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What is conversational commerce

The shift from analog to digital is changing every aspect the way people communicate— from mall shopping to online shopping, hailing taxi cabs to Uber, and now phone calls to messaging. Over 90% of people’s day-to-day conversations happen in digital messaging channels like SMS, Facebook and WhatsApp. It’s the way people prefer to communicate with friends and family. With messaging as the channel of choice, businesses have started to connect to their consumers where they already are -through messaging.

The goal of conversational commerce is to create a convenient and personalized digital experience for consumers at scale — answering questions, providing information, and completing transactions directly in the messaging channels people already use everyday. Many of the world’s largest brands — Adobe, T-Mobile, Citibank, IBM, L’Oreal, Orange and The Home Depot — have embraced conversational commerce and are seeing incredible results: sales increasing by 4x, customer care costs decreasing by close to 50% and customer satisfaction peaking at 95%.

LivePerson’s conversational platform enables brands to message with their consumers on all of the most popular digital channels from a single place, and gives contact centers the administrative power and the automation capabilities needed to operate messaging at scale.

Conversational as the new competitive advantage

Today, customer care is quickly becoming the way brands want to differentiate themselves in the market. Consumers are already conversational, and brands benefit enormously by tapping into this opportunity and making it easy for consumers to communicate with them over messaging and from any device. In fact, Forrester predicted that by 2020, customer care will overtake product and price as the number one way for a business to differentiate itself.

Read Forrester report: Use Automation, AI and Chatbots to Improve Customer Engagements to see how AI, automation and chatbots help companies meet high consumer demands while gaining powerful insights on interactions.

Meet consumers needs through their entire journey

From the ability to market, discover and reach new audiences over messaging, to supporting loyalty, upselling and customer care, conversational commerce is crucial throughout the customer journey.

LivePerson’s conversational commerce platform smartly brings together the myriad consumer messaging endpoints (Facebook Messenger, Alexa, Apple Business Chat, Google RCS and more) backend systems, automations, and agents necessary to make customer care happen. It allows consumers to reach brands through messaging and combines human agents, bots and AI to automate day-to-day customer care operations and sales opportunities.

With this continuous customer journey, brands are able to give consumers hyper-personalized interactions using the data to know what consumers want and to predict what they need next.

Automation is the key to scalability

Messaging comes with a unique set of characteristics that make managing it innately different from managing session-based interactions entering contact centers, like voice or live chat. Messaging acts like an ongoing relationship, often with no defining endpoint to a conversation. It also makes brands super accessible, with an “always on” channel that requires brands to be able to scale to the influx of new conversations they will receive through messaging as they become more instantly accessible to people through any channel.

These characteristics raise fundamental questions to contact centers: How to scale without increasing staffing? When does a conversation officially end when a messaging conversation can pick up again at anytime? How do we make the most of agents’ time when conversation ebbs and flows as people are more or less available?

Most contact centers today are only equipped for chat-like interactions that are session based and have organized their operations and measurements around this model. In order to succeed with messaging, LivePerson has developed new tools and capabilities that focus on automation to scale conversations, leveraging machine learning and AI. Automation enables brands to adopt messaging and still run at massive scale, enabling radical productivity in the contact center by combining the power of machine learning and AI with the insight and experience of brand employees.

How our conversational platform works

Automation and AI underpins LivePerson’s conversational commerce. Bots and AI are at the forefront of messaging’s always-on experience and are supported by a unique mesh of humans and AI working together to build, manage and optimize conversational interactions at scale.

The crux of the LivePerson platform begins with the consumer endpoints on the far left and integrations to business systems and other technologies (Including third-party NLU engines) on the far right. LivePerson provides a comprehensive end-to-end conversational platform that includes the ability to: build bots, manage agents and conversations, analyze performance, and converse with consumers at scale using the AI engine – Maven.

These new powerful solutions can be leveraged on our open platform – that is NLU agnostic- keeping partners as an important part of the ecosystem. LivePerson’s AI-powered conversational commerce platform consists of:

1. Conversation Builder

Bot building interface

The Conversation Builder is a one-stop shop for bot building, offering a single place to build, test, and visualize chatbots. From creating intents and building dialogues, to back-end integrations that connect to all consumer messaging channels and everyday systems, like Salesforce.

The Conversation Builder has an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface that is not code based, so both technical and non-technical staff – often the people who understand the brand’s voice the most like agents, business users, and designers – can easily build bots. This drastically speeds up the development and optimization of bots. Additionally, it allows agents, developers, and business users to collaborate and perfect the bot’s functionality in the work environment, essentially serving as bot editors and managers.

Brands can leverage the Conversation Builder’s pre-built templates as automation accelerators, including:

  • Industry-specific templates for common workflows and verticals, such a retail, telecommunications and finance. These templates provide a starting point on which to build, customize and integrate with product, billing, CRM and other business systems.
  • Integration with product catalogues, order systems, knowledge bases, and more.
  • The option to leverage pre-existing automation and NLU investments.

2. Conversation Manager

Agent tools to manage conversations at scale

Offering an agent and manager workspace for contact centers to monitor and support messaging conversations, the Conversation Manager is the only platform that allows a bot and human agent to “tango” to manage the same conversation. Smart Capacity, Meaningful Connection Score (MCS), queue prioritization, and other proprietary LivePerson features, along with world-class routing, metrics and KPIs gives brands the power to manage messaging conversations at scale.

The Conversation Manager enables brands to connect to popular messaging services and voice assistants, along with a brand’s own apps, website, and phone systems. It also integrates the myriad backend systems necessary to fulfill customer intentions, like order status updates or reservation changes.

3. Conversation Intelligence

Real-time intent detection, analytics and reporting

Conversation Intelligence provides a set of dashboards and reporting with actionable intelligence. The Conversation Intelligence accesses intent-level data, allowing brands to understand the true voice of the customer — their direct discussions with a brand, spoken in their own natural language — in their reports.

4. Maven

The underlying AI engine

Maven is the continuously-learning AI engine that is behind LivePerson AI-based products. It is used to create, manage, and capture information from conversations with consumers. Maven understands the conversational intent and, based on deep-learning techniques, is able to self-discover the best methods to optimize interactions between brands and consumers.

Continuously learning from the agents interacting with it, Maven’s Recommended Actions capability looks at each conversational turn and recommends to the agent the next action for the best possible conversational outcome. By incorporating automations mid-conversation, Recommended Actions also frees up agent capacity to handle other messages, making agents significantly more efficient.