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We’re putting Italian businesses on the map

Yext partners Italiaonline

Yext has partnered with Italiaonline, the country’s largest digital media company. The partnership will bring Yext’s powerful technology to Italian businesses via IOL Connect, Italiaonline’s new service, which allows businesses to manage their location data online. By joining forces with Yext, Italiaonline will help businesses improve their searchability on any of the 100+ maps, apps, search engines and directories in Yext’s PowerListings Network — including Google and Facebook.

“Together with our partner Italiaonline, we’re excited to put hundreds of thousands of Italian small businesses on the map,” said Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext. “Using the Yext Location Cloud, they will be able to manage their location data online easily and in real time, reaching more customers and driving more visits.”

The partnership between Yext and Italiaonline comes at a critical moment in Italy, as mobile search continues to gain dominance throughout the world, and as the country’s ever-growing Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) community increasingly demands a one-stop-shop for making real-time location data updates.

“IOL Connect is an integrated digital location system that, thanks to the partnership with Yext, we are proud to launch exclusively for the Italian market,” said Antonio Converti, CEO of Italiaonline. ”Being found on the web is essential, especially for local businesses. We now have a powerful tool — together with our sales network and local ties — including over a thousand agents and a hundred media consultants specialising in digital marketing.”

Yext is expanding its European integrations and network rapidly, partnering with leading digital platforms and directory services throughout the continent. This latest expansion comes on the heels of several new product launches, including the Healthcare Location Cloud in the US, as well as a partnership with Snapchat to make sponsored Geofilters easy.

Avanti tutta!

For more information, check out Italiaonline’s press release.

The Next Big Application of AI Search: Customer Support

Support search

When the world went digital-only in 2020, businesses faced a deluge of questions online. 

From queries about COVID-19 protocols to how to handle no-contact returns, website visits from consumers seeking information about businesses increased by as much as 376% in some industries throughout the pandemic — rising in tandem with line-clogging customer support calls. (Raise your hand if you heard, “Please hold, your call is very important to us…” in the past year.) To handle the crisis, many businesses rushed to rethink their customer support operations. Did they need to hire more agents? Update their FAQs? 

Great questions. But one year later, even as businesses reopen and we inch closer to “normal,” we’re (largely) dealing with the same old approach to customer support that, quite frankly, still can’t solve every issue. 

The two primary options? On one hand, investing in a team of agents. This can give the benefit of seeming “high-touch,” but “high-touch” can also mean high cost: according to Harvard Business Review, the average cost of a live support interaction (phone, email, chat, etc.) for a B2B company is a whopping £9. On the other hand, providing scaled support — service via an automated phone system, chatbots, FAQs, etc. — is much more cost effective. But the problem is execution: according to Gartner, 70% of a business’s customers use these self-service tools, but only 9% end up fully resolving their issues.

To make matters worse, Forbes reports that poor customer support is costing businesses more than £50 billion ($75B) — serious money that no company wants to waste. 

So, the £50 billion-dollar question is: how can businesses reimagine their help sites to actually scale their service model — without compromising quality of support?

The self-service future?

Those stats are a little doom-and-gloom, but there is some good news for businesses: Dimension Data says that 73% of customers prefer to use a company’s website for support. And according to Parature, 84% of customers want to resolve their own issue using search, before raising a support ticket or calling customer service. So, people actively want to solve their own problems; it’s just that they (mostly) can’t with the self-service solutions that exist online today.

Why? Well, it’s tricky for businesses to answer customer service questions online. Yext research shows that a business may have to field 1000+ unique, complex queries related to support alone — which means FAQs just won’t cut it. And at the same time, support queries have been on the rise.

But there is a better way: search. Search can help deliver answers to customers without requiring more costly phone calls or manually sorting through 1,000 page long FAQ lists. But here’s the key: it has to be the right kind of search. 

Enter AI-powered search for support — which can help serve your customers and empower your agents. Here’s how. 

Turning your website into a support hero 

Let’s back up for a minute. 

Search on a business website isn’t a new thing: millions of businesses have been using keyword search to “power” their websites for the past 20 years. The problem is… the technology behind keyword search hasn’t evolved since 1999. So, when customers seeking assistance type a question into a search box, they get back a list of hyperlinks that contain the keyword, but lack the context. In other words, the search bars on most business websites don’t know what people’s questions really mean.

