Be Customer Led Podcast with Liam Delap

by | Apr 9, 2021 | Customer Experience

Intro: Welcome to Be Customer Led, where we’ll explore how leading experts in customer and employee experience are navigating organizations through their own journey to be customer led and the actions and behaviors employees and businesses exhibit to get there. And now your host, Bill Staikos.

Bill Staikos: Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Be Customer Led. I’ve got a really interesting guest with us this week, Liam Delap, works for a company called Pypestream, which is a conversational AI organization tech company, and they’re doing some pretty cool stuff but we’ll get into that a little bit later in the show. Liam’s been working with customers for a long, long time. He heads up Enterprise Sales there today, and an all around, just, amazing guy, serious thought leader in this space – Director of Enterprise Sales, excuse me – and Liam, welcome to the show it’s great to have you on. 

Liam Delap: Thanks, so much Bill, looking forward to being here. 

BS: Yeah, it’s going to be a good conversation. Alright, so let’s talk about your journey first, how you grew up in this space, what led you to where you are today.

LD: Yeah, it’s a good question. I think the original bug that I got, I mean, the thing is, being an expert in this space, I’m also a customer just like everyone else, so I think I was probably in college and I had to call Comcast – sorry to call out anyone here, they’ve come miles since then – I think I was on the phone with a cable company that I was trying to transfer service from one place to another and I couldn’t believe how difficult it was. I think it took me 3 hours and multiple calls, and that wasn’t the moment where I was like ‘I’m going to spend the rest of my life in conversational technology’, but it definitely stuck with me as I went into the working world and continued to deal with more responsibility and more bills and interface with more and more companies and the consistent theme was the difficulty, and this was like 15 years ago, but the difficulty of just getting simple tasks done, was something that I – and I’m sure everyone has one of those friends or even someone’s family member that is that person who just goes ballistic on the calls – that wasn’t me, I wasn’t mean or anything, I was just like, how is this possible? I would even empathize with the call center agents, they were like, I know, it shouldn’t be this hard! 

BS: They know it’s broken, they get those calls all the time, right?

LD: Right! Oh trust me, I’ve spent – we’ll cover that one too. So, I started my career in consulting and I was looking at businesses through this lens and was like, there’s got to be an opportunity here, and, of course, this was already happening with Cisco and even Sybel implementations and IBM AS/400 implementations and stuff, and so I actually looked into getting involved about 6 or 7 years ago and I’ve been in the space of conversational AI since. Kind of with that personal anecdote of trying to make it more effortless and easier for customers to transact and and do business and not make it hard. And we’ve seen all these digital-first businesses do the same thing and really win a lot of market share doing it. It’s been really rewarding and every year that goes by it’s incredible to see how the technology improves and continues to make that experience even better.

BS: So, let’s talk a little bit about that because chatbots have been around a long time, some of them were just dumb – not dumb chatbots, right? Even several years ago, still sophisticated for its time in some way, that has really evolved much, in a really significant way over the past couple of years, for sure. Tell me a little bit about how conversational AI has evolved and for you specifically, being in this space, what has wowed you about it?

LD: Yeah, so, I’ve done my research here, in 1966, the first chatbot was created at MIT and it was just a rule based engine. So, if this then that, if this then that, right? Pretty straightforward stuff, but despite it being around in 1966, you and I both know that probably the first time you ever used a chatbot was within the last 10 years. So, there was a huge amount of time that had to happen for the technology to get good enough to put in front of customers and for customer experiences leaders, like yourself Bill, to feel comfortable using and using as a first line of defense for issue resolution and even sales.

And then in the 80s and 90s there was the growth of IVRs and intelligent voice recognition and DTMF, you know, press one for this, press two for that. And I think, pretty much every adult, regardless of age, thinks of most poor experiences with that in mind, press one for billing, press two for this, our menu options have changed, right? Because I think we all grew up with that and it’s such a part of our, almost of our culture, and our expectation in working with business that that’s just kind of how we think about call centers and customer service. But as you know, as well as I, in the last 5-6 years the entire dynamic of customer experience has shifted. It’s now a C-suite position, the Chief Customer Officer, Chief Customer Experience Officer, that transition has come out of the fact that people win business, businesses win customers by making it as easy as possible to do business. The customer is going to choose the path of least resistance and so if you can enable that, create a journey that does that, both with employee experience optimization and technology optimization that’s really where the evolution is going to continue to go.

