SalesTechStar Interview with Kevin Meeks, Chief Customer Officer at LivePerson

Kevin Meeks, Chief Customer Officer at LivePerson shares pointers on what can help B2B sales teams understand customer needs more accurately in this catch up with SalesTechStar:

Welcome to this SalesTechsStar Series chat, Kevin. Please tell us about yourself and your journey through the B2B tech market. What are you most looking forward to in your new role at LivePerson?

I’ve spent the last 20+ years leading customer-centric organizations at high-growth companies, including building and scaling both pre-sales and customer success teams. Before joining LivePerson, I was at VMWare, where I led a 1,400-person global success organization and achieved annual recurring revenue of $4B+. I’ve also led customer success, experience and renewals organizations at companies including Apptio, DocuSign, and Splunk.

I’m really excited to be joining LivePerson for two reasons. First, I’m serving as the company’s first Chief Customer Officer, meaning we are more focused than ever on helping our customers — which include many of the world’s top brands — fully realize the value of their investments in our digital customer conversations platform. And second, there’s an incredible opportunity here to transform how brands and consumers interact. With about 70% of today’s service and support experiences still taking place through legacy, voice-first contact centers, we serve as the bridge to the digital-first messaging experiences that consumers prefer.

How can brands become more customer-centric? What have you observed works best, and what don’t today’s brands do enough of? 

We recently surveyed thousands of brand leaders and consumers to look at these very questions. According to LivePerson’s State of Customer Conversations 2024 report, two out of every three consumers expect the way they work with businesses to improve over the next five years thanks to AI. The businesses that can get ahead of this timeframe and leverage AI to create better, faster, more personalized customer experiences will have a competitive edge and exceed their customers’ expectations, which is always a good thing.

You can also become more customer-centric by analyzing the vast amount of data that comes out of digital customer conversations (both AI- and human-powered), then using it to improve conversations going forward. Every successful engagement, as well as every failed one, will help you improve your understanding of what your customers want, how they’re asking you for it, and what you can do to make their lives easier. I’ve found that many brands don’t take full advantage of everything their data has to offer, often because it’s difficult to sift through. Conversational intelligence tools that help summarize and analyze this data can help you get started on a path of continuous improvement.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with Kate McCullough, Co-founder and Chief GTM Officer at

What specific steps should businesses take to implement customer-centric conversations and AI — and really take advantage of their data?

We think about this in terms of our “Conversational Flywheel,” which clearly lays out how to gain better understanding of customer needs, connect channels and systems, assist agents and boost productivity, automate conversations, and then use data from all of the above to begin the flywheel again. It’s a problem-solving framework that can be applied across different industries, based on our experience helping the world’s top brands transform their customer experience.

The flywheel is comprised of four essential components:

  • Understand: learn what customers want by analyzing conversational data from voice and messaging transcripts, and surface the most common and valuable intents: the ones that account for the greatest volume, are of highest value to your business, or that matter most to your customers.
  • Connect: Integrate digital channels like Apple Business Chat and web messaging and backend systems like CRMs and telephony systems to shift conversations out of the traditional call center. These connections facilitate the deflection of intents out of the call center and into more efficient, inexpensive and customer-preferred channels.
  • Assist: give human agents generative AI-powered answers and insights to increase their productivity and train the models. When AI is agent-facing, you can leverage its power without incurring risk. And by keeping humans in the loop, you optimize and enhance the LLMs until you feel confident they are ready to be used directly with consumers.
  • Automate: lastly, automate interactions directly with consumers, to enable self-service and resolution at scale. Automation allows you to grow your conversational data set by an order of magnitude, which then feeds back into the flywheel and supercharges your understanding of customer intents.

What should sales and marketing teams keep in mind when setting up their customer success and service models? Which brands would you shout out to for great experiences here?

While moving to digital-first customer experiences is imperative, it’s important to note you can’t just flip a switch and turn everything over to AI. The traditional call center isn’t dead yet, and consumers still say they want the option to pick up the phone and call when it makes the most sense for them. AI will certainly impact your business more and more over the long term, but you need to connect traditional and digital experiences to build a sturdy bridge to the future.

A great example of a brand offering their customers that flexibility, as well as AI experiences provided in a customer-centric way, is The RealReal. As a luxury online consignment store, they wanted to give their clients a luxury-level experience, with the level of care and service they expect. Through AI-empowered, digital customer conversations, they were able to reduce friction, expand to customers’ preferred channels (like Apple Business Chat), and automate personalized interactions — all while maintaining a white-glove level of care. Results included decreasing response time to less than one minute on voice and two minutes on messaging, shifting 40% of contact volume to messaging, achieving a 95% CSAT on messaging, and reducing agent attrition by 50%.

What’s an emerging trend in modern B2B technology sales you’d like to comment on?

CIOs and CTOs are becoming more important voices in the customer experience field when it comes to software buying decisions. They’re taking a holistic view of software consolidation and the high-level architecture of how different software integrates.

This is driven not only by the need to reduce spend, but also the need to get greater ROI out of their investments, especially as everyone tries to figure out how to leverage AI to do so. As such, they are prioritizing investments that can be easily integrated into other systems; for example, customer experience platforms that can bring onboard their preferred large language model or other AI solutions.

If you haven’t already begun to do so, it’s critical to start treating CIOs and CTOs as influential stakeholders in B2B tech sales.

If you had to share a few AI trends that will lead the salestech/martech space in 2024 and beyond, what would you talk about? 

The biggest trend or priority in 2024 will be bridging what we are calling the “AI gap.” Our recent survey of consumers and business leaders shows that while almost every business leader is feeling positive about using AI to engage with customers (91%), only half of consumers say the same. This gap is a result of the average consumer’s unfamiliarity and lack of clarity about how AI can be used to make their lives easier and more convenient. And it means brands have a lot of work to do to make sure their AI investments pay off.

Despite consumer skepticism, we don’t expect brands to slow down when it comes to using AI. The technology is already helping businesses to reduce wait times, assist agents, and reduce costs. However, brands will only truly gain the full ROI on AI if they find ways to bridge the AI gap with their customers. What does that bridge look like? It’s about using AI to better understand what customers are telling you, empower your agents, save time by speeding up resolutions on the channels customers prefer, and learn from all of the above to get even better. And as I mentioned earlier, the brands that can do that now, will be ahead of the competition.

Read More: Key Tactics for Closing Sales Deals and Their Impact

LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN) is the enterprise leader in digital customer conversations. The world’s leading brands — including HSBC, Chipotle, and Virgin Media — use our award-winning Conversational Cloud platform to connect with millions of consumers. We power nearly a billion conversational interactions every month, providing a uniquely rich data set and AI-powered solutions to accelerate contact center transformation, supercharge agent productivity, and deliver more personalized customer experiences. Fast Company named us the #1 Most Innovative AI Company in the world.

Kevin Meeks is Chief Customer Officer at LivePerson

Also catch; Episode 169 of The SalesStar Podcast: B2B Sales, Process Enhancements and Tips: with Sean Flynn, SVP of Global Sales at Avalara

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