“T-Mobile literally pulled the hold technology out,” says LivePerson CEO Robert Locascio. “Millions of customer at T-Mobile don’t have to be put on hold. There’s no press one or press two. They go straight to a person. You are messaging them. You are doing what’s natural to you. That’s really what we see as changing the game. We made a big pivot two years ago and launched a whole new platform. There’s a bigger future in bots and AI than there was in chat.”
Robert Locascio, CEO of LivePerson, discusses how AI-powered conversational bots are being deployed and literally “changing the game” for customers of thousands of businesses using their Maven technology in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:
AI-Powered Conversational Bots Are Changing the Game
We made a big pivot two years ago and launched a whole new platform and I said, “There’s a bigger future in bots and AI than there was in chat that I invented many years ago.” We went for it and as you can see the performance has been really great. I brought Alex Spinelli in about a year ago and he was running the core development team for Alexa. We brought in a lot of people from that group. The difference between us and Alexa is that we have thousands of brands (for our team) to work on. The Delta’s of the world and the T-Mobile’s of the world, instead of just one brand with Amazon.
We do human interactions also, but we know a lot of those interactions can be automated. Just look at Delta. In a couple of weeks, instead of your flights late and you make a call on the phone and get put on hold, you are going to be able to message a contact center and talk to a bot in real-time to get what you want and change your flight. All of that will happen without you being on hold. That’s really why these brands are gravitating toward us. We are messaging with our friends and family. We are not calling people anymore. So why call a brand?
T-Mobile literally pulled the hold technology out. Millions of customer at T-Mobile don’t have to be put on hold. There’s no press one or press two. They go straight to a person. You are messaging them. You are doing what’s natural to you. That’s really what we see as changing the game. Right now, Apple just opened up iMessages to businesses. Every business in the world is going to have to be on iMessage through our platform. Facebook Messenger too.
Maven, LivePerson’s Conversational Engine
We now have this thing called Brew to You, where right from your seat (in a stadium) you can have a bear and a hot dog delivered to you. But now we have something really cool which is out of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. There is a bot called Rose when you check in. She tells you everything about the hotel. She can help you cut the line at Marquee which is their cool club. This is all about people engaging with the brand and talking to this bot that’s just there for you. And after people leave the hotel they keep talking to Rose!
What we are finding is that we take our technology which is called Maven, we enable the contact center reps to create the bots, deploy them, and own the bots. For example, we have a contact center down in the Dominican Republic and there’s a woman there named Laura that created a bot for GrillMaster, which is one of our customers. They deployed it and sold millions of dollars worth of grills. She was empowered to basically create that bot, deploy it, and change her life. She doubled her salary. That’s the power of this thing.
AI Has Got to be Democratized
EqualAI is a nonprofit we set up a couple of months ago. I started to realize that AI has got to be out there in the hands of many. It’s got to be democratized. It can’t just be with the big tech companies. What we want to do is take all the technology that we have (and make it available). It started with watching my two-year-old watching me command Alexa. Alexa turn on the lights. Alexa play music. She’s seen me command this AI and it’s a woman’s voice. I think what we are seeing now is that children are being affected by this. They are going to school, making demands, and following this.
We have to change the way that we deploy AI and how we manage it. I wanted to bring the best practices into a nonprofit. We now have other people and brands who are joining us and taking part in this. One of the best practices that we are looking at is why do we have a woman’s voice with Alexa? It could be any voice. It could be a man. We have to think about these things before we deploy them to millions of people and we affect their lives.