CX Effect: Meet Your Customers Where They Are

Is it possible to automate most interactions while still delighting customers? With Linc it is.

Join CX Effect Founder and CEO Andrew Pryfogle interviewing Trevor Imani, Linc's head of global sales, who explains how the platform helps enterprise retailers and e-commerce resolve customer issues, increase buying, and build brand loyalty through exceptional experiences.

Topics Covered:

How retailers can leverage AI automation to meet shoppers on any channel at the moment of need and interest
Fully automating complex interactions while still delighting customers
'Resolve' not 'Redirect' customer inquiries without leaving the chat or hand-off to live agent

Andrew Pryfogle

Founder, CEO | CX Effect
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Trevor Imani

Global Head of Sales | Linc
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Andrew Pryfogle

Yeah, indeed. We're really excited about what you guys are doing. Trevor, you and I have talked a lot about this in the past around the whole theme around automation, right?

There's so much interest right now in automation. So many companies that feel kind of a renewed sense of urgency around deploying automation primarily because they can't hire people in their contact centers as easy as they could before. And a year ago they couldn't hire them because they couldn't find them. And now today, with kind of the macroeconomic conditions, a lot of brands are being told to do a heck of a lot more with even less people than they had before. And that's creating some real urgency around the question of what can I automate and how do I automate while still delighting my customers.

And it's a big theme that we're talking about with a lot of brands all over the country. You guys have a very unique approach to that and I'd love if you could take just a few minutes to kick off maybe our conversation here, walk us through in a few slides, the story around Linc and then you and I will dive in with some more questions. Sound good?

[00:01:48.320] - Trevor Imani
That sounds wonderful. Let me go ahead and start sharing my screen, confirm that everybody can see.

[00:01:56.870] - Andrew Pryfogle
We got you.

[00:01:57.990] - Trevor Imani
Cool. All right, so let's just really talk first and foremost about who we are really quick. And thank you again, Andrew, for setting a great stage for us. So, we are a fast growing customer experience automation platform that is purpose built for retail.

So we're going to dive into that a little bit deeper, but I really want to emphasize that standpoint. If you're not familiar with the customer experience automation space, you can think of us as a software solution that leverages AI and automation to turn conventional customer service into an automated and self service experience that brings down customer support like Andrew was talking about, and costs, as well as increasing CSAT customer engagement and driving revenue as well.

Ultimately. So you can think of Link as a digital workforce doubling down on the retail piece, right?

Why are we so honed in on this? And why are we happy to be playing in this field? If you look at this powerful study here, 72% of CX automation investments are in the retail industry and that is future forward and it's going to keep going. We all on this call, I'm sure can recall sometime or place that we had a really crappy experience with something we bought.

[00:03:11.860] - Trevor Imani
We wanted to understand where the order was or what the status was if you needed to change something. These are things that we're here to address and we're here to address this in a new modern approach with a new gen Three approach. And we'll quickly and throughout the conversation talk about the evolution of automated chat now versus the chat bots when they first started. .

And what I want to really double down on is that we are trust by hundreds of leading retail brands across all major B to C and B to B retail verticals. This is a powerful slide because majority of our logos can't even fit on this slide. But we're really happy to showcase some of the very coveted brands that are along the journey with us with some incredibly powerful stats in the middle here, guys.

This is a really strong attestment to what we're delivering for our clients. The fact is that, and I've said this to you before, Andrew, is that automation is no longer whether it is you choose to do it, it's when and who you choose to do it with. And that is a big factor here.

[00:04:20.630] - Trevor Imani
So extremely happy to be showcasing these incredible brands that are along the journey with us.

[00:04:27.430] - Andrew Pryfogle

[00:04:28.730] - Trevor Imani

We have three key pillars that truly set us apart. Our technology first and foremost right. Like this is going to be an area where we have the ability to learn, we have the ability to connect to your product retail feeds and then we go further and understand style codes and we can really get granular into the results. And the value that we bring to that is because of the fact that we have both across the digital journey, both post purchase, pre purchase, we're.

[00:05:00.090] - Andrew Pryfogle
Able to truly drive revenue with product recommendations and all of the sorts that really help drive that revenue and that bottom line impact.

