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Intelligent search: On-site search fine-tunes customer experience

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On-site search can improve customer self-service, increase conversion, and promote customer engagement. Yet on-site search is often missing, neglected, or does not function as intended.

Particularly for large and complex sites, navigation via menus is not always sufficient. When on-site search is available, customers are significantly more likely to achieve their goals, and they spend more time on the site than those who do not use search. Companies that develop effective on-site search solutions can greatly improve customer experience and their own performance.

RingCentral provides unified communications as a service (UCaaS) with a set of enterprise tools geared toward the small to medium-sized business market. Its products include phone and messaging systems, video conferencing, and an omni-channel contact center solution. A newly introduced COVID-19 contact tracing application provides a means for organizations providing this service to get up and running within a few days.

In order to provide options for its customers and take the pressure off its own contact center, RingCentral wanted to improve its self-service function. “We are a cloud-based company but were providing 80% of our support activities on the phone,” said Jeff Harling, area vice president of global self-service at RingCentral. “It made sense for us to develop an effective self-service solution for our customers.”

Enabling self-service

A key component of self-service at RingCentral was a search solution that would allow customers and partners to zero in on the content that would solve their problem. “Although self-service was the catalyst for getting a new search solution, we wanted a holistic, scalable solution that would address the needs of other departments as well, including the marketing department,” said Harling. Search solutions set up by each department had led to siloed experiences for visitors to the website, and the company wanted to ensure seamless transitions across various touchpoints.

Having had a positive experience with Coveo in the past, Harling recommended the Coveo Experience Intelligence Platform (now rebranded as Coveo Relevance Cloud) as RingCentral’s enterprise search product. “Initially, some departments were hesitant, because they wanted to be sure their needs would be addressed. Once we explained to them what Coveo would do, they got on board,” Harling said. For example, the marketing department wanted to be sure that prospective customers could filter for specific content, such as white papers, that would address their particular information requirements.

A year and a half after implementation, search usage was up nearly 400% and click-through rates had increased. “We also embedded search into our chatbot,” Harling said. “It does not look like search, though—it looks conversational, as the users indicate their areas of interest and Coveo finds the right content.” Call center interactions dropped to the 50%-60% range. This shift was very helpful in view of RingCentral’s 30% growth rate over the past year, since it helped absorb the additional demand for support.

Harling’s background in knowledge management was influential in his vision for how enterprise search should function. He cited the dedication and enthusiasm of his internal development team as well as outstanding support from Coveo as key factors in RingCentral’s success. RingCentral plans to expand usage to additional user groups, functions, and partner applications. “I have always appreciated the power of content,” he concluded. “Now that AI is becoming a strategic factor, it all seems to be coming together.”

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