How to make customer conversations more human

Conversational AI allows brands to connect with consumers in a more personal way on the messaging channels they use most


Promoted by LivePerson

Imagine a company that treats you like a valued friend. Instead of putting you on hold, they use the same messaging channels that you use every day. And instead of depersonalized interactions, they offer meaningful, emotionally rich conversations. Wouldn’t that be a more human way of engaging?

The answer, of course, is ‘yes’. But it’s hard for businesses to interact in a more human way when they’re dependent on call queueing systems, generic websites and robotic-sounding emails.

“Human beings are inherently social and share a need to connect, but the experiences we have with brands are becoming more and more faceless,” says Rob LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson. “Consumers are looking for deeper, more meaningful connections, so any brand that can provide them will differentiate themselves.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the best way to do that at scale – and shift from clicks and cookies to more natural-feeling conversations – is to introduce some automation. LivePerson’s AI-powered chatbots, for instance, work together with human experts to fulfil consumer intentions at scale. This helps create a direct link between companies and their customers, and results in a more human approach to doing business.

Thousands of companies around the world now use LivePerson’s technology to create these conversational relationships with consumers. It gives them the ability to tap into the convenience and comfort of the messaging channels consumers use to chat to their friends and family, such as SMS and WhatsApp. This quick, intuitive way of interacting can also be customised to suit the overall tone of the brand, or deployed through their own app or website.

What’s more, LivePerson’s tools allow companies to harness the asynchronous messaging we take for granted when we’re conversing with our friends and family. Put simply, this means you can easily start a conversation with a brand, put your phone down, and continue it later on right where you left off.

As LoCascio says, this means “putting consumers, not companies, in charge of conversations.” In fact, LivePerson’s Conversational AI is purpose-built for these kinds of customer interactions. “We’ve been laser-focused on understanding consumer intent and behaviours in the natural flow of conversations, and we have decades of conversational data underpinning our technology,” adds Joe Bradley, chief scientist at LivePerson.

Creating community

BELLA, a messaging-based challenger bank, exemplifies this approach to customer engagement. LivePerson, which works with some of the largest banks in the world, designed it to demonstrate a new kind of financial service – one built around the human qualities of love and empathy, and the immediacy and personalisation of cutting-edge AI.
The user-interface system is fully conversational, so there are no menus to navigate. Instead, users simply type in what they want to do and BELLA carries it out.

As with any bank, BELLA accounts check all of the standard boxes for safe and secure banking. But they also offer some unique experiences that aim to build a community, and then take care of that community’s financial wellbeing.

“For example, BELLA includes Karma accounts for random acts of kindness,” says LoCascio. “These ’pay-it-forward’ accounts let members set aside any amount at any given time to cover other members’ expenses, ranging from springing for a surprise treat when a member buys coffee, to a donation to someone you’ve never met who happens to be in need.”

BELLA also includes 24-hour messaging support with real people that get to know and care for the community. Members can message with the BELLA team anytime, anywhere, about everything from TV show recommendations to completing everyday tasks, or help planning for long-term goals.

Last but by no means least, BELLA features an algorithm that rewards members with random surprise cashback of between 5% to 200% when they use their BELLA debit card. It’s an important offering, as “rewarding members is at the heart of the BELLA DNA and creates the advocacy to build a community of members,” says LoCascio.

Building conversations

Conversational AI doesn’t only change things for consumers – it changes them for contact centre agents too. “Just a few years ago, everyone thought that bot builders needed to be highly technical, or even data scientists,” says Joe Bradley. “The reality is far different: contact centre agents, the people who know how to have productive, empathetic conversations, are the best people to design bots.”

The trick is to make it easy for them to do so through tools like LivePerson’s Conversation Builder. “When you take a low-to-no code approach and combine it with a point-and-click interface, you can help any contact centre agent become a bot manager or conversational designer,” LoCascio explains.

In other words, conversational AI isn’t removing jobs – it’s making them more rewarding. “It’s true that traditional contact centre jobs, where people pick up the phone or type responses to customers, will go away as automations increasingly take over these functions,” says LoCascio, “but the world is going to need many, many more bot builders and conversation designers.”

He points to the internet of things, or even the much-touted metaverse, as potential drivers of these new jobs. “Every brand with a product you interact with via a conversation, or a presence in the metaverse you talk to, will need people to design and optimise those interactions,” he says. “They will need to understand your language, your emotion, and even your personal language quirks to interact with you. That’s where contact centre agents come in, and being able to build these high-empathy, high-satisfaction experiences will be invaluable to their future careers.”

Ultimately, the combination of conversational AI and people power opens up new experiences for both consumers and call centre agents. It makes the former happier, as they’re no longer left on hold or forced to wait days for a response to an email; while the latter are able to develop more varied and fulfilling careers that align with the future of communication technology. In short, conversational AI simply makes life more human.

For more information, please visit liveperson.com/blog/the-customer-engagement-people-prefer


Promoted by LivePerson