customer context

How to Map and Understand Customer Context

Customer context refers to a set of factors that allow agents to understand a customer need. Brands need to know how customers will use their products in order to provide the best customer service possible. Businesses have to answer questions like: Who will our customers be? What barriers will they face? Why will people want to use our products? How can we help them meet their goals?

Sometimes, customers don’t completely understand the problem they’re facing and they find it difficult to articulate what they’re dealing with. To combat this, contact center agents learn how customers interact with a product before they ever reach out to customer service. Agents then have more context to work with by the time they’re contacted by the customer.

Creating Artifacts to Understand Context

To understand customer context, businesses often create artifacts, or bits of information that are used to map out and understand context. Customer personas and scenarios are two examples of context.

1. Customer personas describe the people who are likely to use a product. Businesses have to determine who will use the product, where they’ll use it and why they’ll use it. Certain questions are answered during this stage, including: Where will the customer use the product? Why will they use the product? What are the skills, preferences and demographics of the customer?

2. Scenarios can only be developed after customer personas are laid out. Scenarios build on the customer persona as the business asks questions about customer interactions, like: What are the customers doing? Where are they when they’re trying to carry out certain tasks? How are they communicating with or accessing the brand? “What if” questions are also asked to round out scenarios and to take into account varying conditions.

Using Technology to Manage Context

What’s the point of tracking and logging communication at each touch point if that intelligence isn’t going to be used? Customers are connected to companies in a variety of ways and companies are constantly collecting data, but what are they doing with it? To uncover actionable steps, some companies opt to use software that will track and correlate customer interaction across all channels. The customer journey is then analyzed, providing customized combinations of actions and recommendations. The context engine can adapt those recommendations as the customer continues along their journey.

Why Is Customer Context Important?

Have you ever called a customer service line and been asked to explain the problem several times as you’re shuttled from rep to rep? Or have you ever entered your account information into a web chat form, but when the agent is ready to take your inquiry, you’re asked for the account information again? When customers interact on various channels over the course of days or weeks and they’re asked to explain the issue and previous interactions each time they connect with an agent, a lot of time is wasted. This is frustrating for the customer and, at times, the agent as well. Customer context aims to provide the opposite experience: personal, insightful service and a quick resolution.

Customer context is a set of known factors that enable the contact center to completely understand a need. Businesses have to know who will use their products or services and how they’ll be used. Getting a grasp on customer context requires empathy, because the company has to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. When you know your customers and context, you can understand their needs, resulting in better results for the company. This gives the brand a major advantage.

The people behind GrubHub, an online service that lets users order from their favorite local restaurants, are experts at customer context. Let’s say you place your order and pay, but forget to add the tip to your credit card. You login to your account to chat with a representative online. There’s a count down that shows your place in line; while waiting, you enter your name and question. Once you have a rep on the chat, they simply ask how much of a tip you’d like to leave and then confirm that it’ll be sent along to the restaurant. In under a minute, you receive an e-mail with the adjusted price. The rep never asks you to repeat your inquiry and they don’t need to confirm your order information because you’re already logged in. The process is hassle-free, fast and intuitive.

Ultimately, customer context leads to better customer service. Context gives meaning to interactions and helps the contact center agent recommend an appropriate course of action. Brands are able to meet customer expectations, no matter how demanding they are, and companies can evolve their relationships with customers as they move along the journey.