Flavian Cristea (Grapefruit): “We have always been trying to be pioneers in our activity field”

Recently, the digital consultancy and  user experience agency Grapefruit launched Picard, a very useful and unique tool on the local digital market of generating leads, an alternative to the classic forms, making the transition towards the chatbot type conversations. AdHugger talked with Flavian Cristea, Digital Strategist Grapefruit, and found out more about the process behind the product and also got several insights on the chatbot industry. 

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AdHugger: How hard was to create Picard?

Flavian Cristea: The hardest part until now was validating the product. It took us around 2 years of research and
meeting with potential clients to define a valuable product in which they would invest. We had a lot of ideas at the beginning but now the real test is when you put them on the market and start to get feedback.

AdHugger: What were the criteria for choosing the name?

Flavian Cristea: We wanted to have a name that was easy to remember, unique and easy to pronounce. We
experimented with various variants but we arrived at this name in the end.

AdHugger: Whom is your main target public and how will you reach him?

Flavian Cristea: Our main target, for the moment, is multinationals that have a culture of innovation and customer
engagement. It’s very important for us to have clients that understand technology and are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to offering their clients an amazing digital experience.

AdHugger: How is Picard working exactly?

Flavian Cristea: Picard starts from a series of business flows (ex: applying for a credit loan, reserving a test drive or entering a contest promotion), defined by us for the clients. On top of these flows the conversations are generated (looking similar to chatbot interactions) and then published on the client’s sites or other places where leads are collected. Then the leads are accessed using a private dashboard.

AdHugger: Why do you believe that you are the first local digital agency to launch such a project?

Flavian Cristea: We have been always trying to be pioneers in our activity field. We are sure, however, that many colleagues have internal projects that deserve to be revealed to the public. We encourage them because this is the only way we can grow together as a community.

AdHugger: How often will you update this version?

Flavian Cristea: The work on the product is continuous. We work agile and in sprints so the product is and will be
updated very often. We believe that a good product should evolve and improve over time.

AdHugger: What were the reactions so far?

Flavian Cristea: The main reaction, as we expected, is curiosity. It’s something new, innovative and it makes sense to have as many questions as possible. After the initial reaction passes, we go into detail regarding
implementation, customization and our experience and flexibility is well received and offers the potential customers a sense of security and assurance.

AdHugger: You’ve been working for 2 years on Picard. Did you expect since the beginning to take this time or things changes along the way?

Flavian Cristea: We knew from the start that it won’t be a piece of cake if we want it to do it the right way. Validating first was, and remains a right decision no matter the time invested.

AdHugger: Why is generating leads such a complicated situation nowadays?

Flavian Cristea: The demands of clients and consumers are ever increasing, because they are exposed to great
experiences in the digital area provided by companies at a global level. That’s why any misstep in the lead generation process is severely taxed by the user. Also, at the same time, the end-user is bombarded online with so many choices, and he has to take so many decisions, that he becomes impervious to more traditional lead generation strategies.

AdHugger: What are the international trends when it comes to chatbots?

Flavian Cristea: The main direction of the whole chatbot industry is maturity. Chatbots are no longer seen as
marketing gimmicks but as valuable solutions to automate and enhance customer experiences. Companies have experimented and successfully implemented this technology in fields such as banking, medical and travel for lead generation, customer service and more.

AdHugger: How is the Romanian marcomm market reacting to the chatbots’ revolution?

Flavian Cristea: When it comes to chatbots in Romania we see an organic growth and not a revolution. Change
comes from a sustained wish of offering a better experience for clients and consumers. We see experiments, pilot programs and the companies that already experimented with this technology in Romania are scaling it to offer it to all their end-users.

AdHugger: What do you see to be the next steps for Picard and the lead generation?

Flavian Cristea: In our roadmap, we plan to add features such as artificial intelligence and expand it to smaller
business. Until then though we want to be sure that we offer a qualitative and rewarding experience for bigger clients. We believe that working together with these type of clients we can discover new insights that we can then scale for more companies.

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