You can reduce confusion by 70% in your customer support channels just by doing this

January 9, 2023

When your customers contact you, they want simple solutions and fast answers. What can get in the way? Misunderstandings, confusion, and other inefficient communication.

We’ve identified a few strategies to avoid misunderstandings and customer confusion. But there’s one way that could eliminate misunderstandings and cut your customer confusion down significantly: moving more support conversations to chat. 

Offer multiple channels for communication

You can solve some problems faster - even when the issue is complex - when you use the right communication channel.

When Tethr, a conversation analytics platform, analyzed 1.6 million customer service chat conversations, then compared them with more than 2 million phone calls, we discovered that chat conversations led to far less misunderstandings. 

Tethr measures when customers or agents can’t understand each other - either because of speech patterns such as accents or speaking quickly or misunderstandings in the way someone communicates a concept. In this study, there were zero “Can’t understand you” moments in chats, compared to an average of 3% of calls with a miscommunication. 

Offering chat and email support can significantly reduce misunderstandings because customers and agents can reread the transcript as needed, giving them time to digest a concept. Likewise, some people prefer phone calls so they can ask rapid follow-up questions and derive meanings from voice inflection and tone.

When it comes to confusion, chat also outperformed phone calls. When we looked at all conversations, confusion was 3X more common in phone calls. Agent confusion, which is far worse for a customer’s experience, was 6X more common on phone calls compared to chat conversations. 

Not every conversation can take place over chat - and not every customer wants to get online to chat with agents. Whether you conduct your customer support conversations over the phone or via chat, you can still instill other practices to reduce confusion and misunderstandings. 

Train your agents to ask probing questions

If your agents don’t get to the bottom of an issue, it can easily recur. Provide your customer service representatives with a list of probing questions that can help them diagnose and issue and identify future problems. While this may extend a conversation, it also prevents repeated contacts. 

Customers may not always volunteer information they don’t find relevant. That’s why your agents should initiate questions that help them diagnose problems. 

Examples of probing questions include:

Is this the first time this happened?
What were you doing when you noticed the problem?
Can you provide more background information?
Is there anything else unusual happening?

Provide agent guidance for common problems and emerging trends 

It’s important to provide your team with the correct information they need to do their jobs. Part of that includes understanding where miscommunication and confusion occurs and why. If you evaluate your conversations at scale using a conversation analytics platform, it can recognize confusion and misunderstandings and evaluate why.

For example, if you notice that a high majority of your conversations that include misunderstandings happen immediately following an email you sent to all customers regarding a policy change, you may need to revise your messaging. If confusion spikes each month when customers receive their bills, you can provide your customer service team with a cheat sheet of common questions customers have about bills and how to respond. 

Find out how often your customers face misunderstandings and confusion. When you start analyzing your customer support phone calls with Tethr, the AI-powered platform will automatically detect misunderstanding and confusion. This helps you build a roadmap toward clear communication with your customers. Try it now.

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