And because we're purpose built for retail, we have built in retail ontology that understands and masters all of the immediate and common retail use cases of where's my order, all of those ads of lost items make good product questions. All of those things are built in. However, I don't want to get too stuck on the fact that we're out of the box because we have the ability to super customize and really learn individual platforms as well, and individual brands and, of course, speed, right?

Because of all that, we're quick. We can go live, we can get out of the box, out of the gates excuse me, and have instant ROI to draw toward it as we deploy modularly. So that's another factor for us. Yeah, great. I just want to paint the picture really quick of really what I'm alluding to here is we're built to drive resolution, reduce redirection, reduce friction. We talk about where it came from, the first human force. And then you had the dialogue flow chat bots that were really gave a bad stigma and they have a bad taste in your mouth.

[00:06:22.710] - Andrew Pryfogle
A lot of redirection. And everything where we offer understanding your brand, knowing your products, giving you everything under one pane of glass, offering you carousel features, add to your cart revenue generating components. Everything can be done within one pane of glass across all major communication channels.

Talking, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram all of these things are valid, tested as well and approved through our platform. So really powerful components here.

[00:06:51.650] - Trevor Imani
Fantastic. You have a great customer case study to talk about where you've seen this live and in action and the results that it's driving. I believe it's PacSun. Am I correct?

[00:07:03.660] - Trevor Imani
It is, yeah. Let's jump into that. Thanks for that. That's a perfect segue. So PacSun a very household name.

Everyone's heard of PacSun. I lived in Hawaii for several years, and PacSun was just that. It was just one of the ones you wanted to dress like. And their biggest challenge was that they were inundated their call center, was inundated with WISMO, Track and Trace, where's my order? All these order issues, all of these aspects. And they were able to deploy digital worker that powered that area of paying for them and immediately saw incredible ROI.

And they were able to get 80% of resolution out of the gates with that because our solution was able to handle, understand, and intuitively resolve these inquiries that were coming in from the chat. Now, that doesn't discredit the fact that the human is still an important factor to what we bring to the table.

But let's be honest. If we can understand and get into a chat, want to know where our order is, and get it all resolved under one pane of glass, everybody's happy. This drives a massive, massive win for the organization, for the client. And I hate to bring up the swear word that is COVID, but it did change the way that we buy online and the expectations and the experience that people need to have.

[00:08:26.500] - Trevor Imani
Yeah, no question. I love this story around PacSun because there's so many retail brands out there that are trying to balance this idea of automation with this other priority of creating personalized experiences, frictionless experiences. And we all have examples of this gone horribly wrong where I'm on a retail brand, maybe I've placed an order, I need some help. I go to a chat bot that's prominent on the website, I click on that to ask a question and what comes back is here are these eight knowledge base articles that it expects for me to sort through and read and kind of solve my own problem.

And at the end of the day, maybe with the best of intentions, it just frustrates the heck out of me. Right. I don't leave feeling really good about that brand. I leave feeling like that brand doesn't want to engage with me. Call deflection or call avoidance are things that many brands have embraced to their detriment, I believe.

[00:09:32.100] - Andrew Pryfogle
Do you agree with that 100%? I do agree with that 100%. I'm going to come back on camera here. So that is absolutely call deflection is definitely something that people are gearing towards 100%.

[00:09:47.370] - Andrew Pryfogle
And the idea of just deflecting a call, yeah, that means live human doesn't answer it. But what happens if that doesn't resolve my issue, right? What's the ultimate outcome of that, Trevor?

[00:10:03.470] - Trevor Imani
It depends on your systems that are in place. But if you don't have the when you get a call deflection and the system isn't resolved, what's happening is you're creating frustrations. You're creating a push around for the organization like the client. Right. They're going to be offline. The agents are not available. There's not a 24/7 capability. This is going to cause a lot of friction and a lot of bad taste in the mouth and then there's no resolution and then there's sometimes in cases. For instance, one of my favorite brands, I inquired about a big purchase that I just bought and they put me on a 14 hours to three day wait list to get back in touch with.

In today's day and age, that's just not okay. Right. I'll find another brand that has a similar product of equal quality and I'll go that route.

