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Prediction Series: Interview with Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn

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TechBytes with Ryan Lester, Senior Director, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn

What is the most fascinating development you expect to happen in 2020? How is LogMeIn poised to deal with the future?

For me, 2020 will be “The Year of the (Employee) Golden Rule”.

2020 is the year companies need to start applying the golden rule of business to both the customer and employee experience.

When customer-facing employees are armed with the right tools they need to succeed and do their jobs effectively, it translates into a better experience for customers on the other side. This should be the year that companies invest in the employee experience with the same fervor as the customer experience to bring employee support out of the dark ages and leverage their best assets – their people – to deliver superior customer service.

What is the biggest challenge to successfully drive home results with Customer Experience (CX)?

In 2020, I see Security finally becoming a CX priority.

It’s time for CX leaders to stop looking at security as just an IT issue and make it a critical part of the overall customer experience purview in 2020.

The consequences of data breaches directly impact customer loyalty, and given what’s at stake, CX leaders will need to be invested in finding a solution to curtail the fallout and salvage customer confidence and trust. Taking a customer-centric approach to security will require a delicate balance between providing access to information and systems that enable agents to provide a great customer experience while still safeguarding customer data.

Do you think organizations are prepared to deal with Poor Data and its management? 

I think that Technology is made a scapegoat for many ‘Bad Data Decisions’.

In 2020, we’ll see organizations continue to focus on their tech decisions while the real issue – the data feeding those decisions – skates by. According to Gartner’s research, organizations believe that that poor-quality data translates into an average of $15 million per year in losses, but the typical reaction is not to fix or better understand the data but to blame technology. These mistakes won’t be rectified until the analytics gap is closed and we present data in an easily digestible “For Dummies” format.

Until then, the refrain remains, “stop blaming the tech and look at the data, dummy!”

We hear a lot about Voice AI cutting through adoption barriers and becoming mainstream in 2020. Do you agree with the prediction on Voice AI trends?

Well, Voice AI is passing through a unique phase in the industry, but not quite fast enough from being a hype to reality.

The truth is that Voice is far from where it needs to be before it’s a reliable AI-based engagement tool, and 2020 (disappointingly!) will not be the year we reach that destination.

Even some of the most advanced AI-based Voice solutions are only right for certain applications, struggle outside of controlled environments and must overcome a higher level, or perhaps deeper depth, uncanny valley factor that comes with speech-based human-machine interaction. Voice will get better, we will find the right applications to deploy it and we will get used to using it, but for 2020, it’s unready and narrow so don’t put all your eggs in that basket just yet.

So, you mean to say that single-purpose bots will go out of favor in the market? 

Yes, and it’s time we start saying “thank u, next” to single-purpose bots!!!

2020 will be the year that single-purpose bots may find themselves on the chopping block. Bots will be increasingly reviewed based on their performance and common metrics – in the same way, human agents are – and those that offer limited capabilities and can’t scale across different tasks and responsibilities will find their days numbered. Instead, intelligent, scalable and multifaceted bots will be ready to take their place as organizations look to further augment and compliment the agent experience.

What about the automation and customized bots that are used in the personalization journeys, like the ones used at LogMeIn?

I think Personalized bots have failed to go mainstream in delivering their CX potentials to the users.

Companies will continue to over-index on creating the idealized “avatar assistant” when in reality this level of personalized and contextual AI assistant is just not scalable yet – even for Google. In their quest to create the next Duplex, businesses will overlook the opportunity to use more “mainstream” assistants like notification or FAQ assistants to remove a lot of friction that exists today in the customer experience.

Given that most businesses have yet to even tap into, let alone master, a more basic level of AI assistant intelligence they may want to reconsider where they hedge their bets in 2020.

Mobile Application and its Marketing earned billions for the industry between 2011 and 2019. What is the next step in the growth cycle of Mobile Marketing Technologies? 

Yes, true. We are firmly poised to say “Hello to the Post-App World”. 

As Mobile technology is evolving, apps are losing their luster and becoming less of a channel for engagement. In 2020, a new standard for mobile native integration will emerge as brands opt instead to use platforms that already exist to create new digital experiences. In the post-app world, it’s all about understanding new interfaces, channels and user behaviors to reach customers where they are and make it easier for them to access the information and content that they need.

What do you think about Knowledge Bases and their role in making technology more accessible to the end-users?

In 2020, I sincerely hope that the Knowledge bases emerge from the dark age.

Soon, knowledge bases will finally get their moment in the sun.

For too long businesses have neglected these critical vectors of information relegating them to second-rate status. But with the help of AI, they can build robust knowledge bases that are thoughtfully organized and offer a concise solution to each potential question. Content streams will become more optimized as intelligent search bars help to create better responses, bots flag recurring issues and provide faster answers and feedback systems identify where content gaps exist. 

Ryan J. Lester is Senior Director of Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn, and his team owns the strategic development and implementation for the go to market plan for AI, Chatbot and Virtual Assistant products at LogMeIn. He is passionate about making new technology easy and helping any size company unlock the potential of AI and bots.

Prior to his role at LogMeIn, Ryan held various sales, marketing, and product positions at Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, and Eaton Corporation. He has a passion for making new technology accessible and approachable.

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LogMeIn, Inc. simplifies how people connect with each other and the world around them to drive meaningful interactions, deepen relationships, and create better outcomes for individuals and businesses. With millions of users worldwide, our cloud-based solutions make it possible for people and companies to connect and engage with their workplace, colleagues, customers and products anywhere, anytime.

As one of the world’s top 10 public SaaS companies, we are a market leader in communication & conferencing, identity & access, and customer engagement & support solutions with the scale, resources and world-class talent required to accelerate innovation and significantly expand its total addressable market opportunity.

Our teams have built the best known, most trusted and most reliable product portfolios in cloud connectivity, including GoToMeeting, Grasshopper, LastPass, LogMeIn Rescue and many more. LogMeIn is headquartered in Boston with additional locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

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