What happened 

Shares of LivePerson (LPSN 13.04%), a customer-engagement software company, were falling hard today after the company reported worse-than-expected fourth-quarter results. 

The company missed top- and bottom-line consensus estimates and issued guidance for the full year that was well below expectations. As a result, shares of the tech stock plummeted 50.4% as of 10:59 a.m. ET on Thursday.

So what

LivePerson reported a loss of $0.55 per share in the quarter, which was far worse than the consensus estimate for a loss of $0.35. The company's top line didn't fare any better, with sales of $122.5 million -- down 1% year over year -- missing the average analyst estimate of $126.9 million. 

Investors were also likely disappointed with LivePerson's 2023 revenue guidance, which management said will be in the range of $395 million to $410 million -- a disappointing outlook compared to the consensus revenue estimate of $551.5 million for the year. 

LivePerson has tried to spur optimism in its customer engagement business lately by highlighting its focus on the artificial intelligence (AI) powering its services, and CEO Robert LoCascio took that approach in his prepared remarks as well.

LoCascio said: "For the past several years, we have focused on the AI opportunity presented by conversational commerce experiences. I can confidently tell you that we are at the forefront of Conversational AI and leading the enterprise market with our vision to digitize conversations between brands and their consumers." 

But investors appear to be looking past the company's AI approach -- which has been a boon for other tech companies -- and are instead focusing on LivePerson's poor fourth-quarter performance. 

Now what 

Chief financial officer John Collins said that he expects the company's cost reductions to "yield double-digit adjusted EBITDA margins and positive free cash flow" from the company's core business beginning in the second quarter. 

But investors don't appear interested in waiting around to see if those projections come true. Instead, they may have focused their attention on the fact that at least two analysts downgraded the company's stock today. 

With the company's poor fourth-quarter performance and weak guidance for the full year, LivePerson has its work cut out for it if it wants to regain investor confidence.