And so, within the last 10 years or so, and I think as a function of digital and smartphones becoming an extension of our bodies, people now prefer to message. That’s how you communicate with your kids, that’s how you communicate with your family and so –

BS: As sad as that is [laughs]

LD: Yeah, it’s a channel that’s there and it’s what people expect now. And so, the chat channels have grown, even in the last 3 years, significantly, just based on the volume of business we’re doing and also I’ve heard from a lot of clients – we have customers that used to be 100% phone call, now down to 50%, some of them 100% chat, and I think the reason for that, as someone who has been both on the phone automation and now chat/messaging automation side of things, is it’s a much more visually friendly experience, right? A phone call is great, it’s hands-free, but there isn’t visual components to it, you can’t look at a video or infographic that can be accessed and that’s limiting. You’re effectively only using your auditory when you’re on the phone, non visual, and companies like Uber and Amazon know this and they make it so easy to hit a button and buy something or hit a button and get a car, now that’s the expectation that’s been set, and people to even wait – to even hear the 5 seconds of dial tone, you’ve lost their interest by that point. It’s sad but it’s true because that’s the expectation that’s been set. I think that’s only going to continue to grow in the future. 

BS: And if you’re angry to begin with because you’re trying to call in or whatever or, like, here’s another option – I might be unhappy with that product or the service provider themselves, it really does change the experience for you, it disarms you a little bit because it’s a very different and unique experience versus the next available agent is 25 minutes from now versus okay, I need training or I need help with this, I’m going to get that video right here, right, as an example. 

LD: Right. 

BS: So, look, I talk to a lot of contact center leaders across a lot of different industries, there are a lot of people that are really concerned – if you’re in a contact center and you see this technology coming, you’re concerned for your role, right? It’s a great way to certainly create efficiency in your organization, it’s a great way to extend that experience and that brand in a different way, it doesn’t mean that you get to let go of your entire contact center, though some companies may look to do that, but it does enhance the way that customers interact with you and even if they want to go to someone live, you can do that right off the platform too, which is important. 

LD: Yeah.

BS: Tell me a little bit about that view and some of the benefits from a customer engagement and loyalty perspective, right? Because I want to still be able to talk to a live body if I need to, I want to be able to not have to go through that route and wait 20 minutes if I don’t need to. So, what are some of the benefits you’re seeing from a customer engagement and loyalty perspective?

LD: Great question, and honestly I feel that and couldn’t agree more. Shep Hyken talked about these moments of wow and magic and that’s exactly – just putting this into my perspective, as someone who’s a customer as well – my moments of wow have come from human to human conversation. Simply because I think we all take for granted how amazing technology is so, when technology is always supposed to work and it doesn’t we’re upset if it does, no one’s really celebrating that, even though they probably should if you think about how amazing it is. So, I agree, every business is different, everyone is going to have specific use cases that, really, are better suited for the customer to be automated versus others that are better suited for a human and employee to handle.

That’s really the litmus test, it’s not about – it’s not a personal, or even business, discussion it’s a function of what do our customers want? If our customers want to make payments online or want to schedule appointments online and they’d rather do that than over the phone then you should make that available for them and let them do that as easy as possible. Also, on the same turn, let them call in and do that as well. Giving them the power to do that is certainly on part of answering that question, I think the other part of that is I don’t think anyone should look at conversational AI investment as a cost reduction strategy in isolation, if you’re only looking at it from that lens I think you’re making a mistake, because it should really be about the other benefits, the customer experience improvement, mapping what your voice of the customer is asking for and providing it to them, even driving revenue growth. And, most importantly and at the end of the day, enabling your employees, improving the employee experience, when I say employees I mean contact center agents. Making them better and smarter and more efficient at their job is going to make them feel more fulfilled, it’s going to drive efficiency for you as a business, and it’s going to improve the customer experience.

So, it’s really all part of the fourth industrial revolution, if you think of it that way, this is just the new normal, the way that we’re working with and partnering with computers and AI and technology to be better at our jobs. It’s so easy to explain that in the call center side because everyone can understand that, it’s happening in every business line across your organization, but in the CX space there’s so much opportunity for that, I mean think about how much data companies have on consumers and think about how little that data is used. You could have a million pieces of data on me, Liam, but if you don’t have the analytics and the intelligence to query that information and make it actionable for a human, then it’s useless. And, so, AI can query that and say hey, based on Liam’s tweet yesterday he’s upset, maybe we should talk with a different tone.

