To confirm where you are meeting a friend, or to check in on how your mother is feeling, what do you do? You text. LivePerson believes you should be able to communicate with brands as easily as you do friends and family. Their AI-enabled conversational platform makes it possible for consumers to ask questions and buy products in familiar messaging channels, including SMS, Apple Business Chat, and WhatsApp, and on brands’ websites and apps.
“This is the kind of innovation that makes you stop and think: ‘Why hasn’t anyone done this yet?’ The thing is, it’s hard to go conversational,” explains LivePerson Founder and CEO Robert LoCascio.
It is hard because becoming conversational means making a pivot to manage real conversations, at scale, across various channels. LivePerson’s AI expertise and 20-year history of business and consumer transformation makes it uniquely suited to tackle the challenge. Its solutions make it possible—even simple—for consumers to add brands to their contact lists, right alongside family and friends.
A history of conversational transformation
LivePerson’s AI-enabled conversational platform earns it a spot on Fast Company “Most Innovative Companies” list; but it isn’t its first time reimaging consumer communication technology. LoCascio invented Live Chat in 1995, after a frustrating experience buying a laptop online. No one responded to the questions he had emailed, and it took forever to get answers on the phone. “I thought, why can’t I just open a chat window and ask a question? That’s when I invented webchat for brands.”
Texting and messaging are the natural next step in consumer communication, he explains. People are already comfortable with it, and LivePerson has the conversational AI expertise to help brands use it, too. The concept is compelling, but it is not easy to take on technology incumbents—those companies invested in the status quo. You need to be fearless about disruption, says LoCascio, and willing to knock on the doors of big brands with confidence in your solutions.
Mutual benefits, inevitable transformation
Fortunately, the benefits to both consumers and brands make for a persuasive sales pitch. People get the convenience of messaging on their own time, on their channel of choice. Brands gain an opportunity to build deeper customer relationships—relationships they own, so they don’t have to worry about reacquiring a customer, as they do in search and social. LoCascio believes AI will also transform the jobs of customer service teams, because they can use LivePerson tools to create and optimize bots, without any knowledge of coding. Machines will handle mundane questions, and they will have time for more interesting conversations and projects.
“Going conversational” has ramifications beyond customer contact centers, adds LoCascio. He sees it as a strategic play—something brands must do to keep up with consumer preferences. “Those who implement a conversational strategy will thrive; those who don’t will fall behind. The shift we’re seeing is that big,” he cautions.
Today, LivePerson works with 18,000 companies, from big brands to small businesses. LoCascio thinks it is just a matter of time before other brands make the “inevitable shift.”