[00:10:53.510] - Andrew Pryfogle
Yes. Is it driven by speed? Is that the main priority of a consumer that says, I have a question, I want an immediate answer and if I'm not getting that immediate answer, I'm disappointed, I'm frustrated. My CSAT is much lower than where it should be.

[00:11:12.230] - Trevor Imani
I would say it's twofold. I think speed is great and it is absolutely a factor, but I think quality of your experience is the biggest one there, right. Everybody knows that automation and AI is the big buzzwords and it's where everything's trending.

But at the end of the day, we really don't want to think we're talking to a bot and we don't want to really think that that's going to be our experience.

We want to have the most intuitive conversation that we get to resolution. And as a customer and a consumer, you actually resolve, you have less stress, no heartburn, you got to what you needed to do. And then of course, you do want the ability to have the human element. You do want to have the ability to speak to a human, which is what also sets Link apart is that we understand intent and we understand sentiment. And when the conversation, all the customer has to do is say this isn't helpful.

[00:12:05.130] - Andrew Pryfogle

[00:12:05.710] - Trevor Imani
We kick it right off to the back end solutions kicks the agent set up for success. Rich contextual everything that took place. So to answer your question, I think it's multifold really. There's a lot of factors but speed is absolutely one of them.

[00:12:21.860] - Andrew Pryfogle
Yeah, for sure. Speed of resolution. My wife bought a gift for my daughter for her birthday a few months ago and I think it was like some sort of gift basket charcuterie thing, whatever, shipped it to her and Hannah, our daughter lives in Boston. About 05:00 that evening it had not been delivered yet and I remember my wife panicking. Oh my gosh, she hasn't got her present yet. It's supposed to be there.

She goes through her phone looking for a confirmation email and so forth and she's looking and looking and looking. I am sitting right there. I go to the website of the retailer, I won't mention the name and I bring up a chat bot and I ask the question where's my order? And it responds back immediately what's your last name? Trifogle.

What's your billing zip code? And I pop that in there and 3 seconds later it came back with a complete status of my order that the order was being delivered in the next 30 minutes and it completely resolved our concern and sure enough, within 30 minutes the order was delivered.

I got to that answer in about 30 seconds from the time I started the inquiry to the time I got my final answer before my wife could even find her confirmation number.

[00:13:39.430] - Andrew Pryfogle
That's an amazing experience. Those are the types of experiences that Linc is creating every single day.

[00:13:45.260] - Trevor Imani
They are. I'll actually fine tune that and take it one step further. In the world of Linc, that experience for the client would be under one pane of glass and under one actual tech stack.

They wouldn't have to have multiple different components. The use case that you just explained to me in the fact that we eat, sleep and drink this world, I already notated probably two different technologies that the customer would have to have relationships and vendor agreements with where we shoulder those complexities. And we have the built in RMAs, we have the built in service engines that allows the just you streamline the entire process.

[00:14:25.290] - Andrew Pryfogle
Yeah. A lot of what you guys do is also run the integration with back end systems. Every retail brand out there has likely some sort of order management system. Maybe they're using something like Shopify. Maybe they're on Zendesk, maybe they're on something else. For your platform to work seamlessly, you have to integrate it with all those back end systems. Talk about how you accomplish that. And how complicated is that?

[00:14:56.210] - Trevor Imani
It's not that complicated. Let me actually talk to you a little bit about that. So we have powerful pre built integrations already built in with all of the major ecommerce platforms. Customer communication solutions and shipping logistics. Over 1000 different shipping and logistics. Right. So this is a big, big thing. And shipping over to 189 different countries already. Right. And these are battle tested agreements and partnerships that are already there. These are not something that has to be reestablished every time you bring on a new client. These are already there. And we also integrate seamlessly with all the customer service solutions. All of those aspects, the back ends, the gladly, the customers, the five night world. The integration is battle tested. It is there. We have customers across all different portfolios that are on these different platforms. It is very seamless and very battle.

[00:15:53.160] - Trevor Imani
Tested with those pre built integrations. That also shortens the amount of time it takes for you to stand up a new customer.

[00:16:00.950] -Andrew Pryfogle
Exactly right.