All these things are a little bit still future focused, some folks are doing them but that’s where we’re going to go. Who wouldn’t want to be treated in a personalized manner, especially if they’re willing to expose their data. Now, in the EU they’re going to deal with some challenges with GDPR, but I think that’s where we’re at now. 

BS: Liam, how far – so, you just brought up – sorry, I’ve got a bunch of questions just rolling through my head. I want to talk about the future and where this is going, particularly around how that conversational AI changes tone, type of information maybe and how it engages you even and how far off from that we are, because it feels like we’ve got the technology today, it’s more about what are the right ways, the right spots to go implement that. Just on the terms of the point you made around use cases specifically – one, I think there is, I don’t see it as much on the employee experience side, but I think there’s huge opportunity there for sure, particularly when you’re looking at things like benefits or healthcare or just things like that; I don’t have to call my HR 800 number, right, just as an example. But even on those use cases, from a consumer perspective it’s totally clear to me. On the B2B side are you seeing a lot of growth there or is that where the growth is starting to happen more and more? I’m just curious to hear your perspective. 

LD: Yeah, I saw something on LinkedIn today that was pretty cool, it was we’re all call center agents, just with different titles. Like, we’re all replying to emails for clients, inMails, and support, but it’s kind of true if you think about it. 

BS: Different comp bands. 

LD: Yeah, maybe a more expensive product but it’s true. And so, to that effect, I think the B2B side is growing, we have done deployments and implementations for it, but the way that we look at it is, is it a repetitive task? Is it something that is simply pulling data from one place and projecting it to a user. When it comes to anything that requires empathy or persuasion I think we’re still pretty far away from that and I think that’s always something we should do, we don’t want to get to a creepy robotic society, right? Elon Musk might disagree with me but that’s where we’re seeing it.

So, an example, again it’s really those low hanging fruits, we have Company A doing business with Company B, they’re a big, let’s call them a toilet paper distributor, and they have this contract where they were supposed to provide them with 20,000 rolls of toilet paper every month. Well let’s say the finance folks personnel at Company B wants to ask Company A ‘hey what was our last month’s invoice, can we update our order?’ Those are things that are really transactional in nature and likely the user at Company B would just like a simple, easy, instant way to do that on their own time 24/7. We’ve done that type of automation for that B2B function, but as it relates to sales of B2B, I think that’s still rests in the hands of humans, still. But as it relates to ongoing business and support, even invoicing and finance, there are some low hanging fruits that we’ve begun to address with some companies, both internally and externally.

BS: Very cool. So COVID, hopefully we’re done with it this year, fingers crossed, that’s right. I feel like there’s this rehumanization of just society generally, do you think there’s going to be a backlash on technology like this or is it because, again, – well let’s look at digital shopping trends are off the charts, right? People are using their phones and their computers and laptops like never before, but from a service perspective or an education perspective or a problem resolution perspective, do you think there’s going to be some backlash of people wanting to talk to humans again because they’re on the phone? Or do you think the value proposition for consumers is too great that – and because you’re already increasing the digital habits of consumers, that we’re naturally just going to hit the speed button on this?

LD: I think and would bet it’s the latter. And really, it’s not about – something that an old mentor used to say to me was ‘humans are inherently lazy’ and it’s kind of true, and to that effect, I’m going to go back to what I said earlier which is, customers are going to pick the path of least resistance and whatever’s the most effortless. So, if ordering online, like with Amazon, is more effortless than going to the shop then obviously it’s going to happen.

From a report side, the same thing is true, if checking my status of an order is clicking a button versus calling, I’m going to click the button. I mean, that’s just not going anywhere, I don’t see a world where people are going to say ‘ You know what, I feel like we should rehumanize and not click that button, I’m going to call” – I don’t see that happening. And it makes sense, again, it’s the path of least resistance, people want what’s easy, people want what’s instant. Again, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this is us just, another step towards us just being more in sync and in synergy with technology and I think because it’s such a part of our life now we don’t even think about it. A lot of people, on different conversations I’ve had on other podcasts, come to me like, I’ve never even thought about the complexity of what happens when I make a phone call, and realize the systems that these agents are overseeing and the CRMS and all those things, right? People don’t – people take it for granted, if it works then they just continue living their life, if it doesn’t work then they’ll give you a one star review. There’s no chance for someone to say hey Uber worked today, 5 stars, even though it should because it’s such an incredible experience, right? When you think about the technology that drives that, no one – everyone is taking that for granted.

