Customer Service Automation Operational Excellence

Customer Intent: How to Understand, Capture & Leverage It

By Simon Brennan 7 September 2023

A contact centre might receive thousands of calls every day. Some are from customers with specific questions or requests, while others are more general enquiries. Being able to capture data on those drivers – and use it to recommend improvements – can be a game-changer for customer experience, employees, improving operational efficiencies and ultimately cost savings.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of customer intent and discuss effective strategies to capture and leverage this invaluable insight.

What is customer intent?

Customer intent refers to the underlying purpose or motivation behind a customer’s interaction with your company. It’s the ‘why’ that propels their engagement – whether it’s seeking information, troubleshooting a problem or making a purchase.

Sometimes, customer intent is straightforward and obvious. A customer with a technical problem is calling to fix that problem. But sometimes, it’s more complex. For example, customers who call and claim they want to cancel might really be looking for a better deal. And customers often call asking about one thing and then pivot to ask about something else.

By deciphering the nuance of customer intent, you can gain a deeper understanding of needs, preferences and pain points – and more effectively address them.

Why capture intent?

Capturing customer intent is akin to unlocking a treasure trove of insights. Here are key areas where you see clear benefits:

  • Customer experience – When you better understand what your customers want, you can tailor your interactions to meet their needs more effectively. This leads to heightened customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Personalisation – Armed with knowledge about customer intent, you can better personalise your offerings, recommendations and solutions. Personalisation not only boosts customer satisfaction, but it also drives cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
  • Efficiency – Grasping the customer’s intent from the outset streamlines the communication process. This results in faster query resolution, reduces back-and-forth interactions and increases first contact resolution rates – saving time and money for you and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Average Handling Time (AHT) – With a clear understanding of customer intent, you can provide targeted solutions swiftly, reducing the time customers spend interacting with your support teams.

How do you capture customer intent?

  • AI Chatbots
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots are at the forefront of capturing and capitalising on customer intent. These intelligent assistants use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the context, tone and intent behind customer messages. They can swiftly categorise enquiries, route them to the appropriate department and even provide automated responses for common queries. The more interactions AI Chatbots engage in, the better they become at recognising and predicting customer intent.
  • Conversational Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology
    IVR systems with advanced analytics can decipher customer intent from spoken or keypad inputs. By offering self-service options and directing callers to the right resources, IVR technology not only improves the customer experience by getting them help faster, but it also collects data on specific needs. You can then harness this data to refine your approach, identify trends and proactively address future challenges.

Understanding, capturing and capitalising on customer intent helps you take customer experience to a new, data-driven level. By harnessing insights from customer intent, you can customise services, reduce handling times and, ultimately, foster stronger relationships.

Want to learn more about using customer intent to improve efficiency? Download our whitepaper.

See other posts by Simon Brennan

VP Sales

Simon Brennan has more than 14 years’ experience in the customer engagement sector, working with a wide variety of companies from tech start-ups to FTSE100 organisations. He is an expert in improving corporate customer communication, using technology to supercharge internal processes and deliver increased sales. Simon has a strong track record of successfully delivering cross-channel communication solutions for Engage Hub's corporate customer base, across multiple divisions within an organisation.

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