Semantic search technology eSearch: Finding instead of searching
Every day, billions of people find out about products and services on the Internet. Their digital searches often deliver a flood of information and results – but not always the results that help users. How can people optimize their search results? With eSearch semantic search technology, for example.
Digital self-services are now one of the preferred channels of contact. The results of the 2016 CRM Online Panel from Arvato CRM Solutions, a survey with a sample of 1,200, documented this claim: 29 percent of respondents prefer self-service to other service offers and the search function on a company’s website plays a major role. On average, the conversion rate among customers who have used the online search function is 25 percent higher than that of other users. People who search intend to make a purchase. When it comes to service, conventional searches only deliver the required result 39 percent of the time. Instead, customers must often spend time checking many irrelevant search results.
Searching with natural words
How can digital searches in customer service be improved? With the innovative eSearch search technology, for example. “A semantic – natural language – search function like the eSearch solution we developed is used intuitively and delivers the required results in over 80 percent of searches. It also opens up new opportunities for personal customer service,” explained Jens Ostermann-Heimig, head of the Language Technology competence center at Arvato CRM Solutions. eSearch takes multiple meanings, synonyms, contexts and natural typing mistakes into consideration. It aims to capture the true essence of a search query instead of wading through documents and websites according to the frequency with which a term is mentioned. Lufthansa and several major German banks are among those who rely on eSearch to deliver the right search results to their customers.
For example, users who enter the search term “wedding” on the Lufthansa website receive information on name changes after booking a flight or how to travel with a wedding dress in the passenger cabin. The search for a specific destination country usually leads to the least expensive flight offers, but if there is a political crisis in the region it also includes current travel warnings. In other words: Users can simply search using their own words and eSearch reliably delivers the information that exactly matches them – for Lufthansa currently in 13 languages.
Seamless integration of communication channels
eSearch provides relief for company service hotlines. Lufthansa was able to reduce its contact volume by 15 percent as a result of using this online search function. And every customer inquiry contains useful data on what the customer considers important. With the eSearch reporting function, information can be tracked and used. Self-service and personal customer service can be controlled and managed using the same technical platform. The transition is seamless: it is possible to offer personal service via chat or a return call directly in the self-service area and make contact immediately if required. With eSearch, customers who are interested in high-end products can receive even better service.
And which applications will eSearch be used for in the future? “For example, for self-service offers that not only communicate and understand the issue, but can also trigger the relevant action using robotic process automation,” explained Ostermann-Heimig. Currently, systems come up against their limits when asked to consider indirect back references. For example, when a customer asks the following question during a conversation about flight schedules: “And what does it cost?” A human immediately knows what the customer means. Technology is at a loss for an answer – at least for now.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
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