Regardless of how well-structured and clear your website is, customers will always need and want to contact you. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make that experience as positive as possible. Providing customers with proper support when they experience an issue is crucial for your business, and may turn out to be a win instead. There are many ways to do this, and natural language processing (NLP) opens a lot of possibilities. To help you improve the communication with your customers, let’s have a look at universal guiding principles that remain relevant for every business.
1. Have the right tools
Sometimes, the best way to help others is to make sure that you have the right tools at your disposal. Being a customer care agent may be challenging due to the sheer volume of potential problems and solutions. That’s why it can be challenging to give the customers the correct answers. This is when NLP comes in handy! First of all, it can provide recommendations for answers by learning from conversation history. Not only is it more time-efficient, but the agents also remain in control.
Secondly, NLP also helps improving document search. NLP techniques allow you to express what you want to find semantically — helping you find the closest matches instead of looking for the exact matches. Finally, the interaction with the customer is not always the bottleneck. Customer care agents may spend much of their time raising tickets internally to resolve issues. You can speed up this process by, for example, building a simple chatbot.
2. Avoid asking unnecessary questions
There is nothing more frustrating as a customer than having to repeat yourself or answer pointless questions. This often happens when a customer has to be redirected to different people in order to fix a problem. NLP helps extract useful information such as addresses, names, or even more complex items such a problem description. Doing so allows you to summarize the customer interaction so that every new person involved is aware of what has happened up to this point. Conversation history also proves helpful in making educated guesses about the root cause or the resolution of an issue. Indeed, it may become evident that people describing a problem a certain way will generally need a certain resolution, and therefore, an agent may be able to skip a few steps and propose a solution faster.
3. Match the customer’s language
Misunderstanding often leads to frustration and longer resolution times. While there is a particular way to describe things within your business, your customers may have their own. This can become problematic when customers refer to certain concepts but use a different name than expected. NLP helps prevent these misunderstandings by analyzing keywords often used by customers. It is also crucial to meet a customer where they are emotionally. If a customer is frustrated or angry, it would be damaging to not take that into account. A technique like sentiment analysis gives you insight of how your customer is feeling and allows you to respond accordingly. This can also be used for chatbots where the answer text may be adapted to be more apologetic or even in calls where the sentiment and tone can be analyzed in real-time.
4. Quick response!
Finally, nobody likes to wait. “Better late than never” does not apply to customer care. In the era of social media, if you fail to promptly reply to a customer’s request, they are very likely to express their frustration online. A quick look through any company’s mentions on Twitter will lead you to messages primarily complaining that they came here in the hope of getting the company’s attention. A quick response is a logistical challenge, but NLP is a powerful ally. Firstly, it can categorize requests per type and therefore forward them to the right person quicker. Instead of having e-mails being passed around a company’s helpdesk, smart e-mail routing can deliver content to the right person faster. Secondly, it can also prioritize requests based on urgency. Certain topics may be more pressing than others. Sometimes, you may want to reply to a particular request faster because sentiment analysis tells you that the person is already very angry with you.
Whether you want to process requests faster or make interactions more pleasant, NLP can help you along the way. Not every solution has to be client-facing, nor do they have to replace humans fully. Customer care is a complex ecosystem that gives your business many opportunities to improve. At Mediaan, we are experienced in identifying, implementing, and rolling out custom and innovative solutions that will make a difference.
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This blog is written by Valentin Calomme – AI Engineer & Business Line Manager at Mediaan.