Putting information at the service of the customer – the key role of knowledge management

In customer service, knowledge is power

In every business-to-customer interaction – whether it’s an agent talking to a consumer over the phone or a customer-initiated self-service interaction via web chat – having knowledge management Accurate and up-to-date self-learning system (KMS) in place is crucial. Capturing and organizing knowledge in this system will help put the right information in front of the customer at the right time.

However, the system will only be effective if it is accessible and intuitive for agents and customers. Poorly designed knowledge management portals and poorly written FAQs will backfire, frustrating customers and deterring them from seeking the information they seek. Additionally, businesses are under increased pressure to ensure that all knowledge remains relevant and valid over time.

To ensure that organizations can provide accurate and up-to-date information, they need to create a comprehensive and agile knowledge management system that allows customers to answer their own questions using the channel that works best for them.

Modification of customer requests

Customers have always appreciated personalized, reliable and efficient service. But rapid advances in technology in recent years – further accelerated by the pandemic – have raised customer expectations to unprecedented levels. In a world of instant connectivity via social media, live updates and breaking news, consumers have grown accustomed to having information at their fingertips. Today, they are increasingly demanding that businesses have the same seamless access to real-time data.

The channels through which customers consume knowledge have also evolved. Old practices, like flipping through a paper manual or waiting for a switchboard operator to provide an answer, have long since given way to more accessible and immediate sources of information. Video is now becoming the go-to medium for knowledge transfer and retention, as a new generation of customers turn to its user-friendly, asynchronous qualities of “show without telling”. Tellingly, a 2019 study found that nearly three-quarters (72%) of consumers now choose video content over text when discovering products or services.

Businesses need to be alert to these trends. Video technology can easily be used as a knowledge management tool, whether through product videos, walkthroughs, tutorials, or tutorials. It can facilitate real-time multi-person conversations or out-of-the-box self-service experiences. This versatility makes it possible to manage and transfer knowledge in the way that best suits the right person at the right time, effectively bringing customer service into the 2020s.

In an era of fierce competition and low consumer patience, it is essential that companies continue to keep abreast of the changing knowledge consumption needs of customers. A strong knowledge management strategy is therefore essential to ensure agility across various channels, helping agents manage a wide range of customer queries in real time.

Find the right balance

However, putting such a strategy into practice can be difficult. Many customer service agents are currently facing data overload, which makes it difficult to filter out irrelevant information and stay on target. Agents also often have to deal with a multitude of sources when searching for the right information, constantly switching from browser to browser and search engine to search engine. These silos inevitably slow down the process by preventing the constant flow of accurate and timely knowledge.

The right knowledge management system (KMS) can help companies balance the rapid proliferation of information with the increasingly complex and time-sensitive nature of customer queries. This system will have the ability to retain all the knowledge that individuals have acquired over time, so that companies have a permanent repository of key information as the company and its customer base grows. Knowledge is stored, organized and derived seamlessly in a centralized database, transforming agent and customer experiences with intuitive and quick access to key information.

A streamlined KMS can also ensure that all information is properly managed and updated. By integrating the solution into the agent workflow and using knowledge experts, companies can ensure that all content is always accurate, well-written and well-organized. A similar balance can be achieved with the formats in which knowledge is presented. Depending on the specific context, preferences and needs of the customer, interactions can move seamlessly from a short text chat to longer video demonstrations, webinars, FAQs, forums or case studies.

power to the people

Companies now have a golden opportunity to exploit this new era of customer centricity. A combination of modern technologies, such as AI, and a clear strategy for streamlining knowledge across the organization will provide customers with smooth and reliable access to all self-service channels and touchpoints Communication. This ultimately allows them to answer their own questions, speed up time to resolution, and improve the customer experience when they need it.

Greater customer autonomy also brings business benefits. By reducing human-assisted service requests, a KMS solution can minimize operational costs and increase employee satisfaction and productivity. In fact, McKinsey reports that a well-maintained KMS can increase an organization’s productivity by up to 35%.

Customer expectations have changed in recent years. Accustomed to fast, smooth service and technology-enabled interactions, they want access to tools that help them find the answers they need on their own. Customer service agents are no different. By leveraging self-service technologies and KMS, customers and agents can become truly empowered and transform experiences for all parties involved.

About the Author

Gary Bennett is Vice President UKI/MEA/Northern Europe at Enghouse Interactive. Enghouse Interactive provides technology and expertise to maximize the value of every customer interaction, with products spanning multi-channel call centers, CTI integration, IVR/self-service, operator consoles, call and quality monitoring, outbound predictive dialer, knowledge management solutions and more. Our comprehensive portfolio of interaction management solutions is resilient and scalable.

Feature image: ©GreenButterfly

Donald E. Patel