There's no doubt that our lives have profoundly changed in the face of this global pandemic. As the spread of COVID-19 continues to disrupt life as we know it — forcing us into new rhythms, many of which are becoming increasingly digital — people are taking to the internet to ask their questions. And they expect to get answers quickly. In the past few weeks, we've seen people asking our customers urgent questions about how their businesses are responding to the crisis, what their plans are to keep employees and customers safe, and how they're adjusting operationally to social distancing measures. To keep up with developing situations, you need to pivot, stay informed, and evolve your communications strategy in real time.
The Yext Data Insights team recently conducted a study of the impact of COVID-19 on search and consumer behavior, and the findings speak for themselves. Whether the questions customers are asking come as a result of COVID-19, or a different sort of crisis, your business must have the tools to respond quickly and efficiently. Wrong or incomplete answers are not an option. You don't want your customers turning away from your brand because they can't find what they were looking for.
We want to make sure that we're supporting our customers as they communicate updates during this ever-evolving situation. Our mission has always been to help brands surface accurate answers to questions consumers are asking, both on their business website and off, ensuring they can effectively and reliably communicate essential information to customers and employees.
On their own, each Yext solution can move mountains for brands. But when working together, Yext products create an aligned, mutually supportive ecosystem of elevated search functionality and superior customer insights. Today, we're sharing ways in which we've seen our customers leverage Yext Answers and Yext Pages together to do just that
1. Get in control of your public information and brand perception while capturing high-intent traffic with Yext Pages.
One of the quickest ways to get information out there is through your brand's website. For customers and new users who ask questions on search engines like Google, Bing, or Amazon Alexa, Yext Pages are optimized to help you capture and direct that traffic from search engines or voice assistants back to your website. Optimizing for organic search is key to a great customer experience — and to driving higher ROI.
And having easily accessible, accurate information about your business online is surprisingly valuable when it comes to building and maintaining customer loyalty. Across third-party search, brands that can provide clear calls-to-actions, hours of operations, and location information end up being the businesses that consumers patronize. In this time of uncertainty, providing access to accurate, up-to-date information is a key brand moment that will stick in the minds of your customers, providing relief and reassurance instead of disappointment and frustration.
Yext Pages allows you to create intent-based landing pages for any type of category, such as locations, services, FAQs, and more. So when customers ask questions like "What times are you open for pick-ups or deliveries?" or "Is this event cancelled?" your brand is prepared to provide exact answers front and center.
In response to COVID-19, we've seen our customers add announcement banners to the Yext-powered pages on their sites, in addition to updating other data on the pages like hours of operation, and contact information. At a moment when customers have more questions than ever, Yext is how brands are answering.
Another important way customers are utilizing Yext Pages right now: Creating FAQ pages to answer longer form questions that are coming in through support or social channels. These provide easy, clear answers to common questions that come through your site search or FAQ bar.
Pages built with Yext are optimized for the type of natural-language queries consumers increasingly use while searching. AI has made it possible for complex, human-sounding questions to produce nuanced, highly targeted search results, and this has raised consumer expectations for all search experiences. And pages with proper Schema-tagging have a higher likelihood of appearing as rich content results on third-party search engines. During times of crisis, the sheer volume of information online can be overwhelming, and misinformation can be even more damaging. By making the most important facts about your brand readily available, standing out in front of any wrong answers, you can help your customers cut through the noise and feel reassured.
2. Use Yext Answers to surface exceptional answers on your website and learn exactly what customers are asking.
Having pages that capture and drive traffic to your main website is crucial for another reason as well — your site search should be the centerpiece of your search experience management strategy. Search increasingly plays a pivotal role in how consumers both seek information and transact across online and offline platforms. And consumers who utilize search tend to be high-intent users. So capturing this traffic and providing your search audience with a positive experience can reap huge rewards for your efforts.
With the abundance of information available across the web, it is more critical than ever for a brand to have control over the public-facing facts about its business. FAQ pages can help to capture traffic from third-party search engines. Then once people are on your site, Answers helps to answer their deeper questions — meeting them at the moment of their intent. It's the ideal one-two strategy for capturing high-intent traffic and making the most of it.
And a huge part of building a search strategy that's optimized for conversion is understanding exactly what people want to know about your brand and answering accordingly. Despite your brand's best efforts to proactively communicate what you believe is top of mind for your customers, they'll inevitably ask new questions that you didn't necessarily see coming, or ask them in ways that you didn't anticipate. Yext helps you listen so your brand can answer more effectively.
With Yext Answers, you can create an exceptional search experience right on your website, helping you to scale relevant and accurate results to common questions while alleviating the burden on customer support. And the built-in analytics lets you keep a running list of all the questions people are asking on your site. Yext Answers is as optimized for customer insights as it is for customer experience.
Careful consideration of what kind of search experience your brand is putting forth, both on your company website and on third-party platforms, is no longer a nice to have marketing concern — it's essential to both brand management and customer service. It also helps you capture and convert high-intent consumers at their most critical decision-making moments.
And during times of crisis, like the one we're all currently navigating, the search for answers — whether about health and safety, or even something as seemingly mundane as grocery store hours of operation — is especially emotionally charged. In this moment of expansive need for answers, and higher emotional stakes when it comes to winning or losing consumer trust via search experiences, we want to support our customers any way that we can. To this end, we're offering 90-day free trials of Yext Answers.
Building an answers-first strategy that combines real-time, on-site updates with the ability to capture high-intent traffic from third-party search platforms can position your brand to serve your customers through this moment of crisis, and wherever this moment might take us.
The following resources shed additional light on how Yext technology works to help our customers deliver impeccable answers all the time, but most urgently during this period of widespread questioning.
- Four Steps to Managing a Crisis:A whitepaper with tips for evolving your crisis communications strategy in today's world of natural language processing and AI.
No Wrong Answers: Why Search is Mission Critical for Brands: A whitepaper exploring how a brand's ability to deliver answers online impacts consumer trust, and how heightened emotional responses in times of crisis can alter perceptions of your brand.
COVID-19 Search Data Hub:An interactive data hub where users can apply custom country and industry filters to the dataset to further explore search volume and behavior recorded during the pandemic.