The Power of Artificial Intelligence | International Franchise Association

The Power of Artificial Intelligence




Applying new technologies such as chatbots and A.I. to your global operations.


By Rogelio Martinez, CFE


In the past five years, the global business community has witnessed an incredible avalanche of new technologies that are innovating on the way companies operate.  Terms such as chatbot, artificial intelligence and others are becoming part of our daily conversations. But how to profit from them? How do these technologies really work? In today’s hyper-techno world, it’s vital to explore new concepts and put them to work for system growth and expansion.


Artificial Intelligence


A.I. is a broad term. It uses technology based on predictive analytics, machine and “deep” learning, natural language processing and others. IBM’s Watson is, perhaps, the most well-known artificial intelligence engine applied to business purposes. The challenge with Watson for the majority of business leaders is that it is not quite clear how to profit from it. 


“Many customers won’t even notice they are actually talking to a computer.”


Another A.I. engine already available for businesses is called Einstein. Einstein is, pretty much, a “plug-and-play” solution that runs on customer relationship management software. Some of the benefits that Einstein and other A.I. solutions provide include:


• Lead scoring: Using predictive analytics based on a company’s own data, it can automatically rank how a new lead is likely to buy a company’s products, services or even its franchise concept. Franchise development teams are often tired of qualifying hundreds of leads from far away countries without prioritization tools. This technology automatically moves candidates with the highest conversion probability to the top of the pile.


• Predictive customer service: Based on past client behavior, A.I. can also anticipate if a specific client is likely to drop a company’s services or stop buying its products. It uses, for example, statistical information based on past complaints, number of cases opened by a single customer, resolution time and others to make predictions. This technology especially useful for franchisors that provide remote franchisee support to international locations. By having an understanding of potential loss of business before it happens, support agents can better coach franchisees on how to retain their customers and increase customer satisfaction.




Given that advance of processing capabilities, chatbots now have the ability to interpret natural speech and learn from human interactions over time. One of the first brands using Facebook messenger chatbot is Hyatt Hotels. The Hyatt bot can have real-time conversations, ensuring the best customer service possible. Another brand that is exemplary in the use of bots for customer service is Uber Technologies.



“In today’s hyper-techno world, it’s vital to explore new concepts and put them to work.”



Chatbots are also being used in sales. They can bond with humans, sometimes even better than humans. Based on the customer purchase patterns being analyzed in their neural networks, bots can make timely tailored recommendations and close a sale.


For franchisors looking to have around-the-clock customer service or sales representatives available to their online visitors, this is a must for global e-commerce strategies. Many customers won’t even notice they are actually talking to a computer.


Marketing automation


Have you ever subscribed to a hotel newsletter because you love their golf courses, but keep receiving information about planning your perfect wedding at their location in Costa Rica? Clients want to receive relevant, personalized content. There are several good options to achieve this objective, such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, SharpSpring, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Zoho.


One of the most complete, cost-effective and easy to use platforms for building a solid global marketing automation strategy is Pardot. With this technology, it is possible to plan and execute in autopilot a fully personalized journey based on individual client behavior and profile. It is a tool that looks like a flowchart. It integrates social media, email campaigns, landing pages, websites, GoToMeeting, EventBrite (event invites), chat, CRM, video, search engine optimization keyword monitoring, file downloads and more. It even automatically assigns leads to sales people when the client is ready and well informed about a company’s products, services or franchise offering.


“Is your company on the technological cutting edge?”


Marketing executives can tailor what the client will receive, when and how. This is pre-defined based on client interaction with a company’s digital assets and client profile. It sends the right message to the right person and at the right time.


Intelligent franchisee


Intelligent communities are fully customizable to fit each company’s needs. They help provide stellar customer service, accelerate sales channels, increase employee productivity and reduce support costs. 


There are two main types of communities: franchisee (or partner) and client. Let’s look at some of their attributes:


Self-serve knowledge base: It helps users easily search articles by keywords, tags, language or categories. Users can also rank how useful an article was in solving an issue, suggest new articles or edits.


User collaboration: An intelligent community allows for users to post questions and get help from other members of the community. Not only franchise support agents could moderate, vet or answer, but it is also possible to nominate community users, known as champions, to help moderating.


Case management: Customer service or franchisee support cases can be directly created from the community. Cases can also be escalated automatically, based on key words or wait times without an answer or resolution. 


Additionally, communities can also come with chatbots, franchisee CRMs, marketing fund dollars management, lead assignment, dashboards and reports, manage orders and many other functions.


What all this technology allows franchisors of all sizes to achieve is the ability to manage global operations from anywhere, around the clock. Is your company on the technological cutting edge?



Rogelio Martinez, CFE, is CEO of Fast Cloud Consulting. Find out more at