Yext: 4 Steps to Evaluate Your Customer Support Journey — and What to Do Next

Research shows customers are spending more time online and have higher service expectations post-pandemic* — meaning your organization’s customer support needs to be better than ever. BBut gauging your current support journey is tough – not to mention managing your support teams amidst the “big quit”, with more than 70% of support agentssaying they have considered quitting in the past six months.

As we explored in our recent webinar with Freshworks, support strategies need to be updated – but with companies eager to act, it can be daunting to know where to start. HHere are four steps to guide you to a successful customer support assessment.

1. Look at the touchpoints:Identify all the different touchpoints involved throughout your customer support journey. DMs through your social profiles? Live chats on your website? Phone calls or emails to your support agents? Make a comprehensive list, then think about which components of your support journey could be streamlined to be smoother.

2. Audit your knowledge management system: What system do you use for knowledge management? Do you have an existing knowledge base – and is it simple, user-friendly, and able to provide you with data to perform optimizations? Continuing to optimize how (and what) information you provide over time is key to keeping up with changing customer demands and changing behaviors.

3. Evaluate your supporting content – and assess internal enablement: You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” – and the support space isn’t immune. Take a look at your customer support content: how many support articles does your team currently have – both for internal use (helping agents provide answers to customers) andexternal use (such as public-facing resources that help customers serve themselves)? When was the last time you conducted an audit to assess whether they are organized, well-written, and accurate?

Also, what internal resources or tools do you use to keep support content manageable (and easily accessible) for your support team? Can they easily search for what they need? Assess whether your current support systems and technology stack are contributing to internal enablement, both for your general support staff and for your agents.

4. Identify (and track) important metrics:You can’t measure improvements in your support experience if you don’t know where you’re starting from, so make sure you understand the important metrics related to growth (common support metrics include CSAT/NPS, resolution time, volume of tickets, etc.).

For example: how many administrators does your support team currently have? Do you have any metrics-based goals for this year? If so, are your current supporting systems and technologies helping stakeholders achieve these key metrics?

As you assess these four categories, you’re likely to have questions. One for several companies? How to balance technology-directed and agent-directed support. You want to streamline the experience — and, let’s be honest, make support more cost effective — but you also don’t want to lose the “human touch” and alienate customers.

Here’s the good news: when it comes to delivering a better support experience by combining technology-driven and agent-driven interaction, AI search can help with both. Here’s how.

How AI Research Helps You Provide Better Customer Support – At Every Level

Let’s zoom out for a minute: our research shows that 85% of consumerssay being able to find information and resolve issues themselves without contacting customer service is either “very important” or “fairly important.” That should tell you that digital self-service options are a must for great support these days.

On the other hand, agents are still essential for providing assistance on more complex issues. Despite customers’ preference for self-service, calling support teams is still the most common practice in a variety of circumstances. In this case, AI can improve existing human workflows and help agents speed up case resolution. According to Freshworks (our new support partner!), their recent studyfound that 1 in 3 decision-makers implementing AI say that optimizing it to predict customer needs and deliver personalized experiences is a key consideration for driving returns on their investments.

So how do these two important parts of the support experience come together? With natural language search powered by AI.

For customer self-service: Implementing natural language search on your digital properties (your website, help site, etc.) allows customers to search exactly what they need help with with– and in factget an answer. This works when someone searches directly on your website, but it can also help with request forms.

By integrating AI search into your traditional support forms, you can provide relevant answers – in real time – to customers who fill in the details of their issue. This way, customers can serve themselves instead of having to contact customer support. In most situations, customers can get the answers they need without ever having to submit that form and create an additional ticket. It is an advantage when81%of all customers attempt to resolve issues on their own before contacting a live representative.

For agent self-service:Your agents can also take advantage of AI search when helping customers directly. By consolidating your help articles, guides, FAQs, tutorials, product manuals, and other data sources into one Knowledge graphyou can identify what your agents are looking for, then “and perform optimizations that increase searchability.”This in turn contributes to agent empowerment, overall team empowerment, and agent turnover mitigation. The easier your agents can find information and resolve issues, the better: 1 in 3 managersbelieve building next-generation digital platforms to help customer-facing teams work better is a digital investment priority.

“At the end of the day, the vast majority of customers don’t want to spend more time in a phone call or a chat conversation than an agent does,” explained Colin Crowley, CX advisor at Freshworks. “And that customer is in the best position to understand how they can solve their problem as efficiently as possible. Maybe [they] need to call, [or search], or chat. So when you empower customers to make that decision, you’re really empowering yourself for greater efficiency.”

Support success starts now

When it comes to customer support in an era of dwindling brand loyalty, companies can’t afford to misstep.

If you plan to launch a new support tool this year, the implementation process, both externally and internally, should be smooth. That’s why it’s essential to assess your support customer’s journey from the start – and make sure you and your team are aligned and know how to measure success.

Learn more here.

*Retail Diving,2021

Joseph P. Harris