Preventing Your Customers from Ghosting You

Preventing Your Customers from Ghosting You

/ Current Issue, Technology, Artificial Intelligence
Preventing Your Customers from Ghosting You

Knowledge, relevance, AI tools can banish the specter

One thing we all have limited patience for is poor customer service. And a recent report found that this issue may be even more serious than many businesses expect: 73% of consumers will abandon a brand after three bad customer service experiences.

Even worse? A business may never even know about the negative service their customers are experiencing. That’s because 44% of consumers will rarely or never complain to a company about bad service. They’ll just ghost.

There’s one big reason why the customer service problem continues to be a challenge. Contact center agents are struggling to provide relevant experiences to customers who are likely frustrated after trying to find the information themselves on poor quality service portals.

The Agents’ Double Burdens

Most organizations have already found some way of providing online or automated answers to the frequent, basic questions their customer ask, like password resets. Since the questions coming into contact centers are typically harder to solve, or even being raised as issues for the first time, customers have already lost patience.

It’s not hard to conclude that agents are doubly burdened. Both the relevance of online information available to customers looking to self-serve, combined with the time it takes an agent to find the relevant answer to a customer’s more challenging question, makes a big difference between a good and bad service experience.

The principles of Knowledge Centered Service or KCS—a service delivery methodology—encourage solutions to problems to be quickly documented and made available to other agents rapidly so that the same problem is not re-solved multiple times. The same applies to making that same information available to customers so that they can find it themselves, and not need to call into a support or service center team at all.

However, when customers do call, those agents need to be equipped with the latest, most relevant information pertaining to that customer’s case, product, or question. For them to be able to build upon the journey the customer has already embarked upon, they need to have insight into what the customer has already looked at to avoid simply repeating what the customer has already read for themselves.

Indeed, mature practitioners can engage the customer, continuing the conversation seamlessly, and even using this visibility into the customer’s prior journey to learn why they weren’t able to solve their problem themselves from the documents they had already looked at. So providing feedback to continually improve online information for other customers and agents alike is vital.

Relevance: the Heart of Customer Service

At their very core, contact center agents are problem solvers. They want to explicitly inform on why a package didn’t arrive on time, or why software is not working under these conditions, or how a product can work better.

Often these agents need the wisdom of other agents to solve the problem. And that also requires being able to look at different information repositories to get the right answer. There are several challenges here:

  • Agents have to know what to look for
  • Agents have to know the information exists and where it is located
  • Agents need to be able to log into the repository (usually on a second screen or different user interface [UI]). And while they are busy sifting all sorts of irrelevant information the customer screen might be timing out

Ending this chaos requires a technology stack that can unify all types of information through a single interface, because very few companies can successfully create a single knowledge base. It also requires one with intelligent search technology to surface the most relevant information in the specific context of an individual customer.

The answer lies with cognitive artificial intelligence (AI)-powered search technology. It can help give customers and agents the tools they need to provide helpful and relevant experiences every time.

Cognitive AI-powered search technology differs from other search engines by using applied AI—both machine learning and deep learning—to cut through the noise and pull the most relevant knowledge, in the context of each customer. It can predict what information contact center agents will need in certain service scenarios and recommend other relevant answers, sourcing the wisdom of other agents, in order to anticipate what other information the customer will request.

Essentially, cognitive search technology helps the agent be one step ahead of the customer. This is simply not possible at scale without AI.

Injecting Relevance Into the Experience

There are some important considerations for making search technology work for your business and unique customer service experience.

There are some important considerations for making search technology work for your business and unique customer service experience.

First, empower contact center agents to participate in the process of implementation. They are your frontline. They know best what questions customers most frequently ask and what answers are most relevant. Allow them to work hand in hand with the IT department while implementing the technology and make them involved in key decisions.

Second, training is critical to ensure agents understand the value of the new technology and know how to best use it to their advantage. Walk them through the full capabilities and answer any questions so they feel confident in using it daily without any hesitation. And don’t stop there: 52% of top performing businesses communicate regularly about ad hoc updates to the platforms they work with, according to a recent Coveo survey. Keep agents updated on these programs and solicit their feedback regularly.

Finally, make sure everything the agents will need is accessible to them in one unified place. If they have to switch between multiple apps and UIs, the benefits of cognitive search relevance are lost. Add in as many indexed content sources as needed (top performers typically index ten or more sources).

Avoiding the Ghost

Since customers often don’t report bad service experiences, it can be challenging to pinpoint issues in your customer service experience and how to fix them. That is why businesses must be proactive in implementing the right AI technology to offer relevant answers and prevent customers from ghosting.

Applied AI technology gives agents what they need, from across the entire enterprise knowledge, when they need it, and in the context of each customer. Which ultimately keeps customers satisfied and loyal to your brand.

Louis Têtu

Louis Têtu

Louis Têtu is Chairman and CEO of Coveo. He joined as investor and chairman in 2008, and as CEO in 2012. Prior to Coveo, Louis co-founded and held the position of CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Taleo Corporation, a NASDAQ-listed provider of cloud software for talent and human capital management which was acquired by Oracle. Louis had also served as president of Baan SCS, the supply-chain management solutions division of Baan, a global enterprise software company. This followed Baan’s acquisition of Berclain Group Inc., which he co-founded in 1989 and where he served as president until 1996. Louis obtained an engineering degree from Laval University in 1985 and in 1997 he was honored by Laval University for his outstanding social contributions and business achievements.

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