So, I think that, again, I bet you they’ll be a few companies that come out of the woodwork and lead with human first and don’t lean on much automation and they’ll probably win some market share with that, because there will be a certain part of the market that wants that experience, but I think, ultimately, overall, even behind the scenes, those folks that are having that conversation, they’re going to be using AI internally to make the employee smarter and more efficient.

So, it’s going to be there, it just might be in a different mouthpiece or a different front end. That front end might be human, that front end might be digital or that front end might be both and I think it’s going to only increase to be digitally year over year as the technology gets smarter and more data can be accessed via APIs and those become more available at a lot of companies as well. 

BS: So, I’m not – I agree with you, I think that just the increase in the digital landscape and how digital just as a medium has increased exponentially over the last 12 months, I think that that is just going to be much more the way forward. For better or worse, right? But still, I think there’s a lot of value to be gained, not only as consumers but also as businesses. Let’s fast forward the clock on this technology 5 years, 10 years. You talked a little bit about – so I think a lot about this stuff, unfortunately, probably drives my family crazy. 

LD: [laughs]

BS: It does, it’s just the truth. 

LD:  I know, I’m with you man.

BS: So, I love how we’re going just a little bit more empathetic and we’re seeing that today, right, in some of those conversational – like the AIs that are out there already – are you seeing where, I go complain on Twitter, as an example or I’m out on Instagram and I take a little video, this is a terrible experience, whatever, do you think there’s going to be, not only more empathetic and more understanding of what your needs are and maybe even just resolving those needs but is that outbound messaging going to happen for me, will I get that Tweet back, saying ‘Hey, click on this link, call in, and let’s have that conversation about how to resolve your issue. 

LD: So, the answer to that question is it’s definitely possible and can be done today. I don’t know anyone that’s doing it, I mean we could even feasibly do it. I think it’s really – that’s going to be another cultural progression in my opinion. And the question of that cultural progression is how cool am I letting this company use this data, this personal data of mine, against me – I wouldn’t use the word against me – but for me, you know what I mean? And I think right now people would probably be a little bit – it might be off putting, frankly, culturally. Some people might enjoy it – I think I’d love it. I probably should care more about my personal data but I don’t – there’s an Alexa, oh shit I shouldn’t have said that, in every room, in every room of the house. 

BS: It’s going off behind me, by the way. 

LD: I’m sure it is. It’s going to play, like, some Beatles music. But anyway, I think that we’re really crawl, walk, run that type of stuff. Look what Europe’s doing, they’re going in the exact opposite direction and I applaud them for it. I’m impartial, frankly. But they’re giving the people the power to decide, do you want me to use this and make this custom for you or do you not? I think there’s a lot of good in that, so for – let’s just keep this answer to the function of people who do want it, for those people the art of the possible is, honestly, endless. In the next 5 years, let alone 5, maybe 3 years those things can be very common.

Like, proactive outreach, to me, after I’ve left a bad Yelp review, with a coupon, to retry and maybe redo my review. And then changing the actual greeting of that message based on how angry I was. Maybe if it was 2 stars, it would be this message, if it was 1 star, it would be this message. And even further, sentiment analysis on the open text of those reviews and how that, how maybe quoting one of those things, so it feels personalized. All those things can happen, I just think whether or not they happen is a function of what the people want. Again, it always goes back to what customers want and I don’t know, I think it would be cool to pilot that out and see what reactions folks get.

And, honestly, I don’t know, what do you think? Do you think that we’re going to continue to use people’s data in the market and marketing analytics or are we actually going to, kind of, go the angle of the EU and make it more limited? What do you think?

BS: So, I’m like you, I don’t care what you do with my data as long as it’s secure, full stop. Like, here’s more, if you can improve my life, literally improve my life, and that’s what I mean. When I think about data security versus what you’re doing with it and what you know about me, like with a Google, Amazon, etc. it’s more about how are you enriching me, by using that? And if you’re not enriching my life through that product or service then I want to be able to dial that back. Right?

