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Sparking AI innovations for customer communications

Q&A with CEO, John Sabino

Mike Tague

April 18, 20245 minutes

Q & A illustration for the LivePerson CEO interview on recent AI innovations across diverse sectors

With a groundbreaking Spark product launch event coming up and some inspiring awards and recognitions earned over the past few months, it’s an exciting time for the LivePerson team! With the last quarter in the rearview mirror, we thought it would be a good time to check in with our CEO John Sabino — who just so happens to have closed out his first quarter with the company after joining in January. While the main topic of our discussion was how LivePerson is keeping up the drumbeat of AI innovations, we also covered everything from challenging the status quo of today’s contact centers’ customer communications to highlighting some of our incredible clients. You can check out our discussion below.

Fast Company recently named LivePerson to its Applied AI list, which honors companies “embracing AI to reinvent how business is done.” How is LivePerson helping enterprise brands apply AI in the real world to generate real results?

First off, I just want to say how proud I am of the LivePerson team for accomplishing this. It’s great to be ranked up there with organizations like Google DeepMind and Johns Hopkins University’s physics lab that are using artificial intelligence to solve the world’s biggest problems. 

This kind of recognition only comes about when you spend a lot of time in the trenches, and for us, that means getting in deep with our customers and listening to their problems so we can build solutions that have a real impact. So to answer your question, our AI systems help enterprises forge better connections with consumers in the medium we all use every day: digital conversations

It’s a tough challenge to transform a business around digital conversations, especially if you’re in a regulated industry like banking or healthcare, but we’ve been doing this for a long time. Almost three decades after inventing the industry, it’s inspiring to know that LivePerson is still considered one of the most innovative companies in the world. That being said, we know we still have a lot of work to do to keep the momentum going, and we’re always striving to improve how we support our enterprise customers.

What has you excited about the ways in which LivePerson customers are leveraging our AI innovations and solutions in their customer communication strategy? Can you provide some examples of the impact they’ve seen to date?

We see our solutions applied in all kinds of ways. It’s actually quite inspiring to see how our team works with different brands to tailor them for their unique needs. For example, some of our brands have actually turned off voice channels, moving completely to digital customer conversations. This has led to impressive results, including up to 35% increases in efficiency.

On the other side of the spectrum, we work with a financial brand in the UK that can now keep its physical branches open because they’ve essentially turned them into contact centers — ones where in-person service and digital customer interactions are served up by the same talented customer service team. It’s great to see our tech power these local connections and community relationships.

Then we have clients like Mouser Electronics using AI to open their arms to all their customers, with bots that support 13 different languages. And at The RealReal, they’re using our AI tools to ensure their customers receive luxury-level experiences. There’s just incredible innovation across all of these brands and industries, manifesting in totally different ways.

It feels like everything is “AI-powered” these days. What are some “green flags” brands should look for in an AI technology provider?

This is a good question, especially in light of the post-ChatGPT race to call everything “AI.” In general, you want to know that a provider has thought long and hard about how AI actually applies to your business — and how it can improve efficiency, customer satisfaction, and your business operations over time.

We think about this in terms of our Conversational Flywheel™, which clearly lays out a four-step process for digital transformation and continuous improvement.

  • Step 1: Understand your customers better by deeply analyzing what they’re saying across voice and messaging transcripts.
  • Step 2: Connect channels across voice and messaging and back-end systems like CRMs and CDPs.
  • Step 3: Assist agents and boost productivity with generative AI. If you start your AI journey with tools that are agent-facing, that means you still have human guardrails before you actually put anything in front of customers.
  • Step 4: Take the leap to truly Automate conversations between your business and your customers.

You then use your conversation data from all of the above to begin the flywheel again. 

If you are dealing with an AI vendor that has no vision for applying AI, only offers a point-solution, or claims to be one-size-fits-all, you’re not going to get the true ROI of AI.

Next month, LivePerson will host our bi-annual product launch event, Spark. What can LivePerson clients and partners expect from this event? What are you most excited about?

The theme of our upcoming Spark event is “Connect,” the second phase of our Conversational Flywheel, which focuses on the channels and integrations that enterprises should use to build better connections with their customers. While I don’t want to give too much away, we’ll be introducing some exciting new products focused on Conversation Orchestration and Voice-to-Digital Transformation.

We’ve seen that, while enterprises across the world are investing in AI to hold better conversations with customers throughout the customer journey, each has its own unique set of needs and priorities. This has led to diverse approaches, including working with major tech vendors, partnering with AI-specific companies, or even creating LLMs in-house. At the same time, enterprises need to connect AI to other back-end systems to ensure it functions correctly — all while their consumer and contextual data and signals are scattered across multiple platforms.

At Spark, we’ll share how to bring all of this together through Conversation Orchestration and Voice-to-Digital Transformation. You can also expect masterclasses and demos from LivePerson experts, plus presentations from our amazing partners and customers (including brands like Spotify and GoDaddy) about how they’re working with us on the next generation of digital customer conversations.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with our incredible customers in person — and interacting with those of you who join our virtual Spark product launch event online.

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