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How To: Create your own Diagnostic Service

Building a diagnostic service for customers to access at key points of contact with the brand, businesses can more effectively anticipate and identify customer needs, and provide them with the information they might need. Pair that with the opportunity for customers to take action on that information by making a purchase, an appointment, or otherwise moving forward with your business, diagnostic services can become a highly effective tool in conversion.

By providing a diagnostic support service, customer service can go from Reactive (customers only looking for information because they can’t find it or have a problem -> these customers are almost always going to be unhappy before they have even made contact with the business) to Preventive (customers have the information they need about a subject at their disposal, and are contacting the business to take action on that information). “Sending legitimate prospects off to an FAQ page to figure out their questions for themselves is one of the best ways to lose a sale. FAQ pages are notoriously written to defend the company’s shortcomings rather than to intrigue and guide the customer along the path to a purchase.”, David Hoos for thegood.com.

How to replace an FAQ page with an interactive diagnostic tool

Step 1: Look at your contact pipeline

When you’re treating customer requests, how are the requests received? Who is responsible for responding to them? How are customers able to find the methods of contacting you? More often than not, the efforts to provide information about products and services that a brand offers is lost to customers, and their first thought is not to go to the FAQ page but to try to contact the brand. Examine where, how, and who customers are contacting your business and you will find a wealth of information about what really matters to them, and learn more than you would care to know about the obstacles they have faced in trying to get a response.
By diagnosing the root of the issue – getting customers the information they need as fast as possible, and knowing exactly what information they are looking for – you can then start to identify the next steps to getting that information to them.

Step 2: Gather collective intelligence

Don’t be afraid to ask your customer service team, or even your customers everything they know about how a customer request has been treated, the process, and if past customers have been satisfied with the result. What’s important to know and start to tease out of this information is a clear decision path – such as what services are available for which products, what products are subject to special exceptions, where certain services are available, and also how customers can continue with taking action with the information shared. This should begin to take the form of a huge amount of information, or even a decision tree starting with the frequently ask questions and the various answers that can be given depending on certain factors (such as product, location, time of purchase, etc).

Step 3: Begin working on the structure

To provide an excellent and easy service, we recommend pursuing methods that use AI and NLP. With the power of this technology to understand the requests that are received in a conversational way, the result can be much more friendly and is ready for customer-facing service directly. For NLP to work well, it needs a structure to understand the request:
identifying the intention or why the customer is using the service. This is probably the themes of information you provide on your FAQ page, such as shipping, repairs, warranties, customisations, product information.
For each intention there is then a list of possible diagnoses. This is the possible related causes to the question – if customers are inputting directly a diagnosis that is connected to an intention, the result is immediately identified. If the diagnosis isn’t already included in the original request from the customer, the service can provide the possible answers and customers can then identify which corresponds to their issue.
Depending on the intention and related diagnoses, your service may also have a particular object that is needed to be identified. In the case that a customer is looking for information about a particular product that could be the request’s object, but if they are looking for the shipping policy for a particular country than the country would be the object – the object is a further detail that defines the request.

Step 4: Make your rules

Once the possible intentions, diagnoses and objects have been identified and mapped out, it’s important to set the rules for each combination of intention, diagnoses and object. These rules are what define the answer that should be given each time that a customer makes a request and the intention, diagnosis and object are identified.This is a classic dynamic of, “IF… THEN…”.

Step 5: Create your answers

Each combination of intention, diagnosis, object and rules will give a particular answer. This answer will describe to the customer what the available information about their request can be given, and if possible a way for the customer to take action on that request, whether that’s submitting a particular action to their local boutique or making an appointment with an internal expert. Each answer can be carefully constructed to ensure customers are brought closer to the brand, rather than further away from it at the end of the experience.

Step 6: Placement and strategy

Once a solution has been constructed, it’s important to think of the bigger picture that it can have an impact on for the business before it is deployed. It should be available to customers of course, and it should also become a tool to help internal staff and service teams and be the one source of truth about everything needed. Identifying points when a customer might be looking for further information (you should already have this information from your research in Step 2) is the ideal placement for access to the diagnostic tool, ensuring they are coming to answers before they have even needed to search for it. Integrating the solution into the brand’s codes and tone is also key to ensuring that customer experience is seamless and will ensure the solution is credible and easily adopted.

Take it further

To bring the solution full-circle, connect it to other internal systems and workflows, such as CRM, e-commerce, and more. The solution will be a key point of contact with customers, making it a key source of information and one that ensures each service brings customers back to the business every time.

Is your business thinking about putting your own diagnostic service in place? Contact Southpigalle for a demonstration.

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