Customer Service Automation Digital Transformation

Customer Intent: What It Is and How to Leverage It

By Simon Brennan 28 April 2023

Rising pressure to reduce contact centre costs is driving demand for automation. What should you automate, and when?

One simple place to start is intent capture and discovery. In this blog, we’ll explore what it is, how it works and how it can benefit your customers (and your profitability).

What is customer intent and discovery?

Customer intent is the specific action or goal a customer has in mind when interacting with you – whether that’s online, over chat, on the phone or via social media. It could be anything like:

  • Buying a product
  • Learning about a service
  • Chasing an order
  • Changing account information
  • Cancelling a subscription
  • Upgrading a contract
  • Fixing a technical problem

Of course, customers can have more than one intent. And their explicit intent (for example, cancelling a service) can differ from their implicit intent (they’re actually looking for a better deal).

Intent capture and discovery involves analysing all contacts into your organisation during a specific period. The idea is to help you understand how, when and why customers are getting in touch, so you can organise your resources accordingly.

The benefits of being an intent-driven contact centre

By understanding how many customers are likely to contact you at any given time – and, crucially, what they’re going to contact you about – you can optimise everything from staffing levels and infrastructure to training and development.

From an operational perspective, intent discovery can help you optimise processes and reduce costs. It allows you to staff centres at the right level, flex capacity when needed and identify areas where agents might need more support.

Understanding intent can also help you take your customer experience to the next level. When you can not only understand what your customers want, but also predict how they might behave, you can deliver a more personalised experience. This could be by routing them to the right department faster, promoting appropriate self-serve options, or recommending relevant products or services.

How to capture customer intent

At its most basic level, intent capture and discovery is done by collecting and analysing historical contact data to identify volumes, patterns and trends. As well as helping you plan more effectively, this can also help you identify any factors that influence contacts – such as weather events, marketing campaigns and public holidays.

You can then add in additional data points. This could include customer feedback, market research and competitor analysis to give you a deeper understanding of customer needs, wants and expectations.

Where does automation come in?

Analysing all this data manually would be time-consuming, difficult and expensive. But with automation, it can be incredibly easy.

Natural language processing (NLP) tools can analyse customer queries and identify underlying intent; predictive analytics can help you anticipate future customer needs. Because they’re powered by AI and machine learning, these tools can analyse data and produce recommendations more efficiently and effectively than you can manually.

Ultimately, the benefits of customer intent and discovery extend beyond operational improvements – they provide a better customer experience, which is crucial for building long-term relationships.

To learn more about customer intent and discovery, download our latest 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.

Generated with Avocode.FontAwsome (linkedin-in)