How Customers Control the Narrative


The Gist

  • Narrative control. Empowering customers in the market is key; they’re now active participants in their journey, shaping experiences.
  • Self-service significance. FAQs and knowledge bases let customers independently resolve issues, enhancing their control and satisfaction.
  • Chatbot evolution. AI-driven chatbots provide personalized, conversational support, allowing customers to guide their support experiences.

In today’s overly saturated and competitive market, empowering customers to control their own narratives has become a pivotal strategy for businesses looking to enhance customer satisfaction. Imagine a scenario where customers are not just passive recipients of products or services but active participants in shaping their own journey. This shift represents a paradigm in customer relations, one driven by the evolution of technology and a deep understanding of individual preferences. From chatbots, FAQs and Knowledge Bases, to personalized AI-driven interactions and tailored content delivery, the possibilities are vast. This article will look at the ways that brands are empowering their customers by allowing them to take control of their own narrative.

Self-Service Evolution

Jonathan Moran, head of Martech solutions marketing at SAS, an analytics, AI, and data management solution provider, told CMSWire that there’s no doubt that the tide is shifting, and consumers are gaining more control over their brand interactions. “It’s long been said that brands manage the customer experience, whilst individual consumers own it.”

Customer service has long been an integral part of the shopping experience, evolving into a key expectation among consumers. A 2017 Statista survey highlighted this trend, revealing that over 60% of US customers had engaged with customer service in just the preceding month. The evolution of self-service in customer experience has seen significant changes over the years, empowering customers to take control of their own narrative. In the early days, self-service was limited to basic interactions such as interactive voice response (IVR) systems, FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages, and Knowledge Bases on websites.

FAQs play a significant role in enabling customers to control their own narratives in the realm of customer service and support. They serve as a readily accessible knowledge resource that empowers customers to independently find answers to their queries. This allows customers to take charge of their support journey without relying on direct assistance.

Customers value their time and convenience, and FAQs offer a quick and convenient way to address common issues or inquiries, enabling customers to resolve their problems promptly, anytime, and from anywhere. This control over the timing of support interactions enhances the overall customer experience.

When customers can easily find answers to their questions through FAQs, it reduces friction in their interaction with the brand. This frictionless experience creates a sense of control, allowing customers to feel more confident and self-reliant in their interactions. Some modern FAQs are designed to adapt to user behavior and preferences, recommending relevant articles or solutions based on the user’s previous interactions. Amazon’s customer service section, particularly its FAQ and help pages, are a good example of this, as they are dynamic and tailored based on the user’s browsing history, previous purchases and commonly asked questions.

This personalization enhances the sense of control by tailoring the support experience to the individual’s needs. FAQs also play a role in helping customers make informed decisions. For example, in ecommerce, FAQs about product specifications, shipping, and returns allow customers to gather the information they need to make purchasing decisions on their terms. 

Along with FAQs, knowledge bases provide customers with another self-service option that allows them to find solutions to their problems, or answers to their questions. Knowledge bases have long been a cornerstone of customer empowerment, offering customers a wealth of information at their beckoning. A knowledge base is an established collection of information and resources, based around knowledge of a brand, website, or its products and services. 

In the pursuit of controlling their own narratives, customers turn to these repositories of information to find answers, troubleshoot issues, and gather insights. Knowledge bases encompass a diverse range of resources, including articles, tutorials, videos and frequently updated FAQs.

One key aspect of knowledge bases is the ability to navigate them independently. Customers have the autonomy to search for specific topics, browse through categories, or use keywords to pinpoint relevant information. This freedom to explore at their own pace aligns perfectly with the desire for control over their support journey.

Additionally, similar to FAQs, knowledge bases often feature dynamic content that adapts to user behavior. They can suggest related articles or solutions based on the user’s current query, enhancing the self-service experience. This personalization ensures that users not only find answers but also discover additional insights that may be relevant to their needs. It is unfortunate, but many brands have let their knowledge bases fall to the wayside, failing to update them, and relegating them to the backburner along with sitemaps and other archaic pages.

Chatbots have emerged as dynamic companions in enabling customers to take charge of their own narratives. With the advent of AI and machine learning, self-service has transcended its conventional boundaries. Chatbots, in particular, have undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from scripted and rigid interfaces to intelligent conversational agents. These AI-driven marvels now empower customers with the ability to engage in natural language conversations, making support interactions feel more intuitive and personalized.

Companies such as Zendesk and Intercom have been at the forefront of this AI-driven revolution in customer support. They’ve pioneered the development of chatbots that not only provide assistance but also enhance the customer’s ability to independently resolve their issues. These chatbots are designed to understand context, remember previous interactions, and adapt their responses accordingly, mimicking human-like interactions. This level of sophistication allows customers to articulate their queries in their own words, control the pace of the conversation, and receive tailored solutions that align with their unique needs.

Additionally, chatbots are instrumental in guiding customers through complex processes or providing step-by-step instructions, offering a sense of autonomy in navigating their support journey. They can also offer relevant resources and information, such as links to FAQs or knowledge bases, enabling customers to explore and choose the most suitable resolution path.

Related Article: Allow Customers to Control Their Narratives for Improved CX

Customer-Driven Assistance

Customers having the freedom to choose their preferred support channels is a pivotal aspect of enabling them to control their own narratives. A 2020 Zendesk report revealed that over 69% of consumers prefer to solve customer service issues on their own. This type of flexibility acknowledges that customers have varying communication preferences and allows them to engage with brands in ways that best suit their needs.


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