“70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.” – McKinsey

As a customer of any product or service, we expect to be treated with respect and we trust that the brands we give our business to will cater to our needs. What we don’t expect is to feel insulted or inadequate by our experience… but it happens. Some companies are making critical mistakes, that they may not even be aware of, that are damaging their reputation, impacting customer satisfaction and ultimately losing them money.

Customer Experience Consultant, Micah Solomon, recently took to Inc.com to write about the pitfalls of customer frustration entitled “Does Your Customer Experience Make Customers Feel Stupid? Here’s How To Make Them Feel Smarter.”

Micah detailed a personal anecdote of what he described as an “unfortunate, even inhuman, design choice” at a hotel that left him feeling dumbfounded –  like he was missing out on something that should’ve been obvious to him. He went on to provide several other ways organizations are unintentionally making their customers feel foolish, one of which I can definitely relate to:

Requiring customers to contact you for the answers to questions that should be answered on a self-service basis, whether through your website’s FAQs or other means.”

Putting the fact that I work for an AI-powered search and relevance company aside and putting my consumer hat on, that statement resonates. When I have to contact an organization for help and am unable to find what I’m looking for autonomously and conveniently, I feel as though I’ve lost control of the experience and I get the impression that they don’t value my time. With all due respect to support personnel, the last thing I ever want to do is call their support center and I’m not alone. According to Coleman Parkes, 91 percent of customers would use an online support center if it were available and tailored to meet their needs. It’s 2018, self-service is no longer a nice-to-have, calling in for help should really be the last resort.

Your customers want to feel in control, they want to solve problems on their own, and they want you to accommodate their wants. How do you do that? By delivering the most relevant information to their fingertips, the moment they need it. There’s a notable distinction between providing results and providing relevant results. Relevance is driven by an insight engine that learns from the interactions of your audience and gets better with every use. AI and machine learning capabilities track customer searches, behaviors, preferences to determine what led to a successful outcome. These insights allow organizations to optimize and automate the customer experience which empowers customers to self-serve, boosts overall satisfaction and makes them feel smart.

Avoid leaving your customers dumbfounded by learning more about AI-powered search in the video below.