Messaging, chat bots and improving the customer experience – Interview with Donna Peeples


Today’s interview is with Donna Peeples, Chief Customer Officer of, an enterprise mobile messaging platform that features the use of intelligent automation and chatbot technology. Donna and I had a great chat about a number of things including Pypestream, what they are up to, chat bots, getting the most out of them and how customers react to them.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – How to do extraordinary things for your customers and your people – Interview with Bill Taylor – and is number 198 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.

Here’s the highlights of my interview with Donna:

  • Pypestream is a secure enterprise mobile messaging platform that leverages intelligent automation and chatbot technology to deliver exceptional customer experiences, particularly in highly-regulated environments.
  • The gaps in customer experience are leading many brands to explore intelligent messaging solutions in a much bigger way.
  • In 2017, it is estimated that 8.3 trillion mobile messages will be sent and 90% of those messages will tend to get read in under 3 minutes.
  • Many of the service calls into contact centres are repeatable and these are the ones that can be automated.
  • There have been some examples of open chat bots that have produced some odd and, at times, bad results.
  • Pypestream’s approach defends against these type of scenarios by using a ‘guard rail’ and integrated oversight approach which limits what the chat bot can respond to and maintains the quality and accuracy of response.
  • All chat bots are not created equal. Many back-office chat bots are very utilitarian in their function but many front-office chat bots have personality elements built into them to make the conversation seem more natural when engaging with customers.
  • To manage customer expectations and reactions, different brands take different approaches. Some introduce the bot to their customers, others don’t whilst others switch seamlessly between and human and bot interactions during a customer conversation.
  • Donna cites how they are working with a number of insurers that are using chat bots to help customers file, manage and track claims.
  • One of the first adopters of their technology in the insurance space is Lynx, a subsidiary of Solar Holdings, who are using utilitarian chat bots to help communication between existing software, businesses and suppliers.
  • According to Trustpilot, 66% of people will avoid a live conversation because they feel that they can express themselves better on line.
  • Nobody gets excited by calling a call centre.
  • We are not going to get rid of the call centre or email in the foreseeable future. Newsflash: Video did not kill the radio star!
  • The brands that are adopting this type of technology are seeing an increase in business through retention and upselling opportunities. They are also seeing their NPS scores improve as well as it having a positive impact on their cost control measures.
  • Even if you don’t use chat bot technology, one call centre rep can only handle one call at a time but an agent with only average skills can manage at least five chats at a time.
  • Text and SMS messaging is understood and used widely across age groups. It is the most understood and used communication protocol on the planet. It is also under exploited.
  • Human connections enabled by technology, that is the space that we are living in.
  • To get started with text/SMS messaging or chat bot technology, brands should consider looking at their FAQ page and think about how they can make it more conversational and also how they can eliminate the repeat questions that take up a lot of their agents time so that they can free them up to concentrate on the higher value, more engaging and more complex questions from customers.
  • The quick will inherit the earth.
  • Companies need to find ways to accelerate innovation so that they keep from getting disrupted.
  • Donna loves my book! (Aw, shucks!)
  • Wow service/experience for Donna is a lot to do with a way of working and it all starts with the employee. Customers first, employees always.
  • Do go to to find out more about their technology and how you can start introducing messaging into your service mix and also how you can get started with the use of intelligent automation and chat bot technology.

About Donna (taken and adapted from Donna’s Pypestream bio)

Donna PeeplesDonna Peeples joined as Chief Customer Officer in April of this year.

Donna is an accomplished entrepreneur and senior corporate executive. With extensive Profit & Loss responsibility, Donna Peeples has successfully led customer-focused change initiatives, producing revenue-growing results in a series of complex industries. In addition, Donna is also a distinguished board member of the Georgia Diversity Council, Chief Customer Officer Council, Customer Experience Professionals Association, and University of Georgia Executive Council for the Grady College of Public Relations and Communications.

Check out what Pypestream at up to at, connect with Donna on LinkedIn here and say hi to Pypestream and Donna on Twitter @Pypestream and @donnanpeeples.


Photo Credit: anotherjesse Flickr via Compfight cc

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