Monday, February 4, 2013

Enterprise Search: A New Customer Engagement Strategy

Last month, we received a tweet from @ACIS_Search on the importance of search in customer experience strategies. As a follow up, we're happy to present a guest post delving into that topic by Efrem Habteselassie, ACIS Consulting, along with a great infographic. (To submit your own guest content, email

Search has become the de-facto standard for navigation and information discovery within a company's website. According to studies, if the search experience is not engaging and the returned information is not relevant to the customer, the majority of visitors will abandon the website after three unnecessary clicks.

Most call center managers understand their company saves money every time a user is able to effectively find the answer to his or her support issue online, yet many companies still do not have an effective enterprise search strategy to make the support experience engaging and productive.

When considering your tool kit for customer engagement, enterprise search should not only be added to this list, it should be a top priority.

Organizations are beginning to understand the need to transform search strategies in order to reduce cost, improve efficiencies and enhance customer experience. The solution is Enterprise Search Optimization (E-SEO), which is the process of tuning the search platform and content structure on a company’s website to deliver highly engaging and relevant information that meets user needs. When properly deployed and managed, an E-SEO strategy will boost customer engagement, user satisfaction and company profitability.

Transforming Customer Experience Through Enterprise Search

Customer experience is the key to success in 2013. As noted in the Customer 1st blog post, Your 2013 Customer Experience Checklist, customer experience has been identified as a huge opportunity for growth in that “the organizations who are doing it right are seeing profits soar above those who have not.” But what many companies may not realize is that enterprise search can play a critical role in this regard.

One of every three customers who use call centers have visited the company website first. For corporations that have hundreds of thousands of phone calls a year, reducing the call volume by even 10 per cent will lead to a significant cost savings.  It will also avoid an abundance of frustrated customers.

In order to deliver an incomparable web experience for end users, organizations must provide the customer with engaging information though accurate and relevant search interaction. From an E-SEO strategy perspective, user engagement and online experience are all about making intelligent use of available information and leveraging the search technology to deliver highly engaging and applicable search results that match the customer needs in his or her current context.  Companies that are successful in properly executing their E-SEO strategy will see:

·         Increased web activity
·         Improved productivity rates
·         Enhanced customer service operations
·         Stronger customer relationships

The ROI on Enterprise Search

Many companies develop website content with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices in mind, and yet customer retention rates continuously fall short of expectations. These companies end up investing thousands of dollars into an SEO strategy that falls short of producing the intended results. There are a variety of reasons for poor conversion rates or abandoned search sessions; but among the key factors is the lack of an E-SEO strategy.

Your E-SEO strategy must be properly aligned with marketing campaigns and customized to recognize and highlight the marketing keywords used in these campaigns. It is also important to ensure your enterprise search is in tune with the way users are interacting with your website.

Enterprise search is typically initiated to address the following key pain points:

·         Customers are dissatisfied with the quality of search, and these complaints lead to productivity loss.
·         Prospective buyers who arrive at the website are abandoning it without making a purchase.
·         Existing customers are looking for product support information and end up using the more expensive call center channel.

A search upgrade project is often launched with an objective to achieve a measureable improvement in one or all of the above problem areas. The metrics used to identify these issues include:

·         Customer satisfaction index;
·         Productivity improvement;
·         Visitor conversion/registration/buy rates or an increase in the amount of time spent on the website per visitor;
·         And reduction in call center volumes.

To learn more about enterprise search ROI, check out these tips for developing a business case for search.

ACIS Consulting Inc. provides world class technology services in enterprise search and knowledge discovery, helping companies bring increased value to customers. ACIS offers a range of search based applications and an extensive library of functions and features that can be leveraged to quickly create custom solutions for specific business needs.

Visit to learn more or follow us on Twitter @ACIS_Search and LinkedIn ACIS Consulting Inc. 

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