How lack of context is crippling customer support

Here's a snapshot of a typical customer support experience:

You have a problem, so you contact the customer support chat and try to explain to them what's going on. What follows is a nightmare of being bounced between different departments and agents, and you have to re-explain the issue every single time you're passed on to someone new.

AI and omni-channel support chats were built to make our experience as customers easier, and to make the jobs of the CS agents more seamless. Yet here we are, in a nightmare of conversation silos and bad customer experience.

So what exactly is missing from these tools? The answer is context.

if you don't understand from the get-go who your customer is, why they're contacting you, where they're coming from, and who they spoke to before you, you cannot deliver a personalized customer experience.

Maintaining context when there are multiple conversation channels (messaging apps, web-chats, voice assistants, etc. etc.) is really hard, if not downright impossible.

The context is there, but it gets lost as it is passed around, and most businesses don't know what to do with the information.

Automation is a context killer

the problem with current conversational technologies is that they only focus on the surface level. Chatbots are designed to only process exactly what is being said in the conversation and send back the most relevant response. The context of the conversation is totally lost.

Chatbots work by asking a set of questions, in a tree-like structure, until they gather all the information they need to proceed. However, human conversation is unstructured and doesn't follow a specific order.

People tend to jump back and forth between different points in the conversation, even changing their minds multiple times throughout.

Chatbots also don't understand the context of the person on the other side, like where they are, who they are, why they're trying to do something, and how they're trying to do it.

They have no ability to store and revisit the information at a later date, and this information isn't passed on to human agents effectively - so the context is lost.

What's left is a frustrated customer, and little to no information for the support agent to work with in following conversations.

We need to start thinking about customer conversations as interactions between human beings, rather than a constant flow of data.

Mapping out customer identities, and developing an accurate picture of who they are is not only going to help you improve your sales, but it will also help you figure out how your customers use your product, what their problems are, and if your product truly solves their problems in the most effective way.

People want to talk to people, and they want to feel like their needs are being catered to, not that they're being given the same generic automated responses.

Author

Emma Bakh

CX Manager

Contributor