LD: Yes

BS: So, I think as we progress in the future, I think companies will have to think about, alright data security is like table stakes, like we can’t mess with people’s data, obviously. And as you get to quantum computing, that will be, hopefully, a little bit more easy. But the whole point of that customization of the experience and how, whether it’s this mic or the laptop, whatever that is, you know, my phone, how are you enriching my life, destressing it, taking friction out of it, and using my personal data to be able to do that. If a product can do that, here you go, what do you want to know, do you want me to give you a pay stub, here it is, right? 

LD: I totally agree, I fully agree and I think what will happen is folks like us will be the early adopters of that technology, like we’ll probably click some button, that we don’t read, that says you’re opting in to this experience and – kind of like the Apple update, the checkboxes that are, like I’m going to read this hundred page article, but anyway. So, we’ll probably be the first to do that and what will happen, what I think will happen is if that’s the case we’re going to be served these incredible experiences and we’re going to be like, really wowed by them.

And then we’ll be at a party or a dinner and we’ll show people this experience and then they might shift to our way of thinking and say, you know what, maybe I shouldn’t be so – this is really improving Liam and Bill’s life so much, maybe I should be a little more open, they’ve sold me on the fact that my data’s secure, maybe I should shift. And through word of mouth and sharing experiences it might just become the new normal, and I think that’s a very likely outcome, especially if the experiences that are going to be delivered with the technology and your data are outstanding, which is the intent.

And then from there it will get pretty wild, I mean, honestly, it kind of hurts my brain to think about and there are no limits to what can happen at that point, because anything is possible, any outbound communication is possible.

The technology to understand human sentiment and human language is already there and the ability to contextualize that and use specific data on me, I mean, I wish I could speak about it. Maybe in 5 minutes I can come back to it but it’s unlimited scale. Imagine you had 10,000 employees dedicated to doing everything they possibly can with all the data that Bill has, that’s what could happen to every customer with technology. That’s kind of the scale of it.

BS:  I’m waiting – so I interviewed Brett King a couple weeks back, it’s not published yet, he’s a futurist in the financial services space, super interesting guy. And we were just talking about the future of banking and I was like, and I knew this show was coming up, but I’m just preparing for it in my own way, doing my discovery, etc. And I’m like, I can’t wait for the day when I walk into the car dealer or on Carvana let’s say, because why would you go to a car dealer anymore, and I’m shopping for cars and I’ve got my wearable and that little voice comes through and says Bill, you can actually afford these upgrades, right? And, by the way, you’re already pre approved for the loan, it’s already done, my bank knows how much goes in through direct deposit, they know how much house I can afford, they know how much car I can afford, etc. So, being able to do that and being like – but being able to talk back and say well how do I stretch that a little bit further? I really want the 22” tires on this thing, I don’t want the 19 or the 20, I want the nice black rims too, can you do that? And being able to – like that process and coming back to me to say, we can do that but you’d have to extend credit or your interest rate is going to be higher. That to me is nirvana for me, I can’t wait to get there and have that two way conversation with whatever the intelligence is to help enrich and improve my life. 

LD: But, if I may continue that and push back a little bit and ask you a question – what if that’s happening with every company you’ve ever given data to? Now it’s spam, right? How would you hypothesize, you weed out the noise? Because every company – once this is available every company is going to want to do this to drive sales. So, I guess I’m curious, we can just hypothesize on what control the customer would have there. 

BS: Yeah, right, the price point should be where the big companies of the world would only be able to bring this on, like any new technology, right?

At some point that price point comes down enough where you’ve got your mid-market businesses coming. I’m hoping that it’s way that I can unsubscribe, you can’t use my data because you’re spamming, right? Or I only want to give my data to these 5 companies because I feel like they are the 5 that I feel like actually do something for me. A little bit like what Europe is doing with the control of your own data and what you can or cannot use. I think on some level there’s got to be some consortium that comes together that says, here’s how you can use people’s data and you can either abuse it and people will cut you off or you can enrich people’s lives and actually help them – maybe I make more money because the car that’s been sitting in the driveway, that we pay too much for at this point, can go out and pick people up at some point and actually earn money for me. And I can have that conversational AI help direct that for me too. I think it’s a cost thing but I think that will come down and you’ll – you should be able to turn that off too. 

