You’re confusing your customers. Here’s how to stop.

Sara Yonker

August 3, 2022

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Customer confusion and how you can use AI to prevent it

Customer confusion can derail sales, complicate normal business transactions, and leads customers to misuse your product (or stop using it altogether.)

How do you know if you are confusing your customers? At Tethr, we measure that through AI analysis of customer phone calls and chats. 

Tethr’s AI-powered conversation analytics platform measures various types of confusion that happens during conversations. If you know what issues confuse your customers, you can work to train agents to explain issues and refine your messaging and communications to explain everything more clearly. 

Customer confusion: What confuses customers?

Let’s say you send out an email to all of your customers to inform them about a policy change. Suddenly, your customer contact center gets bombarded with emails, chats, and phone calls related to that message. That message caused an immediate customer reaction, but it may or may not be because customers didn’t understand it. (It could just be that they weren’t happy with a new change, for example.)

Customer confusion, on the other hand, happens when a customer specifically says they don’t understand a new policy, why an issue is happening, or how to do something. Tethr’s AI detects those moments  – and they’re more common than you might think.

We analyzed 4.1 million calls to customer support centers in a recent six-month period. We then benchmarked how companies performed to indicate where the average company performed compared to leaders.

When it comes to customer confusion, the median company had customer confusion appear on 5.8 percent of their calls. The worst-performing company had customer confusion on 15.1% of their calls. The best company had very few instances of customer confusion - just 0.5% of calls. 
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What confuses customers 


Pricing structures and packages can spur a lot of issues for customers. That’s why we measure price confusion separately. It’s especially helpful for our customers who use Tethr to monitor sales calls and see which phrases work best when making a sales pitch. 

If a company launches a new pricing strategy and sees an increase in confusion, that can indicate a need to create clear pricing models and an easy-to-understand pricing webpage. 


Your website could drive confusion,too. Lack of clarity about how to navigate to important parts of your website may prompt customers to call you - it's so common, in fact, that our research found on average 15% of calls to customer support centers mention a website issue. 

Company communications

If you change something about your product or service and reach out to your customers, make sure your message is clear.  Tethr also detects when customers contact you related to company communications, and can analyze that feedback so you can see if you were unclear. 

Agent confusion: Are your CS agents confused about how to solve problems?

Your company support center serves to help customers - not make things worse. Your agents should be a source of clarity for customers, but that doesn’t always happen.

Agent confusion happens when a customer service agent seems unsure or confused about the customer’s issue or what steps to take next. It’s the last thing your customers want, since they’ve turned to you to solve their problems, not join them in the problem.

Too much agent confusion can indicate a need for better training or different procedures. Still, agent confusion was the most common negative agent behavior found in our 2022 State of the Customer Experience study.

When we evaluated 4.1 million customer support conversations, we detected some agent confusion at every company’s calls. The worst-performing companies had agent confusion detected on nearly 24% of calls, with confusion detected at the median company at 11 %. The best-performing companies had just 1% of calls with agent confusion. 

What does that tell you? In some ways, agent confusion can be a verbal transition that agents can learn not to use. For example, if an agent says, “I’m not sure,” that signals to a customer that they might be confused, when they just say that while accessing information. Training agents to say “I will look up that information,” instead of saying “I don’t know” can improve the customers’ impression of the agent, the company, and their experience. 

Are your customers confused?

Interested in how much you confuse your customers and where you fall on agent and customer confusion? You can get a glimpse of that when you sign up for a free trial of Tethr. Once in, you can upload up to 1,000 of your own calls and see if Tethr detects agent or customer confusion on any of those calls. Learn more.

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