Jon Buss, MD at Yext, shares how site search is serving Three’s customers during the pandemic.

During the coronavirus pandemic, with brick-and-mortar shops and branches closed to the public until recently (and some customers reluctant to venture out), brands have needed to make sure that their online presence is capable of serving customers in the same way.

For retailers, this mostly means selling and delivering goods. But for brands in sectors like finance or telecommunications, their websites have had to be capable of meeting people’s customer service needs during the lockdown, playing the same role that a local bank branch or mobile phone store plays in answering questions, providing support and guiding people towards a purchase.

Like countless other brands, mobile network Three experienced a spike in people visiting its website for information and to ask questions during the lockdown. The telco aimed to answer customers’ queries directly on the site, avoiding a costly call to a customer service helpline.

The key to this was a partnership with brand management and site search platform Yext that Three had formed before the pandemic. Initially, the company partnered with Yext to improve Three’s local search presence, before realising that they could also improve the answers and information they were surfacing within the website itself – saving customers a lot of time and frustration, and the company a lot of money in calls to support helplines.

I spoke to Jon Buss, MD at Yext, about the role played by site search in serving Three’s customers during the pandemic, the importance of understanding customer intent and ‘owning the truth’, and why answering customers’ questions accurately is more critical than ever as businesses begin to open back up. I also tested out the site search experience to get a sense of how well Three’s website can really answer customer queries.

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