But consumer search engines are a different story. Over the last 20 years, Google has led the charge on making consumer search more robust. Instead of only using a single algorithm to scan for keywords and return blue links which may or may not be relevant, Google has incorporated natural language processing (NLP) to understand questions and intent to deliver actual answers.

So the key is to ensure that the search powering your business’ help site is truly modern, based in AI, and thus designed to enhance the customer experience by understanding and answering important user questions. Features like NLP and extractive QA (an algorithm that allows your website to deliver featured snippets of information from long-form and unstructured data like product manuals, tutorials, or ebooks) guarantee the rich content about your business is accessible, so that your customers to actually self-serve when they have an issue – no combing through blue links or endless FAQ pages necessary. 

This benefit applies to your own support agents as well. Beyond affecting the bottom line, having information spread across systems affects productivity — according to IDC, 36% of a typical knowledge worker’s day is spent looking for and consolidating information. If agents are equipped with AI search, they can deliver the most helpful information more quickly, providing a better experience for both themselves and the customers they’re serving.

As a last line of defence, this modern search experience can also be embedded as a customer fills out a support ticket. In real time, AI-powered search can turn a customer’s ticket description into a live search query intended to deliver helpful information, meaning customers no longer need to submit a ticket because they got the answer they needed through search.

Pretty useful, right? We think so — and that’s exactly why we decided to launch Support Answers, a suite of enterprise search solutions built just for customer support teams. It’s not just us who saw the upside; our customers did too. We noticed that Yext Answers customers were already using Answers for support use cases, which helped drive our decision to build on that demand formally and create a truly customer-driven, AI-powered solution in Support Answers.

Coming off a year of recession, there’s never been a better time to make your help site work harder for you — and for your customers — without breaking the bank on an agent hiring-spree. 

Now, with Support Answers, you can help your customers resolve issues on their own, empower your support agents to provide answers more quickly, and streamline the process of addressing support tickets. That’s a truly modern on-site search experience — with a potential £50 billion-dollar upside.

Curious? To learn more about how AI search like Yext’s Support Answers can help scale your service model and improve quality of support, visit: www.yext.com/solutions/support.

Yext Launches New Podcast, Yext Talks: The Next Wave

Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the Answers Search Company, has unveiled a new podcast as part of its Yext Talks content platform. The first season, titled “The Next Wave,” is inspired by an uptick in searches about new business and cultural norms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hosted by Yext’s Christian Ward, Chief Data Officer, and Josh Grau, Chief Marketing Officer, The Next Wave will cover an array of topics on the growing influence of digital on legacy models — from the transformation of local businesses online to best practices when designing for audiences with disabilities.

With five total episodes, Ward and Grau have interviewed a stellar lineup of guests:

  • Seth Godin, bestselling author, Akimbo podcast host, and founder of the altMBA, on the next wave of marketing.
  • April Underwood, Founder and CEO of Nearby and former Chief Product Officer of Slack, on the next wave of empowering local businesses.
  • MJ DePalma, Head of Global Multicultural & Inclusive Marketing at Microsoft, and Kelli Kemery, Senior Market Research Manager at Microsoft, on the next wave of accessible digital design.
  • Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO at EXOS and former President of Equinox and Gatorade, on the next wave of digital and connected fitness.
  • Steve Kalifowitz, Chief Marketing Officer of Crypto.com, on the next wave of digital currency and assets, like NFTs.

“As a search company, we know that so many of the questions businesses are getting online are related to people trying to figure out the new normal in a post-pandemic world,” said Josh Grau, Chief Marketing Officer at Yext and co-host of Yext Talks: The Next Wave. “While there are still many unknowns, the one thing we can count on is that even more of our time will be spent online. Our podcast aims to reveal what tech innovations are on the horizon to make our digital lives that much better — and what’s already here.”

Listeners can find The Next Wave podcast on SpotifyApple Podcasts, and the Yext Talks page. Soon, they will also be able to listen on additional platforms like Google Podcasts and Stitcher.

Check out our recent Yext Talks series too:

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