Advances in artificial intelligence have made search engines capable of answering more complex questions than ever. Now these search engines — and other AI-powered discovery services, like Alexa and Siri — have set the standard for answering users' questions. The challenge for brands? Most websites can't match that standard.
Think of it this way: We can ask Google Assistant for the address of the nearest financial advisor who speaks French and handles family trusts, and actually get a direct answer. But chances are, if we visit our preferred financial institution's website, it will take us several clicks to find that information — if we can find it at all. We're more likely to bounce right back to our search engine, where we might find an incorrect answer from another source, or worse, information about a competitor. The disparity between answers in search and answers on your website will train consumers to rely on search services rather than your site — potentially resulting in a loss of revenue.
Delivering answers on your website can help.
To search for something highly specific, and expect a direct answer in return, is already ingrained behavior for consumers. An estimated 50% of queries contain four or more words. And according to research from Salesforce, 76% of customers report that it's now easier than ever to take their business elsewhere, switching from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations for answers.
The good news? If you're building and maintaining your own brand knowledge graph, you can leverage it to deliver answers on your website — creating the seamless experience customers have come to expect.
No one knows more about your brand than you do. Your brand knowledge graph will always go much deeper than third-party discovery services — which means your on-site search experience can answer many, many more questions than a general search engine. Leveraging your knowledge graph to deliver on-site answers has already been shown to help drive revenue. On average, just 15% of visitors to a website utilize the site's search feature — yet they account for 45% of revenue. And users who search on-site are 1.8x more likely to convert than those who don't.
For example, say a consumer comes to your practice's website searching for an ENT specialist who takes Cigna insurance. If that on-site search leads them directly to a doctor who meets this search intent — with a landing page that lets them seamlessly click-to-call — that's a great experience that can lead directly to an appointment. If the patient can't find the relevant physician after several clicks, or if the steps to book an appointment aren't immediately available? They're likely to give up and look elsewhere.
By surfacing direct answers on your website, you can pave a smooth path to a transaction — whether that's an order, an appointment, a call, an RSVP, or any other action.
Driving more of your website visitors through your own search experience will also give you sophisticated customer insights. By keeping track of the questions they ask, you can improve your website experience, expand your knowledge graph, and improve your marketing strategies. When you create a seamless experience, one that's assistive and makes it easy for customers to transact with you at moments of intent, then you're ready to win in an answers-first world.
Find out what steps you can take to deliver a standout search experience for your customers in our eBook Why Your Brand Needs to Be Answers-Ready.