LD: Yeah, no, so that’s such an interesting thing because now I’m coming full circle back to your original conversation about rehumanization. If I knew – as a salesperson – if I knew you wanted Pypestream to give you that type of conversation, I’m not going to have the robot do it, I’m going to call you. So, it’s so interesting, it’s probably at a much larger B2C company, larger, at a scalable level. But at a B2B level, going back to that B2B conversation, even with that technology, I still think people would probably just give you a call. The minute you admit that you want this level of communication from us, is the minute I, as a salesperson, am probably drooling, saying I’ve got to talk to this guy. That never happens, almost never. But if it did, yeah, I think B2B would continue to be human to human but the scalable sales stuff that would be conversational AI driven. I think that’s where that would end up, that’s super interesting.

BS: Yeah, so we’ll see, I don’t think that’s anytime soon. My guess is like, you couldn’t do that with real 6G technology which is probably 2030 when it’s more ubiquitous in the US at least. But the real problem for me, is actually, is we’re getting our lunch eaten by East Asia and companies in Asia. If you think about Ant Financial in China, Jack Ma, that company is massive.

LD: Unreal what they’re doing. 

BS: Like, no one even uses a bank anymore. It’s like two payment providers in China, and it’s, like, 98-99% of all payments, it’s just insane. 

LS: It’s nuts, no one has credit cards, they just scan QR codes. 

BS: And I think that that, well I think Jack Ma wants to do that stuff in the U.S. too, I think that that has to come here. That technology is way too, creates way too many seamless experiences not to start to be adopted over the next 3, 4 years.

LD: Yeah, the minute it’s allowed to be adopted. I don’t even know what the limitations are, frankly. But, I’m sure it’s something regulatory. The minute it’s allowed it’s going to be the same word of mouth, oh wow why would I ever not do business this way. I mean, in the same way it was for Uber, like why would I ever call a cab company again? That’s essentially where that would go. I think, obviously, we want to have focus on our home land to, probably, create that technology. Probably that’s where it’s going. I’m impartial from there. But I think that will – again, coming back to the same theme of this conversation, is it easier for the customer? Yes. Then they’re going to do it. It’s so easy to adopt something when it’s the easiest way to do something and it’s different.

It’s not easy to get to the place to do that, that’s will take years and years of technology and research and development but once it’s there everyone now has that level of expectation to do business that way and that’s a lot of what we do in our business as well, is enable that for companies. 

BS: Alright, we’re – we’ve got off track, but it’s a good, interesting conversation, I hope it’s driving some interesting thought for listeners. Full disclosure, I am not a client of Pypestream, the company I work for is not a client of Pypestream, but it’s a really cool company, so talk to us a little bit about the organization, what you guys are delivering in the conversational AI and automation space and where do you, again, how have you guys come up the curve on that?

LD: So, back to that theme of the Ubers of the world, I always use this example, so many legacy companies got burned when these digital-first companies came in and created these instant application processes on mobile apps and websites, like Lemonade in insurance or – you know what I’m talking about. Rocket Mortgage or TurboTax, all those simple to use, gamified, button based experiences and we saw this as a massive opportunity because essentially what was happening was, at that time it was like 5 years ago, people were just using chatbots or they were using website forms or interactive form fill or mobile app. It was a mobile app, website, desktop, and chatbots, and then phone calls, but we don’t really do phone calls. And then we saw that gap where – every company has an app and spends millions of dollars building a mobile app but no one really downloads it or uses it so how do we bridge that gap and bring app based like experience into the palm of every user, that is essentially defined as the best possible digital experience this company can offer, with no limitations, in an omnichannel fashion; so we can meet folks on their desktop, on their mobile, but also across Facebook Messenger or Google Business Messaging or Apple Business Chat, all these new channels that are coming to fruition. We said let’s do different than a chatbot, let’s make this a conversational experience that has app widgets built in, things like the ability to swipe to make payments, or hit buttons to schedule appointments, look at videos to drive troubleshooting engagements, sign documents with your thumb through DocuSign integrations. All through one out of the box technology that can be stood up very quickly and delivered fast, so that you can transform your business from a non digital business into a digital-first business in a number of weeks.

So, we provide all the technology and the professional services experts, who are folks that have done these deployments hundreds of times, stand these solutions up for clients, and bring them into the digital world, bring them – the way I would say it we’re going to turn Progressive Insurance into the Uber of insurance or we’re going to turn any company you can think of into the Uber of that company. That’s kind of where our sights are and this is what people want.

