Q&A with Paige Twillmann, Global Solution Lead of AI & Bots at LivePerson
We sat down with Paige Twillmann of LivePerson to discuss major trends in the bot/AI industry and tips for bot developers.
By Paige Twillmann
April 2, 2019
Q: What are some major trends you predict we will see in the bot/AI industry in the next few years?
A: I anticipate there will be a massive uptake in chatbots and virtual agent in the next year. About 18 months ago (July 2017) we launched the first virtual agent on the LiveEngage messaging platform. Today, 54% of conversations on our messaging platform include chatbot or virtual agent involvement. This is staggering growth, and we anticipate this will continue to see rapid growth.
Q: What do you think is the biggest obstacle bot developers face when trying to create a conversational bot?
A: Creating a conversational AI experience is hard -- and it only takes one negative experience to risk losing a customer for good, whether that be by virtual or human agent. It’s critical that the bot be successful and solve the customer’s issue - or escalate to a person.
Q: Why are chatbots the best way to engage consumers, over, say, a human representative?
A: Chatbots aren’t ‘better’ than human agents, rather we firmly believe that human agents should be involved throughout the chatbot development, deployment and optimization process. Chatbots allow agents to focus on higher priority conversations with consumers, while automation can handle the mundane tasks (like password reset, or order status inquiries). Chatbots allow for growth opportunities in the contact center for agents. We’re seeing brands upskill their agents into roles like bot managers and conversational designers -- there is no better person who knows how to write for a chatbot than the agents who handle customer inquiries day in day out.
Q: How can a company use a bot to help convert a customer from browsing to buying?
A: Chatbots are being leveraged in interesting outbound, upsell use cases. Retailers are experimenting with use cases like out of stock notifications or one-time promotion codes. Running these chatbot-powered notifications through a conversational messaging platform has proven to drive better results than via email, for example. One quick-service-restaurant notifies customers conversationally with promo codes to reorder a customers favorite dish and are seeing conversion rates in the 70% range.
Q: What is the number one tip that you would give to a beginning bot developer?
A: Start with the intent. There are only about 40-60 given intents that consumers will come to a brand to inquire about. If you can leverage low hanging fruit use cases to automate basic, process driven intents, then you can drive a lot of efficiency in your contact center. Once live -- iterate, iterate, iterate! You will learn more in the first 90 minutes a bot is live than in the 3 months it may have taken to develop.