What Is Customer Intent?


Customer intent is what your customer may not be telling you they want. But getting to the heart of your customer's motivations and desires is paramount to the success of your business. Read on to find out how AI-powered automation can help.

Customer intent is what customers are really looking for

Customer intent is generally understood as the intention driving a customer's purchasing journey. Essentially, it is the reason a customer chooses to interact with a brand.

And understanding it is crucial for brands to be able to provide quality CX that balances empathy and efficiency when it comes resolving customer queries. Here, automation can help to triage intents and populate support tickets so that support agents have a clear sense of the customer's intent, enabling them to get right to the heart of the issue should a request get escalated.

Not to mention, that a quality chatbot such as one that runs on the latest generative AI technology can also resolve simpler requests so that your agents actually have the capacity to provide the utmost customer care as needed. 

As Jonathon Rende reports for Forbes,

"Automation empowers agents to spend more time building and managing crucial customer relationships... which helps to reassure customers they are on top of the issue."

How to predict customer intent

Customer intent is not always explicit, and your customers won’t necessarily tell you exactly what they’re looking for. This means that many companies struggle to correctly predict consumer intent.

In fact, according to a recent Foundry report on customer intent data, 

"67% of marketers say their number one challenge with intent data investments is making intent data actionable."

This is where AI and analytics come in. Today’s contact centers have a variety of channels they use to communicate with customers that are a veritable gold mine of information. By analyzing your past communications across channels, your organization can pinpoint trends and patterns in what your customers are looking for and how.

For an introduction to AI and automation in customer service, visit our Customer Support Academy

Analyzing past behavior is always useful, but with advancements in AI technology, like virtual agents and AI chatbots, we can also predict customer intent as it’s occurring. The CCW report states, “Uncovering customer intent is, in fact, one of the most effective use cases for chatbots. By using intuitive questions and natural language processing, bots can quickly identify why a given customer is interacting. This allows businesses to tailor the conversation — whether through additional self-service or escalation to an agent — based on the customer’s specific intent.”

And since the dawn of generative AI, this tech has become even better at helping to discern nuances in customer interactions down to the customer's tone and emotional state. These bots can then adjust their responses to take these details into account in order to offer more empathetic customers support. The best part is that generative AI-powered chatbots don't need to be trained manually through dialogue building . In fact, you can get started in minutes. 

Want to learn more? Check out UltimateGPT, our gen AI tool designed specifically for customer support. 


Understanding consumer intent allows brands to provide better service, but also to identify actionable areas of improvement (on the website's design or the support process, for instance). Ultimately, it is a powerful tool to stay ahead of the customers' expectations on all fronts.

Find your most common customer intents