Real-Time Conversations: 5 Questions With LiveWorld CEO Peter Friedman



Social media software company LiveWorld has released a new platform that enables marketers to manage customer conversations in real time on social media and messenger apps.

LiveWorld’s Conversation Management Software uses analytics, semantic and sentiment analysis and customer targeting.

As social media iterates into the burgeoning world of messaging, LiveWorld believes brands are challenged now more than ever to be conversation-centric to engage customers.

“LiveWorld is helping ‘customer-obsessed’ brands deliver conversational engagement at scale with a personal touch,” notes the press release.

brandchannel caught up with LiveWorld founder and CEO, Peter Friedman, former VP and GM of Apple’s Internet Services division, to talk about the new platform.


brandchannel: What is the biggest challenge in scaling the platform?

LiveWorld Peter FriedmanPeter Friedman: Social media has an incredible ability to connect people with shared interests and passions to have conversations and build relationships. Dialogue—as opposed to content or advertising—between individuals, with a brand, or amongst a group is really what attracts people to social media and messaging apps.

LiveWorld builds technology to scale human review of user-generated content, empower brand representatives to have richer, more informed conversations with their customers, and track it all across enterprise systems like CRM and help desk applications. There are no limitations to the compassion and intelligence people exhibit when they interact, and our technology is designed to make it easier to have 1-on-1, personalized conversations.


BC:  Please elaborate on conversational engagement at scale with a personal touch and how it is unique to your platform?

Friedman: Most social media tools began as publishing platforms. Thus, these applications see social media in a single post and broadcast-centric manner, not understanding and managing the fluid and contextual nature of a real conversation. Similarly, most customer service software is focused on individual customer service issues and transactions, even when they come through social media. Additionally, there has been a trend to automate everything for scale efficiencies at the expense of giving customers a personal and human experience, which is what makes social media unique.

Our software is designed with smart listening to detect, organize and prioritize conversations—not just individual posts. Then, to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction, LiveWorld provides a case management framework that supports comprehensive escalation and resolution that enables quicker average response times and consistently lower time-to-resolution metrics.


BC:  You said that brands need to take the approach of creating customer experiences around conversations rather than focusing on page interactions. Isn’t that a sea change?

Friedman:  Yes it is very much a sea change. For some time, customers have been moving away from the world of controlled broadcast advertising of product messages to a more fluid environment that is more about them than the brand. During the past 15 years, brands have created structured experiences—apps and web pages—through which they could direct or even control the customer experience. And we’re all use to that with computers. But, people overall have always been more conversational creatures, with the experience changing fluidly as one goes.

The convergence of smartphones, social media and messaging creates the context where that core conversational experience will take over. Instead of creating a pre-structured experience via a web page or app, brands have to learn how to stimulate, guide and react to conversations. They will learn how to embed brand positioning and even invite transactions in strings of text, while participating and maintaining a dialogue flow that the customer can change by the moment.

Improvisational conversations skills will prove more important than creative or content. Selling it in can be challenging because brands have a 60-year legacy of broadcast control. Still, with literally billions of customers on messaging apps and rising every day, ultimately the brands have to follow the eyes, hearts and now the texting voices of the customers.


BC:  What are your metrics for ROI for brands using your platform?

Friedman: Depends on if you’re using conversational management for acquisition or to stimulate transactions, build loyalty or resolve customer service issues. For marketers using conversations to proactively drive sales, ROI can be measured in revenue and customer experience measures. For customer satisfaction and loyalty, NPS and customer surveys are another way to measure the ROI of customer conversations. And, if engaging consumers in social media for customer support, you’ll evaluate ROI based on resolution of customer service issues, including time to respond, time to resolution and customer satisfaction scores.


BC: As social media continues to scale globally, what are the key factors in maintaining “a personal touch?”

Friedman: Automation and algorithms are a persistent threat to delivering quality customer experiences in social media. Bots are a great example. Technology best serves humans when we us it to empower people rather than replace them. The challenge to scaling personal and personalized conversations is knowing when and where to apply technology to make things efficient and ensure a consistent standard of high quality experiences. But, it all starts with your objective. If your aim is to scale empathy and help customers then it’s easier to make the right choices that allow you to scale human-to-human interactions.


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