicates an AR enhancement. Unfortunately, I¬†couldn’t get it to work properly, but admittedly, I have an extraordinarily low tolerance for technology ‘enhancements’. I have zero interest in fiddling with something to get it to work. So I didn’t. Which means I can’t tell you if the AR component ads anything to the reading experience.

What I can tell you, though, is that this book is filled with super insightful information and stories. It is written in a really accessible way, and only addresses technology with real-life applications. I found myself making copious notes and wondering how I could apply some of this thinking in my own businesses. Bellegham doesn’t waste space justifying why the customer experience has become a top priority in the boardroom. He expects his readers to understand the social-driven context in which businesses operate today. And I found that really refreshing. As a result, everything you read in this book is likely to push your knowledge forward.

I was fascinated to read how big companies are embracing this massive digital shift from mobile to AI, and driving innovative thinking within their own businesses. One example he gives is about airline holding company International Airlines Group holding eight-week-long programmes for senior executives where they are thrust into an ‘innovation pressure cooker’. The idea is that by being bombarded with disruptive concepts, ideas and experiences, their own minds are free to push the boundaries of their thinking. And they come out of the process having developed ideas for truly game-changing innovations.

Don’t be put off by the fact that this book is slightly unconventional in its look and feel (I had to call the publicist to make sure it wasn’t filled with sponsored content – it’s not). It is filled with bright coloured images and logos more reminiscent of a brochure than a business book – but try to see through that. The content is robust and fresh. Reading this book will undoubtedly make you smarter.

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