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

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Ryan Lester, Director, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn

Ryan Lester
Director, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn

Earlier this year, LogMeIn published a report on AI Customer Experience. In this context, we spoke to Ryan Lester, Director, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn, to understand the major challenges and opportunities in delivering contextual CX identified in the study.

Tell us about your role at LogMeIn and the team/technology you handle.

My team and I own the strategic development and implementation for the go-to market plan for AI, Chatbot and Virtual Assistant products at LogMeIn. Our goal is to make new AI-driven Customer Experience (CX) technology accessible and approachable for everyone.

How do you see trends in CX influencing MarTech companies to deliver better automation and CRM technologies?

One of the biggest challenges in customer experience today is the fact that customers aren’t nearly as loyal as they used to be. Research has shown that 82% of customers have stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience. Nowadays, customers have a myriad of choices at their fingertips, and if one company disappoints, they can find a replacement with very little effort. Studies have also shown that consumers are willing to pay more for a good CX — putting more pressure than ever on companies to differentiate themselves through an easy, fast, and personalized experience. And that’s not just to bring customers in, but to also convert one-time buyers into long-term brand advocates. This isn’t an easy feat for anyone, but emerging digital customer experience tools including AI are helping companies deliver these types of experiences without overburdening their current customer service teams.  In fact, according to the study we did, 72% of consumers said that they expect brands to leverage new technologies to improve CX.

How would you define “Good CX” from a sales perspective? To what extent has LogMeIn managed to achieve and deliver that good experience to the customers?

There are a lot of definitions of “good customer service” — and through the recent research we did, we saw that companies and customers tend to think about this very differently. While a great customer service experience often times depends on the customer, it generally comes down to two factors: speed and personalization. Today’s customers want both. They don’t want to wait on hold in a contact center to get a simple question answered and they also expect that if they’ve interacted with a company before — on any channel — that the agent they talk to knows their history and can tailor the conversation to their particular situation.  Delivering quick and personalized service is not easy for most brands, and that is what we are trying to solve for with our flagship customer engagement solution, Bold360. We designed Bold360 to marry the idea that companies can deliver better and more personalized customer experiences with a simple, yet feature-rich solution. It includes all the digital channels needed to connect with and support customers, the ability to move with them from channel to channel including the full context of each interaction, all in one interface. Additionally, Bold360 leverages the power of AI to bring chatbots and human agents together to make self-service more engaging and effective while liberating agents to be able to spend more time with customers who need them most.

Should marketing companies now start focusing on building their own chatbot platforms?

AI technology is certainly making waves in businesses across industries, but it’s important for companies not to fall into the “we need AI” trap without thoroughly thinking about why they need it and what they hope to accomplish with it. It’s important to not lose sight of the goals of the technology and ensure it is being developed and continually nurtured to meet those goals.  It’s never about developing a bright shiny AI-powered solution, it should be about creating (or partnering with companies that have already created) a solution that is going to help deliver a customer experience that helps companies compete on a large scale.

How does the ‘Buy versus Build’ attitude play out in the tech-heavy ecosystem?

Build vs. buy is always a conundrum for companies. While industry giants have the resources to develop new AI technologies in-house, SMBs are left wondering what they can do in the absence of millions of dollars and manpower to invest in R&D, engineering, implementation and continued support. Luckily there are vendors that have spent the time and money developing purpose-built AI solutions that are accessible to companies of all sizes. Because of that, I think we’ll see a lot more companies opting to buy than build.

Why did you choose to publish the LogMeIn AI Customer Experience Study?

There is a lot of confusion in the market between what customers want and what businesses are actually delivering. We conducted the research to get a better understanding of the state of customer experience today, how things are shifting, who is driving this change and where both traditional and emerging technologies are playing key roles.

What are the major challenges and opportunities in delivering contextual CX identified in the report?

In terms of delivering contextual CX, I think the largest challenge we identified with the survey is that agents are just overwhelmed.  They work in an average of 3 different systems and spend 25% of their time looking for information about the customer.  It’s nearly impossible to provide quick, seamless and contextually relevant experience when customer information is living in various systems. So many companies are stuck in this rut with legacy systems causing serious lag time that frustrates agents and customers alike. There is a huge opportunity for companies to win on a differentiated customer journey — one where the experience is fast and personal. The good news is that the study found that 61% of companies are looking to allocate more budget to new solutions specifically designed for customer engagement with 88% already investing or planning to invest in AI technologies to solve some of these problems.

Tell us more about your in-house research on the role of AI and automation for better CX?

Our main takeaway from the study was that while there is some hesitation by consumers around AI, almost everyone — consumers and businesses alike believe that it will change customer experience for the better. Customers have come to accept that any time they have to contact customer service, the process will be slow, somewhat painful, and they may never even get their issue resolved. As we all become more comfortable with AI in our daily lives, expectations of what makes up a good customer service experience is going to change. Since chatbots don’t take days off, they can provide customers with always-on support, provide answers to common questions quickly, seamlessly pull data on a customer to provide a personalized experience — all without placing an additional burden on the customer service teams.

Do you think the world will be a mobile-only marketing ecosystem very soon?

Although mobile is growing, I don’t see the marketing ecosystem becoming mobile-only — at least not anytime soon. What our study showed us was that consumers like both channel and device choice. There are some things they will do on mobile, some on a computer, and others they will still rely on phone.  The key will be to have an omni-channel approach that allows you to align various use cases to the preferred channel.

Thanks for chatting with us, Ryan.

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