Consumers just can’t get enough of messaging. Don’t we all enjoy the convenience and empowerment of being able to get a response to our queries in a short time, especially when we are socially distanced during COVID-19? LivePerson is a company that aims to allow consumers to message with brands via its Conversational Cloud.
In our inaugural be in conversation featuring Bridge Alliance technology partners, Lim Wee Tee, LivePerson Area Vice President for Southeast Asia and Hong Kong shares with Ken Wee, our SVP Alliance Partnership & Innovation how companies are adopting conversational messaging to speak to their customers.
Wee Tee describes the use of Artificial Intelligence in enabling brands to deliver trusted conversations in a personalised fashion at scale. Over thousands of such dialogues, the relationship between a bot and a customer can become more meaningful and humanistic. Wee Tee also shares more about LivePerson’s first-of-its-kind compassionate banking platform BELLA, which delivers empathy and surprise and has built a sense of community among its users.
Ken: Why are companies adopting conversational messaging as a communication strategy with their customers over more traditional methods such as voice calls?
Wee Tee: Well, some of the reasons are actually very intuitive. As we know, the penetration of smartphones and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat have been significantly prevalent in the market.
Over the past twenty years, as operators, many consumers have also gotten used to SMS messaging and communication between friends and family and between colleagues. Right now, brands are leveraging this opportunity to also use this technology to deliver communication and conversation to millions of consumers out there.
From a consumer perspective, they love messaging for a couple of reasons. Number one, as I mentioned, they’ve already been doing this for the longest time, it’s easy, and it’s convenient. So for them, it’s about convenience and empowerment. As a consumer, anytime I want to pick up the phone and communicate with a brand, I can do that. If I’m busy, I can choose the right time to go back to them.
So, as we have seen time and time again, consumers just can’t get enough of messaging as opposed to some other traditional forms where they’ve got to wait on the call, wait over the phone, to be able to have a conversation with the brand.
Ken: How is AI—Artificial Intelligence—changing the way consumers buy products and services?
Wee Tee: Well, I must say it’s not only AI changing the way consumers buy products and services—it’s actually COVID plus AI that’s changing the way consumers are getting access to products and services.
Number one, we know for the past eighteen months, everybody’s been stuck at home, working from home, studying from home. As a result of this, the adoption of digital has significantly swung. A lot of brands are taking that further step to identify how AI can help them deliver trusted conversations in a very personalised fashion.
So one of the key areas is really to understand consumers’ intention and then be able to personalise conversations at scale over a couple of hundred thousand conversations per week or per month so that each conversation is meaningful to the consumer, each conversation delivers exactly what the consumer wants in a short period of time as possible, and to be able to leverage that analytics and AI to understand how consumers have taken to it.
So these are all applications that brands have done leveraging AI these past two years. Digital transformation is already here.
Ken: Where are these opportunities to take this a step further with AI?
Wee Tee: At LivePerson, we look at enabling massive number of conversations through this technology called automation. Some of your enterprises may know this as bots. But we take a very different view of bots. For us, bots is actually a ‘four-letter word’.
A lot of organisations have tried their hand, they have leveraged and they delivered bots, some to good success. But many have just gotten mediocre success out of it. At LivePerson, what we do is we endeavour to make the technology more and more humanistic over time. It’s not just a bot, that services you and tries to give you the right information. We are trying to enable brands to build a relationship, not just handle a one-off transaction. So what we are doing is leveraging AI and our conversational design expertise and experience to build humanistic features.
Give you a couple of examples. Number one, in this period, many people are experiencing tough times. We’re using this to build empathy into our conversations, so that as a brand you empathise with customers that are facing hardship, that will need certain relief so on and so forth. We’re also trying to build trust as well as surprise and delight, so that for customers you know that are well-engaged who are loyal, it’s about surprising customers.
And we have done this through a brand that we’ve called BELLA. We launched BELLA in late 2020 and to date, BELLA already has built a following of more than 40,000 users in America and Europe. BELLA is a bank, but a conversational bank that delivers empathy, delivers surprises, and is able to build that sense of community within consumers.
And with this we’ve actually seen significantly good ratings. People are actually wearing BELLA t-shirts, using BELLA mugs and so and so forth, so you know that there is starting to be a following. As you know, BELLA is a relatively young brand and for a relatively young brand to have consumers starting to make great posts out of it, we’re very proud of the AI that we are delivering, to build these type of human values into these conversations.
Ken: What kind of impact as a result can a business expect to see with the adoption of conversational AI technology?
Wee Tee: So we see conversational technology as being embedded in the entire consumer life cycle. All the way from discover, to decide, to purchase, as well as to care. And in each of these stages, we’ve seen actually remarkable results. For example, in the discover phase where consumers are discovering things through conversation as opposed to say a website.
We’ve actually seen about two times’ improvement in conversions. From a decide to purchase stage, we’ve actually seen sales cycles reduced by thirty percent.
From a care perspective, we’ve actually seen brands who are able to improve their net promoter scores by 20+ percentage points, if not more, across messaging channels. So we are actually very proud and very convinced that messaging is here to stay and we look forward to working with brands on their transformation strategy.