What do you know about your customers? You likely have their demographic information and some other valuable facts. However, do you understand their customer intent?
Customer intent is the true purpose behind a customer’s actions in a single experience with a business. Ignoring this information can lead to missing valuable information and potential sales.
We will explore the importance of customer intent and what your business can do to gauge that intent and respond to it.
- Customer intent is the goal a customer has for each business interaction.
- With high customer expectations, customers expect businesses to understand and respond to their needs and intentions.
- Businesses can predict and react to customer intent by gathering data and identifying key customer touchpoints.
What Is Customer Intent?
Customer intent is what a customer wants to accomplish in one interaction with a business. This could mean going to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk or getting a more affordable cell phone data package. These are examples of purchasing intent.
There are typically four types of purchasing intent, as seen in the image below.
In other instances, customers are not looking to buy something. Sometimes, they intend to lodge a complaint, get help with a problem, or get more information before committing to a purchase.
With all these considerations, customer intent can be seen as customer actions and decisions that lead toward their desired goal.
Customer Preferences vs. Customer Intent
Customer preferences are the items and interactions that a customer favors over something else. This could be as simple as preferring solid-colored shirts over patterned ones or phone support over email support. Individually, customer preferences aren’t too revealing. However, when taken as a whole, all unique customer preferences can be a good predictor of their intent.
While customer preferences are important, the overall customer intent will always win. For example, a customer might have only ever expressed a preference for black shoes. That is all the information you know about them. Then, unexpectedly, they have the intent to purchase a red dress. If you are not ready to react to that intention, you might miss a sale.
How Do You Gauge Customer Intent?
Customer expectations are higher than ever. According to the State of the Connected Customer report from 2020, 66% of consumers expect businesses to understand and react to their needs.
Because of these high expectations, the traditional sales funnel needs to change. The customer journey is not a straight line. It has become more cyclical and hectic. You want your customers to keep coming back to you and tell you exactly what they want. However, this does not usually happen. It is your job to understand and gauge your customers’ intentions.
To do this, you need to look at intent-filled moments that give you a glimpse into their thoughts. There are a few ways to do this.
1. Collect Intent Data
Every time your brand interacts with a customer or potential customer, you should be collecting data. This should include information from your website, person-to-person interactions, social media platforms, and any other sources.
Data can be divided into two categories:
- Observed: Observed data is straightforward. It is information you have gathered straight from the source and is generally accurate. This could include consumer preferences and demographic information.
- Inferred: Inferred data is trickier and is based on a client’s behaviors. This data requires more interpretation and is less accurate. However, it is still valuable and can be a good indication of a client’s intent.
2. Identify Key Customer Touch Points
While many customers may start their journey on your homepage, this site usually does not reveal customer intent. Where they go after visiting your homepage is usually the best place to start.
- Are they typing a search query into your search bar?
- Are they browsing through menus to find a specific category?
- Are they signing up for your newsletter?
- Are they requesting more information through your contact form?
Once you know where and how customers are interacting with you, you can start deducing their intent.
3. Create Content Focused on Pain Points
The goal of any business is to offer solutions for customer pain points. What problem is leading customers to your website?
When you know the answer to that question, you can start creating content that addresses those pain points. This could include blog posts, product resource pages, videos, and anything else that could potentially draw in someone looking for a solution to that specific problem.
Offering this content in advance makes it easier for customers to connect with your business. You can gather further data based on what they do after interacting with your content.
This video from Think with Google gives an overview of how businesses can quickly react to customer intent.
Using AI Automation to React to Customer Intent
Targeting the intent-filled moments you identify may give you a significant boost in revenue. Many businesses rely on automated techniques to respond to those moments.
One of the most popular types of automated marketing is done through email. These are pre-written emails that are automatically sent after a customer does a certain action. For example, if a customer adds items to their cart and then abandons that cart. This moment showed your customer intended to buy that item, but then something happened. Maybe they got a phone call or got distracted some other way. When they get your email within an hour, it can remind them to finish what they started.
Televerde Can Help You Understand Customer Intent with Inbound Customer Care
If you are struggling with customer intent regarding customer care, Televerde can help. We offer outsourced customer care with minimal ramp-up time and the ability to adjust to market changes. Our expert customer service representatives are trained to listen to customers to understand their needs and intents carefully. We want to make sure every customer is satisfied.
By choosing outsourced customer support, you can focus your attention on what you are good at – working on your business. We offer solutions for customer service, order processing, after-hours support, media support, and help desk services.