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What customer confusion tells you about your customer experience

What do:
a) the sinking of the Titanic,
b) the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ disaster during the Crimean war, and
c) the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident all have in common?

Application screen with graph visualization and customer-agent transcript

The answer: Miscommunication played a major role in all of them.

How clarity and confusion fit into customer experience (CX) 

Being clear helps customer support agents keep customers satisfied and conversations short. Similar to other attributes of high-quality customer support, clarity translates into savings and increased revenue for your company.

Clarity is one of the qualities that most CX organizations check for as part of their quality assurance (QA) program. It’s common to see line items such as “Did the agent provide clear and coherent replies throughout the conversation?” and “Did the agent exhibit clear written communication?” in QA scorecards. 

Understanding where confusion occurs in customer conversations

Continuous improvement is the key to achieving the desired clarity and reducing incidents of confusion across the thousands or millions of interactions you have with customers. As usual, listening to what your customers are actually saying is not a bad first step. Sometimes, customers themselves will express confusion, say they don’t understand something and ask for a clarification. Finding conversations where it happens uncovers opportunities for improvements: coach a particular agent, understand if some topics drive more confusion than others, or edit your agent macros and help center articles to be more explicit. 

But finding these conversations presents another problem. Of course, you can search your transcripts for common phrases a customer would say to express confusion. The issue is that human language is infinitely rich – the same idea can be expressed in hundreds of different ways. Attempting to come up with your searches on your own is too expensive. 

Taking an AI-approach to uncovering customer confusion

At Loris, one of the things that our AI does is identify turns of phrase that customers use in interesting situations that happen in support conversations, mark where they happen, and surface them to the user. We call them “Conversation Markers”. We use Conversation Markers to populate Review Reasons in our CQA offering.

The latest conversation marker that we just added to our library is called “Confusion”.  It catches the various phrases customers use to express confusion and misunderstanding. 

“Confusion”,  like all other conversation markers can be used in filters in CQA to find conversations to review and in our Investigation Tool in order to spot trends.

Remember how I said there are hundreds of ways to express the same idea in a human language? Here are just some examples of customer messages from real support conversations that the Confusion Conversation Marker found:

By looking for phrases that demonstrate a lack of understanding and need more direction, we can more accurately, and completely, address the set of conversations that involve confused customers. Searches using keywords would either return too many irrelevant interactions or conversely miss interactions that don’t use that specific keyword. 

The clearest way to get started looking for confusion

This approach requires a few things to begin. 

1. The first and most obvious need is conversations with customers, whether those are voice calls, email interactions, or chat transcripts. These don’t have to be from the beginning of time, but in general, the more the better. 

2. Next you need a team responsible for triaging these incidents as they occur, typically QA managers and analysts. Beyond bringing awareness to these issues, this group can also affect change that removes or lessens confusion through agent coaching and retraining.

3. Lastly, someone significantly high up in the organization, such as the Head of CX or Chief Customer officer, must involve other leaders in the organization to handle non-CX related issues. With the proper visibility and willingness to address confusion stemming from product terminology, company policies, or other issues outside the control of the CX group, the entire organization can be a vehicle for customer experience optimization. 

This last point is perhaps the most ambitious – making your CX organization the customer feedback loop of the entire organization. But it also has the greatest potential to benefit both the company and its customers. Clearly. 

Heading to CCW Las Vegas June 4th to 6th? 

Stop by booth #1201 to connect with the Loris team or reserve your time in advance before schedules fill up!