[00:16:02.130] - Trevor Imani
Yeah. Talk about that. What does an implementation look like for a typical client?

[00:16:06.610] - Andrew Pryfogle
Yeah. Which is one of our three pillars. Which is the speed correct? Was that last pillar depending on and I want to make sure I never over speak for my CS team. Right. I want to always keep it within the thing, but you're looking at around six to eight weeks to get stood up. But the beautiful thing is, we have the modular approach, as we talked about a little bit, is you don't have to deploy the full platform right out of the gates. You can pick and choose where you want to really deploy the digital workers, whether it's post purchase, pre purchase, if your pain point right now is post purchase, and it's ordered order issues and track and trace with all those aspects, we can deploy those digital workers, get them really started, and then slowly deploy the other aspects of the digital workers. So, truly, six to eight weeks up and running to start seeing an actual impact and some ROI, and then slowly start rolling out the other digital workers as well.

[00:17:03.210] - Trevor Imani
Got it. That's attractive. It doesn't have to be this all or nothing kind of proposition, specific use cases in the business.

[00:17:12.010] - Andrew Pryfogle
We're seeing a huge trend right now that a lot of organizations are really trying to really become lean and really hone in their track and trace their post purchase and all of that aspects and what we bring to the table is a completely game changer.

[00:17:27.750] - Trevor Imani
Yeah, indeed. I love that. Many of the brands that we work with, they have large contact centers. Hundreds or thousands of people that are taking calls or replying to emails, chats, whatever. And if you're able to redirect some of those labor dollars to pay for a solution like this, the ROI can be incredibly compelling. There's also kind of another category of brands that are newer brands that are hyper growth brands that are maybe they haven't built big contact centers, maybe they've tried to do kind of embrace self service from the get go as kind of native to their business. Even those types of companies, you're able to help those brands that have tried to do digital self service only. For example, right, where there's not a phone website, you can't call these people, you got to send an email or a chat or something like that. You're even driving significant improvements for those brands. Talk about that.

[00:18:27.720] - Andrew Pryfogle
We absolutely are. We have one of our clients, Pharmacy Beauty, that actually was merging brand of the Proctor and Gamble portfolio that actually didn't have a massive very minimal contact center space and agent count, but they had a very complex use case. They wanted to basically take a skin quiz, pull it online and have it all automated. And if you imagine the complexities of every different types of skins out there, complexities and all those aspects again, emerging brand to the point you made, that they're an emerging kind of I call them the sexy brands that are coming up in the space that are looking for that fully self service. But absolutely we were able to come in there and show an extreme amount of value right out of the gates. And that is the ultimate goal for us. Right. It's not that we're coming in to completely reduce human capital, but a digital workforce, an infinitely scalable digital workforce can truly be deployed and it doesn't really matter the size of your contact center or your aging count. That said, what it does do is allows your current agent counts, whether you have a massive agent count or you have a smaller contact center.

[00:19:37.710] - Andrew Pryfogle
It allows you to replicate the rock stars, let them handle the strategic calls that need to be handled. And the tactical calls are handled by the automation, the ones that really need to be quickly answered and that can be simply answered by the automation that is really painted the perfect picture.

[00:19:55.370] - Trevor Imani
Yeah, that's fantastic. It's interesting to see how many brands are out there that have just come on the scene in the past 18 months or so that are trying to embrace this digital only kind of interaction. I do a lot of business with a company in that category I won't mention, but I love their product. I'm a huge fan of their product. But when I need support, the way they handle support is send us an email and we'll get back to you within 48 hours. Right? Which is so frustrating. Right. So to be able to automate that whole experience so that that brand doesn't have to necessarily staff up to address that, because that's how we've always done it. Trevor right. If I want to create a better experience, I hire more people. And in today's world, you can't do that anymore. That's not practical. Instead, I can automate and delight at the same time. Am I right?

