Nobody wants angry customers but in the era of personalization it can be hard to keep up with their ever-growing expectations. What’s a company to do? The first step to knowing how to deal with angry customers is understanding why they’re angry.

Personalized experiences have become the norm, every single customer needs to have a contextually relevant experience to prevent them from going from happy to heated. Offering one-to-one personalization to all your customers can seem, and very well might be, impossible… if you’re expecting your support agents to put out every fire. However, with AI-powered search you can offer the same degree of personalization on a one-to-many basis.

In this post, we will diagnose the issues by first understanding pain points that make your customers angry and the ways in which AI-powered search might be the solution to their problems. Given that 91% of angry customers reported they will never return, this is not a problem your organization can afford to ignore.

What makes your customers angry?

Problem: They’re not finding what they’re looking for.

You’re a customer yourself, so you can probably relate to the frustration that ensues when you turn to a company for answers and get hit with a “no results” page. You start to wonder how it’s possible that no one has asked this question before, and if that provider is worthy of your business if they can’t answer a simple question. It’s your company’s responsibility to serve your customers and as the demand for self-service rises, it is imperative for you to empower them with the information they need to successfully self-serve. The reality is that 68% of customers have stopped doing business with companies that are unable to keep up with their demands. That’s too much business to lose. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Solution: Better knowledge management.

Most of your customers, especially if they’re millennials, will avoid human interaction with your brand at all cost–under the best of circumstances, not only when they’re angry. They want to engage on their own terms but even more importantly, they want something to engage with.

Your site, customer community and self-service portal will be their go-to resources for answers. To avoid angry customers, it’s important that what their looking for is findable. AI-powered search helps to better your knowledge management efforts in two ways: it unifies your company’s collective knowledge into a single knowledgebase, enabling your customers to easily find information from across your organization and helping them to successfully self-serve, and through machine learning capabilities, helps to track which resources have proven to be the most helpful and gives deeper insight into what your customers are looking for and what content gaps you may have. With visibility on how many queries trigger a “no results” response, you can plan to create valuable content to ensure the satisfaction of future customers.

When dealing with angry customers, agent-assisted support will still be needed in some cases, which is why it’s equally important to empower your agents with knowledge at their fingertips as well. According to Forrester, 42% of customer service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems and multiple applications–most of which have to search up to 35 different data gathering systems. Imagine the increase in proficiency and customer satisfaction you could be benefiting from by with unified information and interactions.

An effective way to leverage your knowledgebase and benefit from better knowledge management is with the KCS® methodology. With AI-powered search, your knowledgebase will become your organization’s one-stop-shop for information about products, services, departments, customers, or specific topics and issues. In fact, over 90% of customers said they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs.

To learn more, read our recent post How do I Know if KCS is Right for My Organization?

Problem: They feel like a ‘visitor’ rather than a person.

There’s nothing worse than investing your hard earned dollars into a company whose mission you’re personally invested in, just to be treated like a number rather than a human, especially when you have an issue that needs solving.

Regardless of how you perceive your customer experience to be, it’s their perception of how they’re treated that matters and more often than not, a poor customer experience results in angry customers. While angry customers may not always complain to your organization directly, they are 95% likely to share their dissatisfaction with their peers, which has a direct impact on purchase decisions, brand reputation and overall customer loyalty.

Offering a personalized customer experience starts with knowing your customer. This sounds like a no-brainer but so many organizations don’t actually know who they’re doing business with and as a result, everyone is treated the same; as visitors instead of individuals.

Solution: Personalized customer experiences.

The companies that are thriving today are the ones which have invested in understanding their customer data to unlock the power of personalization and are embodying it in every department of their organization, from their site search, to sales, to support.

An AI-powered search solution acts as an insight engine, turning customer data into valuable insights about who your customers are, what their preferences are, when they last visited, how they behaved, where they’re located and more. By capturing your customer data and analyzing trends in usage analytics, machine learning gives you the ability to deliver a highly-personalized experience for every single one of your customers and anticipate their future needs.

Not only will a personalized customer experience prevent your customers from getting angry, it has the potential to dramatically improve your bottom like. Happy customers are loyal customers and loyalty equates to repeat purchases. McKinsey & Company reported that optimized customer experiences increases customer satisfaction by 20% and boosts revenue by up to 15%, while simultaneously lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.

Discover the blind spots in your customer experience and how to fix them with our checklist, The Roadmap to Mastering Your Micro-Moments to Build Your Customer Journeys.

Problem: You’re wasting their precious time.

When you’re dealing with angry customers, they, just like you, don’t have time to waste. Truthfully, even happy customers don’t have time to waste. They expect to receive real-time answers, regardless of the channel they use, and happy or not, they have very little tolerance for irrelevant information. We are living in a fast-paced world and if you can’t get them what they’re looking for, they have no trouble finding another provider that will. An overwhelming 75% of customers abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed within 5 minutes and 82% reported that getting their issue resolved quickly is the number 1 factor to a great customer experience.

Solution: Prove that you value their time.

Another way to deal with angry customers is to make sure that your digital experience is as frictionless as possible and deliver value at every touchpoint. This means that you need to remove the barriers to self-service success by creating an experience that is easy, intuitive and smart.

Your customer data is only valuable if it’s put into action. Leverage what it’s telling you by offering your customers solutions and suitable products based on their behavior and preferences. Prompt them with proactive recommendations, based on what others like them have used to successfully self-serve, and give them what they need before they know they’ll need it. Share your appreciation for their business by offering personalized offers and discounts. Whatever you do, make the most of the limited attention you get from them by creating ‘wow’ moments at every interaction.

Adobe has done great job at offering frictionless self-service by offering in-product search in Photoshop. See how they’re offering value through an easy, intuitive and smart customer experience in our recent post.

AI is not the future. AI is now.

AI has evolved from a futuristic buzzword to an active strategy that is already yielding significant ROI for early adopters. Gartner reported that 55% of established companies either have started making investments in the potential of artificial intelligence or are planning to do so by 2020.

Knowing your customers’ context, understanding their intent and being able to deliver the best information at the right time is the best way to deal with angry customers and delight them moving forward. Relevant encounters resolve issues before they arrive, minimize customer abandonment rate and complaints, drive customer satisfaction and engagement, and ultimately drive business.

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What Can AI Do Today For Your Business

About Samantha Demers

Samantha Demers is Coveo’s Senior Content Editor, based in Montreal, Quebec. She is a passionate marketing and communications professional who has built her career in the tech industry by helping companies bring their brands to life and remain relevant in their field. Her motto; “engage like a consumer, not like a marketer” helps Coveo connect with its audience throughout their Intelligent Insights journey.

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