How you can use AI to power customer self-service and assisted support
“We have really good customer service!” How many times have you heard companies express this as a point of pride? Some even claim it as a unique selling proposition (USP)!
Here’s the thing, though: There’s nothing unique about good customer service. It’s not the 1970s anymore, and your customers aren’t going to sing your praises just for serving them well. It’s the 2020s, and they expect you to do so. Good customer service is no longer a differentiator, it’s table stakes—something you must have to even be in the running to sell your product or service.
Deep down, we all know this. Mottos and aspirations for improvement are important, but metrics tell the tale. Are yours where they should be?
Consider your search functionality as a case in point. Customers these days don’t want “good” search—they want search that can read their minds. Can your company provide customers the information they need regardless of where it’s located? Can it anticipate their needs?
Are there communities where users can find personalized help, so they feel valued and want to be loyal to your company? Are you making the most of AI to help enable all these functions and more?
The good news is that AI-powered, intelligent unified search capabilities, like those provided by Coveo, can help enhance your customer service in multiple ways. In this article, I explore how AI-enabled unified search can improve customer self-service and assisted support.
I examine several key service channels, including self-serve portals, online communities, call center agents, in-product support, and chatbots.
Customer self-service portals
Is there anything better than customers coming to your web properties, finding the help they need, and leaving happy and eager to do more business with you? Yes, there is: Customers doing all of that without using any of your team’s time or resources because they found the information themselves.
Self-service is all about case deflection, and AI can help here immeasurably.
Intelligent unified search automatically predicts what customers need based on both the input they provide, their past search behavior, and the behavior of users like them.
Unified search platforms can automatically tailor the content your customers receive, anticipating needs and providing the right answer at the right time.
The result? Customers who feel happy and cared for, which means better loyalty and more sales.
Platforms like Coveo are designed to connect all your institutional knowledge and channels to enhance the customer experience. You can integrate with popular tools like Salesforce and Coveo Analytics to keep track of interactions and measure how much your customer satisfaction is improving.
RELEVANCE GENERATIVE ANSWERING
To enhance the self-service experience even more, Coveo also provides integration with generative AI, to provide a hybrid search solution. This capability, called Relevance Generative Answering (RGA), is designed to integrate seamlessly with the existing user experience in a Coveo-powered search interface.
A single search box supports both lexical (keyword) and semantic search. This hybrid approach means that the search interface is able to handle both simple and complex user queries, and provides both traditional search results and a generated answer.
The answer is generated in real time on the search results page. If the user then applies filters to narrow down the search results, the answer regenerates on-the-fly based on the selected filters. The generated answer also includes citations that reference the indexed content that was used to generate the answer.
When customers can’t find the help they need on their own, there’s another resource they can turn to before directly contacting customer service agents: your online communities.
Once considered options for only the tech-savvy, today’s customers are far more accustomed to using support forums and other resources where they can share and learn from fellow users of your products and services. And today’s unified search platforms make it easier than ever.
The core of online communities is the enabling of user-generated content. AI-powered platforms go beyond the usual community resources, using machine learning to provide powerful search results and customized recommendations. You can also tailor the user interface of the community to ensure high usability and seamless integration with your overall site experience and corporate branding.
Call center support
Of course, no matter how good your AI-enabled search platform and communities are, some customers will not be able to self-serve and will need your help (some will just prefer the personal touch, regardless…).
That said, these direct human interactions should not be viewed as a “necessary evil”—with the right support framework, they can actually be an opportunity to further enhance customer loyalty.
Intelligent unified search can help empower call center agents by enabling them to draw the information they need from all organizational databases and other resources to answer questions quickly and completely.
Agents are shown the full history of interaction with the customer along with customized recommendations for content that can help resolve problems fast. Powerful tracking and metrics allow you to monitor the call center and adjust on the fly to continually improve.
AI unified search not only produces happier customers, it creates happier call center agents, too.
We said above that having customers leave your site happy can be even better if they find the help they need themselves.
Customer self-service through a fantastic, informative website and strong online communities can help make that possible.
However, being successful in today’s market means needing to always go one better than the competition, and with intelligent unified search, you can do just that by allowing your customers to find the support they need right within your product.
Platforms like Coveo can enable you to provide directly relevant content within your application, organized in a form that is ideal for customers.
They can solve problems quickly and easily, which enhances customer satisfaction not just with your support capabilities but with the product itself. You can help guide users through the product journey, gain better insights into how the product is used, and measure all of it to guide the development process.
AI-powered chatbots can be a powerful intermediate step between self-help and your customer support agents. However, how they are implemented is critically important. We’ve all experienced chatbots that seem more intended to waste our time than provide useful answers and helpful suggestions.
Customers can smell these from a mile away at this point, and you don’t want your first “interaction” with someone who needs help to be a turn-off.
Unified search platforms can help your chatbot come across to customers like a helpful butler rather than a surly security guard trying to keep them from your live agents. Using AI technology, they provide answers to common questions and recommendations based on context and history.
These smart bots can provide answers even without predefined rules, drawing information from a variety of sources. They can also capture data from their interactions with customers and provide it to human agents when needed.
Intelligent unified search tools like Coveo are using AI to revolutionize customer service and support. They provide self-service tools and in-product help to help customers find the help they need, saving your company money.
They support online communities where customers can assist each other, and they empower your call center agents with the information they need, so they can help customers better. They also use AI to make chatbots smart, so they provide the advice customers need when they need it.
How iTalent can help
Our enterprise search team has all the Coveo certifications required for customer support applications. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak about how to revolutionize the support experience for your customers. Or, visit our Enterprise Search and Personalization Practice web page to learn more about our intelligent search solutions.
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