[00:20:52.500] - Andrew Pryfogle
Absolutely. And to that point, I don't know how many times that we've all gone onto a website, we try to find the contact us, we try to find the chat. If there is a chat, it's completely hidden. This is purpose built. And the reason it's purpose built is because they don't have the back end capability to support the volume in which if people did start getting inquiries and really find they want to leverage that link comes in and resolves that and actually makes it so you don't have to hide that component and you also don't have to be in fear of that. Now, shift in volume, we typically see a 20% to 30% shift from email to chat, phone to chat, once you deploy a 24/7 chat. Right. And that is something that you want to have a solution that is capable of getting the resolution and resolving that. There's no point in deploying a solution that's just going to prompt people to your contact center and bog it down with high volumes. And now you're paying. As we all know, it's a cost center, it's a lot of money to pay and retain all of these reps.

[00:22:00.940] - Andrew Pryfogle
And another huge benefactor of our solution is when you're playing in the retail space, seasonality is a huge thing. Peaks of hiring and then firing and laying off and then training and retaining. If you think about being able to build a digital workforce that models your rock star agents, that can do the work of several rock star agents, you're truly in a beautiful place to be able to weather those peaks and valleys of seasonality as well, which is huge. You go into the holidays and then once holidays are over, turn season again. It's not whether you choose to do it, it's when you choose and the right partner to choose.

[00:22:47.250] - Trevor Imani
Yeah, I'm working with a client right now in this space. And by the way, let me pause for a second. We've got about seven minutes left. If you have any questions for Trevor in the team at Link, type them into the chat window and we'll make sure to tee those up in our final minutes here. I was mentioning, Trevor, you talk about seasonality. I have a brand that we do a lot of work with, steady state. Throughout the year, they have called about 15 support people in their contact center. That's it 15, pretty small team. And come, come the holiday season, November, December, that ramps to over 300 and then it turns around and ramps back down in mid to late January. Right. Part of their priority as a brand is they have a whole team on the HR side that recruits hundreds of people and they do this sprint for a full six weeks to get the team in there and train them up and stand them up and then get through the season and then turn them back down. It's a massive drain on the business. But like I said before, that's how we've always done it.

[00:23:58.330] - Trevor Imani
What's exciting is that's not how we have to do it going forward.

[00:24:02.780] - Andrew Pryfogle
No, we're living proof that that's exactly how not only you don't have to do it, if you really break down a business, it's not really the best approach, period.

[00:24:12.950] - Trevor Imani

[00:24:14.690] - Andrew Pryfogle

When you say ramp agents and ramp, there's so much revenue and dollars associated with that word ramp.

[00:24:21.750] - Trevor Imani

[00:24:22.850] - Andrew Pryfogle
To onboard, to train. And again, the point of our solution is not to I never want to paint the picture. I'm a huge advocate of not reducing the labor force and human capital. But there's more strategic roles for your agents to be able to handle the calls that truly need to be handled and automation can absolutely get involved there. I do see a question in here around code and my technology knowledge only goes so far, but if you want me to read these and answer it as much as I can, yeah, I'll tee that up.

[00:24:55.070] -Trevor Imani
So the question from James about a lot of no code, low code platforms out there that try to automate workflows on the self service side of retail. There certainly is a lot of attempts out there by companies that are trying to automate some of this stuff through workflow automation. Would you say that's also an approach of what you're doing or is your approach different?

[00:25:23.990] - Andrew Pryfogle
So when you say workflows, we actually can automate the entire process. We move away from like when you're talking about dialog flows and everything of that sort. That's not what we do. We do not have any dialog flows. We leverage natural language processing, conversational AI. We have an intent based answering process, not a build it. You have to write it all down and do it all that and build it yourself. Like our solution, which is another one of the big differentiators is we have moved away from the dialogue flows, the dialogue trees. That is not what we leverage. And of course, I don't want to as head of sales dive too deep into a technical realm where I get lost in the weeds because I'll call myself out in that sense. But I do know for a fact that that is an area where we absolutely differentiate.

[00:26:19.180] - Trevor Imani
Yeah, and I think, Trevor, what I would say on that too is that there's been a lot of engines that have been built that are built around the concept of simple, like keywords and key phrases. And if the engine hears this, then respond to that. If you hear this word, respond to that. And it's certainly perhaps it's better than nothing, but I would say it's slightly better than nothing because intent is really what's hard to understand. Right. And that's where the real science behind this and the real hard work behind this happens is being able to understand the intent and tone and conversation like a human would. And that's what you guys have really nailed, which I love to see in action. Another quick question here, and this is around payments. Good question. I suppose even PCI compliance, right?