We already know this is what customers expect, 9 out of 10 customers prefer to message with a business, by Global Consumer Report analysis and it’s honestly, it’s true. The last two years I’ve been here, the growth has been unbelievable because – especially because of the pandemic, sadly – people don’t have a choice, they need to look to technology to be able to scale their business and they need to figure out that synergy human and technology to drive those efficiencies and we’re really well positioned to do that in a very low risk fashion and a very rapid fashion. Instead of – the alternative is the build versus buy discussion, right? You can build in-house, maybe take a year, hire a bunch of people, or you can look to a group of 100 folks who do this everyday and stand up a solution out of the box, that’s ready to go, that’s the gap that we fill in the market. 

BS: Cool. I love it, people should go check out the site pypestream.com. The technology that you guys are putting out there and the engagement that you guys are able to create is just amazing. I think the B2B use case on that stuff, depending on what kind of B2B you are certainly, is really interesting and you could probably drive a lot of stickiness by offering it to your clients. The B2C use case for me is a total slam dunk, but I think that you’ve got – it depends on what type of B2B business you are – I think that you’ve got to be investing in this technology now, it’s a serious differentiator.

Alright, I always ask this question, we wrap up the show with this one. I love knowing where – I just get inspired by where people get their inspiration from, I get inspired by my family, I’ve got little kids who tell me the craziest stuff and ask me the craziest questions and I’m always so inspired by them and I think about what their life will be in 50 years. Where do you get your inspiration from?

LD: So, in no order, the first thing is just because I’ve been in this space I look at every website through the lens of, like, kind of consultant so any eCommerce site I go to, any website at all, I’m looking at how are they engaging me, why are they using this language, what are the colors, are there things that are popping? Obviously the goal for anyone who goes to a website for the first time, is sales, right? Conversion, revenue, driving that traffic, that’s for B2C. So, I’m looking at it, I’m looking at it through the lens of, I understand the effort and time that went into this because I’ve been behind the scenes, no one really thinks about that, but I do. And so, I look at that and I say hey, is there an opportunity for improvement here, what would that be? And sometimes I’ll shoot them a note and let them know and that’s one thing I do, just for inspiration, frankly. And sometimes I see things I never would have thought of before, wow that’s really cool, and I’ll send them a note and say hey, congratulations, that’s super cool, like, keep that up, right?

So, that’s the one thing I do. But the two, kind of, authors or thought leaders that I love are Shep Hyken, who I’ve mentioned before, he’s incredible, I’m sure everyone on the call knows him, his literature is fantastic, the way he thinks about things is just fantastic. If you do nothing else, just follow him on Twitter because his little bits of information are refreshing throughout the day, if you check that. And then Matt Dixon, who wrote the Challenger Sale and the Challenger Customer, he keeps about that effortless experience and I really – I can’t agree with it anymore, I embody it very much, it goes back to that litmus test, what’s the path of least resistance and it’s proven to be true, and I think that book now was written 5-10 years ago and it’s only  going to continue to be true.

Shep Hyken, Matt Dixon, and just personal auditing of websites, which is a very nerdy admission.

BS: No, what’s that – I don’t know who said this but I read this somewhere: Great design is like a refrigerator, when it doesn’t work it stinks. So, I’m with you I look at every day thing, whether it’s when I walk into a store or when I’m hitting a site, I actually just changed the platform to record this podcast, the UI is just cleaner, easier to use, super easy for guests as well and I actually gave them feedback, a month ago, I had just gotten on the platform, and like, you know what, this is just isn’t easy for me because my old platform I could just copy a link and send it to you. In a week their head developer emailed me and said, that was a great idea, we just put that in place. Next time I log on and it’s there. 

LD: Amazing. That’s what I’m talking about. 

BS: And like, that was beautiful. So, I’m like, what other ideas do I have for these people.

LD: Now you’re the head of product!

BS: Right, yeah, yeah. Not even close. Hey, Liam, it’s been great to have you on, good to see you again and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Pypestream and let’s chat again sometime. 

LD: Thanks a million, Bill. 

BS: Good to have you. 

LD: Thank you.

BS: Alright everybody, that was an awesome episode, Liam Delap with Pypestream. Check out that company they’re doing some pretty cool stuff. Alright we’re out, talk to you soon everyone!

Outro: Thanks for listening to Be Customer Led with Bill Staikos. We are grateful to our audience for the gift of their time. Be sure to visit us at becustomerled.com for more episodes, leave us feedback on how we’re doing, or tell us what you want to hear more about. Until next time we’re out. 

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