Building meaningful customer relationships means understanding the processes behind your interactions with them.
“It's so important to understand those processes that make customer agents effective, help reduce the level of effort for a customer to get what they want," said Ryan Saunders, Global ISV Alliances Director at LivePerson, during an interview at Celosphere 2022. “And ultimately, that really builds a relationship.”
Saunders joined Vivienne van Gestel-Becker, Director of Technology Partnerships at Celonis, and Acceleration Economy Network analyst Tom Smith on the Celosphere News Desk to discuss the Celonis partnership with LivePerson and how the companies help brands deliver better customer service by combining LivePerson technology and process insights from Celonis.
The following is a transcript of the interview, edited for readability.
Tom Smith: To start things out, Vivienne, from the Celonis perspective, can you talk a little bit about the partnership with LivePerson, why it's important, benefits for customers?
Vivienne van Gestel-Becker: I'm responsible for some of our technology partnerships. So I think the unique thing that I want to convey to customers there is that as the Execution Management System evolves, we're looking to expand our product capabilities by joining forces and collaborating with some of the coolest tech companies out there. And really offer a new perspective and new use cases to maximize the value that customers get out of using the EMS.
Tom Smith: I'm really eager to hear more about the use cases with LivePerson. But Ryan, before we get into that, first time at Celosphere, I take it. What's your impression?
Ryan Saunders: First off, a beautiful host city. Fantastic time in the city, beautiful venue here too. And just, it's been so inspiring to be around all of this energy at the event. Everybody is looking at ways to maximize. The conversations, they're intense. You can see some passionate people out there that really believe in Celonis, what it does now, what it's going to be. And they can't wait to bring that back to the organization. So I just think the venue has really inspired a lot of interesting conversations, interesting engagements, and I cannot thank Celonis enough for the work you've put together to make this happen.
Tom Smith: To help the audience understand a little bit more about LivePerson, Vivienne mentioned different use cases. Where do you fit in there? What would a use case look like? But put that in the context of what LivePerson does.
Ryan Saunders: I think it also helps us set a little bit of understanding of who LivePerson is and our history. We've really always been on the bleeding edge of enabling brands to build a relationship with a customer. And that started with the founding of our company when our founder and CEO invented web chat, and brought web chat to websites, giving customers the ability to ask questions as they go along these digital journeys. What that has changed, too, for us is also recognizing, again, being on the bleeding edge, that customers have moved mobile, they communicate with friends and family through iMessage, through Google Business Messages and WhatsApp.
And it's a tremendous opportunity for a brand to become a contact in a customer's phone. So we allow customer brands to do that as well. And then part of that has always been doing this at scale. Because we're talking about building a relationship, allowing the customer to control the time and tempo. And with building at scale AI becomes so important. And for us, it's so important to understand those processes that make customer agents effective, help reduce the level of effort for a customer to get what they want, communicate what we want. And ultimately, that really builds a relationship.
So marrying the two together has been very, very impactful. And looking at the way brands are looking at using this customer information to do that.
Tom Smith: And given all the things that we've experienced the last couple years with COVID, all the work-from-home trends and hybrid work and all of that, how does LivePerson help customers in that context?
Ryan Saunders: Yeah, and I think it's very important how we work together, too, in that context. So we also run voice analytics, we ingest a lot of data from how customers are communicating on the phone into the Contact Center. And that Contact Center relationship is very transactional.
And if we can learn from that data, we can make recommendations for conversations flow that maybe are better suited for messaging. And we saw one brand, even during COVID, one of our large banks out of North America, when you went to their website, there was no phone number anymore. It was a "Scan a QR code to start a messaging conversation."
And so what that means is understanding what people communicate in voice, translating that into a messaging channel where they're authenticated and now they're building a relationship. Because they've now become a contact in their phone. And what's so important to us is to understand those processes, to do that effectively in the home environment. And what brands are looking at now, because we've enabled this work from home, we don't have to deal with the noise in the background or poor internet.