[00:27:14.440] - Andrew Pryfogle

[00:27:15.050] - Trevor Imani
Are you in the middle of the payment stream, if you will, for a consumer at one of your brands websites? Yeah.

[00:27:22.030] - Andrew Pryfogle
So this is a great question, and it comes up a lot in our sales cycles. We actually don't play in the world of taking credit card information. We do not want anything to do with your PII information. We do not even want to approach being PII compliant or anything like that. But the other part of the question is we can connect to the payment processing software. We can push them to that. We can still make it a seamless scenario. They can do the whole process through one pane of glass. However, when it comes to PII and getting payment information, that's not a world that we play in, but we can still make the experience very seamless. But just candid response there.

[00:28:03.850] - Trevor Imani
Yeah, but that same kind of integration. What's also really fascinating to me is when it comes to payments, the fact that you guys can integrate with the leading kind of processors there, that's important. What's amazing to me is how many brands I talk to, where I get on the phone with a live person, I go to make a purchase decision, and a minute later I find myself reading my credit card number over the phone to a salesperson. Right. That's fraught with danger. That by itself, by the very definition, is not PCI compliant. There's some benefit in brands moving more consumers towards this digital interface where through these integrations you just mentioned, you can take that completely out of scope. Am I right about that?

[00:28:48.430] - Andrew Pryfogle
100%. And I have an actual example. So in my previous role, I was selling an automation solution that moved, that helped augment the agents during COVID again bringing up COVID. A lot of the agents went back into their homes. They were working from their houses now. A lot of agents were taking credit card information at their homes. Just writing them down was very unsecured, a lot of bad things. In fact, a very major bank was fined upwards, $80 million for this and paid a substantial fee for the violation of PII compliance. You want to be great at what you do, but you also want to partner within the areas that people handle that part of the business. We sleep and drink this automated Gen Three chat solution. We're not trying to be a payment processing company by any means.

[00:29:43.210] - Trevor Imani
Got it?

[00:29:43.710] - Andrew Pryfogle

[00:29:44.730] - Trevor Imani
Excellent. One last question, and we're out of time here, but a question from Linda. Is your pricing model per user, or is it based on per resolution? Give us a sense. How do you structure pricing?

[00:30:00.600] - Andrew Pryfogle
Yeah, so pricing is kind of based off of a lot of different factors, but we take into consideration how many inquiries are coming in the volume, the average order value. A big piece of what we do is we draw everything of our pricing tied to an ROI analysis. So everything is tied to what ROI that we can bring to the table, and then we kind of build out our pricing that way. But we're not based on a per seat fee. We do base it off of a resolution or integrate excuse me, how many inquiries are coming in order volumes, average order volume, and all those aspects.

[00:30:39.590] - Trevor Imani
Got it. I've seen your ROI tool. It's really impressive. And that's definitely what's driving these decisions around people implementing this is what's the hard dollar financial justification for it. Trevor, we're out of time, but this has been a great conversation, and for those on the call, I would encourage two things. One is, if you plan on being at Shop Talk in Vegas the end of this month, that's a massive retail show. Link has a great presence there. I'd encourage you reach out to us at CX Effect. We can help coordinate a time for you to meet the meet our friends at Link and for you to see this live and in person. You can also go to Cxbasecamp.com. That is our platform for customer education and enablement. You can go in there and log in as well. It's free for you to use. There's some great information about Link there as well, and let us know. Trevor, thanks for posting that booth 254 at Shop Talk. We're excited to see you guys there. I hope this was helpful. This has been a great conversation. We have this recorded. We'll have this posted up at CX base Camp in the next couple of days, and we encourage you to pass it around to your peers.

[00:31:53.750] -Trevor Imani
Let's continue this conversation. Trevor, great job, my friend.

[00:31:56.800] - Andrew Pryfogle
Thank you so much, team. I appreciate it, everybody. Thank you.

[00:31:59.650] - Trevor Imani
Thanks, everyone.

[00:32:00.530] - Andrew Pryfogle
Bye bye.

[00:00:37.980] -Andrew Pryfogle

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