CRM: Custobot Relationship Management

Dateline: Woking, 12th December 2023.I was interested to see that Gartner’s top ten strategic technology trends for 2024 include the arrival of machine customers (what they call ‘custobots’ but what I call “economic avatars”, a term originated by Jaron Lanier). These are the smart, non-human actors that can autonomously negotiate and purchase goods and services in exchange for payment. Gartner think that in five years there will be 15 billion connected products with the potential to behave as customers, with billions more to follow in the coming years. This all sounds a bit hyperbolic, but the fact is I think that Gartner might be right. The arrival of robot customers could be the source of trillions in revenues in that relatively short timescale and turn bot-to-bot commerce into something more important that e-commerce itself.ShareSend Your Bot to the BankI recently published a paper about this with my good friend Kirsty Rutter from Lloyds Banking Group in the Journal of Digital Banking 8(2), p.132-140. In our paper Where are the customers’ bots? The AI paradigm shift in retail banking, we point out that financial institutions are already using artificial intelligence (AI) and that robo-advisors, chatbots and ‘copbots’ auto-detecting fraudulent transactions are increasingly common. These uses are undoubtedly valuable, but the business model is still the consumers being sold a financial product by a bank, whether by a call centre agent or a robot that impersonates a mortgage vendor.The big change in financial services will come when customers use AI to assess offers from…CRM: Custobot Relationship Management