Customer Experience Data Orchestration

The Power of an Intent-Driven Contact Centre

By Simon Brennan 2 February 2023

There’s no such thing as a silver bullet in customer experience, but there are universals that can go a long way to solving many problems. One of those relates to customer intent.

Understanding exactly what your customers are trying to do during a given interaction is vital. Without this knowledge, you can’t identify where friction is (let alone eliminate it). And that makes it hard to increase satisfaction metrics, capitalise on revenue generation opportunities and drive operational efficiency.

In this blog, we’ll look at intent through the lens of a major operational challenge: contact centre optimisation. We’ll explore why intent matters, how to assess it accurately and what you can achieve with that insight.

What is intent?

Customers get in touch when they want something. Maybe their order hasn’t arrived on time. Perhaps they want to upgrade their service or reduce their monthly bill. There could be a technical issue.

Whatever the channel, customer intent is the driving force behind each contact.

Why is intent so important?

Well-run contact centres can drive customer satisfaction, revenue and cost savings – but only if they easily adapt to customer needs. Understanding intent allows you to home in on what really matters to customers, so you can deliver targeted solutions where they’ll have the most impact.

How do you measure intent?

On the face of it, measuring customer intent is easy: you just need to ask customers why they’re contacting you. In fact, your IVR and Chatbot are probably already doing this by prompting customers to select from options – such as billing, cancellations, existing orders or sales – when they call or start a chat.

However, there’s a problem with this method: it doesn’t account for the nuance within intent. It’s impossible to list every option. And you rely on customers correctly identifying their intent (for example, customers who think they want to cancel their account, when all they really want is to reduce their tariff). This method also fails to capture multiple intents or intents that change as a conversation progresses.

To become genuinely intent-driven, you need a combination of AI, Natural Language Understanding and machine learning integrated into your contact centre and self-service processes. The Natural Language Understanding and AI elements help capture what customers want to do in real-time (not just a best approximation based on a set of pre-defined criteria). In turn the machine learning through using this information can drive the most appropriate and personalised next best action for that individual contact.

The power of being intent-driven

Focusing on intent allows you to understand customer conversations better – especially when you do it in real-time. Real-time intent listening gives you immediate insight into what your customers care about and enables faster operational adjustments based on emerging trends, and can help shape your automation journeys. You can also use this insight to improve agent training, leading to higher morale, happier customers and increased operational efficiency.

Building automation into the mix, you also enable smarter, intent-based routing so customers get the right help faster (also making life easier for staff).

How can Engage Hub help?

Our out-of-the-box intent management solutions are equipped with pre-configured intents. They help you detect, monitor and manage customer journeys across all channels. With our Demand Product Analysis solution, you can also identify and analyse new intents, as well as build a picture of how you can incorporate automation into your customer contact journeys. Not only making it easier to identify and eliminate specific customer problems, but helping to empower agents to be dealing with more high value and supportive customer enquiries,

For more information on how we can support your contact centre, get in touch today.

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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