Behind the urgent need for modern customer support solutions in ecommerce

The past year and a half has been a transformative period for retailers. There’s no need to belabour all the unprecedented challenges that the pandemic presented. And yet — according to Digital Commerce 360, the US ecommerce market in 2020 grew by 45.3% to reach nearly $850 billion in revenue, the largest year-over-year increase since the research company began its tracking. For 2021, it’s a similar growth story — if not quite at last year’s levels — projecting to $990 billion in online sales. Despite all the health and social headwinds, business overall is booming for retail and commerce.

All this increased online traffic and purchase activity brings a flood of new customers — and customer support requests. Pre-pandemic consumer behaviour would include a healthy amount of in-store, in-person support — think trying on a different sized shirt with the help of a store associate and making an exchange. But with so many purchases now happening online, subsequent service issues are also not happening in person as frequently, leading to overwhelmed remote support teams and call centres. All told, Zendesk estimates that support tickets are up by 30% since last year.

So how can your business relieve some of that burden from your customer support teams? The key is to scale self-serve tools, without compromising the quality of support. That starts with making sure your digital platforms are built out with the most relevant and helpful content for your customers: FAQs, product manuals and tutorials, help articles and more. Research shows that 73% of customers want to use a company’s website for support, so it’s worth investing in a content-rich site. Think about the last time you asked a question to Google, and how easy it was to get the correct answer back. That is the customer expectation of today and what will enable search to be a key pillar for better self service functionality

But just having the right content available isn’t enough. That’s where search comes in — and that’s why we built Support Answers.

Because your content needs to be discoverable for support-seeking customers. When was the last time you used the tabs on Amazon.com, instead of its search functionality? Not a support example, but the point remains that users will gravitate to search if it’s effective. If your business’s site and other digital platforms can’t surface that information in intuitive ways, frustrated customers will bounce and resort to contacting your business directly — or even a competitor.

Yext’s AI Search platform — built on multiple algorithms and leveraging natural language processing — understands complex questions and draws from all that content in your digital library, or Knowledge Base, to deliver direct answers to customers.

By adding AI search to your help site, agent portal and apps — including integrations with Zendesk and Salesforce Service Cloud — you can provide a superior user experience at every customer touchpoint. For example, Support Answers brings AI Search to your ticket submission form, mirroring a customer’s request description in real time and suggesting solutions to address their issue and deflect that potential ticket.

Support Answers can also be agent facing, enabling support teams to retrieve the right information more efficiently, leading to stronger morale and lower turnover.

At a time when customer expectations are higher than ever, empowering them with modern and effective self-serve tools can lead to higher customer satisfaction, customer lifetime value, and significant cost savings for your business.

To learn more about how Support Answers can help your retail brand stand out in the modern era, click here.

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