We're able to look at a new skill set set of agents. Gen Z coming into the workforce now, voice is not native to them. Communicating in these messaging asynchronous environments is very native to them. And these organizations that have adapted early are recognize a whole new talent pool to tap into now.
Tom Smith: Great. So tell us a little bit more about what a use case looks like where one of your customers is using the technology that you're talking about, but they're also a Celonis customer. What is the Celonis tie-in? What does Celonis bring to the table for one of your customers?
Ryan Saunders: And we see a lot about looking at those multiple integration points within a process with Celonis. What it means to us is as brands go along this maturity of a conversational roadmap, one of their key milestones is proactive engagement. Knowing what the customer's going to ask for-
Tom Smith: Reaching out to the customer?
Ryan Saunders: Reaching out, and we all get it today. We get, "Hey, your flight's changed, go to this website, change your flight. Your delivery is delayed. Go to this website." It's not “go to the website. It's knowing when to reach out and knowing a conversation flow to build a relationship and say, "There are alternatives for you." And I think that's what we do exceptionally well by understanding where there could be a fault, and what's the outreach based on who that customer is. And we see that translating into journeys within the telco ecosystem as well, even within the agent environment where those agents don't want to handle a lot of that mundane anymore. And when working together, analyzing voice, analyzing conversations, we can make conversation flows that are better suited before that agent comes in. That way, those agents can have those really compelling engagements.
Tom Smith: And it's not efficient for them to handle the mundane. Right? High-volume incoming calls, very simplistic questions. That's better handled with AI, where AI can answer those.
Ryan Saunders: And a hundred percent. And a lot of organizations have built these self-service tools, but customers don't find that because they just want to ask a question. They want the brand to be a friend in their phone. They can just say, "Hey, I have this question, can you give me an answer?" And now we can give those agents their time back to say, "Let's focus on what's more complex." And that's where a career path really changes for an agent to eventually maybe become conversational designers in a platform, marrying some of those processes they grab from Celonis, some the engagements that we have with the brand, and making recommendations for how our conversation flow should go.
Tom Smith: Wow.
Vivienne van Gestel-Becker: You say marrying those too, right? Because I feel like where Celonis historically has focused too much on that process aspect, more of a back office focus that we've had, your company focuses mostly on the front office in that center. And marrying these two areas really helps those contact centers to maximize... Another word that we've heard more today... Maximize that value and make a much larger impact. So you could save costs, but you could also simply provide a much better service. Because you're actually looking at, "Hey, what do we see that's not going ideal or as efficient as we would like it to be?" And then you steer that conversation from there onwards.
Tom Smith: So conversational designer, that's a new career path for a very young person. But that's fascinating to hear you put that concept out there. And it does seem like that's where things are going, with the availability of AI to apply technology to really mundane processes.
Ryan Saunders: Correct. Correct.
Tom Smith: So I'm curious with what we heard this morning from Alex Rinke and the Lufthansa and Mars, there was a lot of focus on Process Sphere. And as I understand it, that's the ability to look across processes, not just focus on a single one, but look more holistically at your business, where things might break down. Can you see applicability for your customers and the types of use cases that we're talking about in there?
Ryan Saunders: A hundred percent. Because while we will have a very strong mapping of processes with Celonis, you're going to get a lot of value and a lot of insight from your customers themselves. And it's always been a struggle to mine that data. The dependencies have always been on maybe an agent or the team to actually appropriately categorize that conversation. What we enable brands to do is take those voice, take those chat conversations, apply the correct disposition codes, recognize when multiple intents happen, and recognize when, "Hey, we actually had a conversation that started negative, ended positive."
The analytics will tell us that. What is the sentiment change? We can now look at a support use case that can drive a sales outcome or an upgrade outcome, because we know we have had a positive customer experience. How do we build that relationship even more? And what that full line process tells us is where can we maximize some of those back office systems to bring them up in front and center to an agent or the customer themselves, based on changing intents within a conversation flow? It's all about building that relationship, but correlating it to what's available with the resources in the organization itself.
Editor’s note: This video was originally published on Acceleration Economy, How the LivePerson and Celonis Partnership Benefits the Customer Journey.