How Well Do You Understand Customer Intent?

INTENT word made of wood with shadow


Neil Draycott at Business Systems asks how well do you actually know your customers?

I’m talking about understanding each and every part of their purchasing journey.

What frustrated them? What made them happy? Which part made them buy from you in the first place?

If you can answer these, you’re way ahead of the curve, because according to Microsoft, 53% of consumers believe their feedback doesn’t go to anyone who can act on it.

From my experience of working in multiple contact centres, understanding customer intent has been key to improving critical variables, including:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Brand Loyalty
  • And even Employee Engagement

So how do you acknowledge customer intent?

1. Identify Those Micro-Moments

‘Micro-moments’ are described as split-second buying opportunities that, if identified at the right time and acted on at scale, can be hugely profitable.

A great example of an organisation identifying a micro-moment would be where a hotel chain conducts research to discover that many of their customers are facing the same issue: flight cancellations.

If the hotel is really up to speed, they’ll develop a way to track flight delays in real-time and trigger targeted text messages promoting nearby hotel chains for last-minute accommodation plans.

Clever, right?

I’ve seen analytics solutions help facilitate micro-moments within contact centres. By identifying correlations and trends around groups of customers (whether by demographic, use case or geographical area), you can make sure you’re in the right place at the right time for your customers. Without them even realising.

2. Gather Customer Feedback

This one’s pretty obvious – ask your customers about their customer experience or journey and why they got in touch in the first place. I say this is an obvious one, but time and time again I’ve seen contact centres fall short on their customer feedback strategy.

To carry out a successful “voice of the customer” program, start with the basics – identify When you should be asking for customer feedback. This means identifying those moments where customers are more likely to provide authentic feedback. I call these ‘moments of truth’.

Once you’ve determined this point, consider how often you should seek feedback (there’s nothing worse than too many surveys!). To help, differentiate between your customers.

Your transactional customers are driven by quick and easy purchases – send them a survey as soon as they’ve purchased something. Your relational customers are driven by brand trust and loyalty, so track their feedback over 30-, 60- or 90-day intervals for timely responses.

3. Review Your Inbound and Outbound Interactions

To truly understand your customers you also have to understand the context behind their interactions with your frontline agents. Are they having a positive customer experience? Or a negative one? Are they mentioning competitor names or words with negative connotations?

To dig deeper, review random interactions your agents are having with your customers on a regular basis. Consider an analytics solution which will analyse 100% of conversations being had across multiple channels including phone, email and social media to speed up analysis and present a more accurate view.

By doing this, you gain valuable insight into customer intent, sentiment and the customer journey. It will also help you isolate broken workflows within the contact centre and identify areas for agent improvement or training.

Don’t Put This on the Backburner – Prioritise Customer Intent Now

Understanding customer intent applies to every step of the customer’s journey, right from their interest in your product, to their service expectations, so make sure you are prioritising this.  I can’t stress enough how important this is to do.

Published On: 21st Oct 2022 - Last modified: 25th Oct 2022
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