How can brands match customer expectations around knowledge?
Consumers demand fast, accurate answers to their questions, whatever the channel, meaning that knowledge management is one of the key components of the customer experience. But how good are organizations at meeting the ever-increasing demands that consumers have, around speed and transparency? And how does their success or failure in this area affect loyalty and consumer behavior?
To find out, the Eptica Knowledge Study surveyed consumers in the UK and France, delving into how satisfied consumers are with the information and answers they receive from brands across every channel - and how this impacts their perception of those brands. It highlighted four key findings:
1. Lack of accurate answers = less loyal customers
Across both countries, there’s a clear and direct link between knowledge management and long-term customer relationships. 90% of French consumers and 91% of those in the UK say that they feel less loyal to brands who do not reply to their questions. Conversely, 92% of customers in France (and 94% in the UK) agreed that “Getting a high quality, personalized response to my question makes me more likely to buy from that company again”. Fail to deliver the right answers and customers will quickly switch, if a website doesn’t have the information they are looking for, nearly 9 in 10 consumers will go to a competitor (87% in France, 84% in the UK).
2. Access to information is worse in the UK than France
75% of UK consumers polled say the contact center agents they contact through email, the phone, social media or chat don’t have the right information to hand in order to successfully answer their questions. On top of this, 70% said the answers they received were not consistent across different channels. This was considerably higher than in France, where fewer consumers (64%) complained about a lack of information, and 62% around inconsistency.
3. Expectations are rising in both countries
In general consumers want more from brands than they did – even when compared to the recent past. For example, 67% of French consumers, and 65% of those in the UK say that the questions they ask organizations now are more detailed than they were five years ago. At the same time people in both countries say they expect companies to be more transparent and providing more detailed information (85% in France, 88% in the UK).
4. Dissatisfaction is a bigger problem in France
In both countries consumers react negatively towards brands who do not deliver the experience they expect. However, the problem is even worse in France:
- 33% of French consumers are likely to give up and switch to a rival if they can’t find an answer to their question, compared to 22% in the UK.
- 21% of French consumers will complain if they don’t get the answers they want, compared with 16% in the UK.
- 10% of the French will share their negative experience from a brand with friends and family on social media against 6% in the UK.
- Overall 88% of French consumers and 86% in the UK admit they are not generally happy with companies’ ability to deliver the answers they are looking for.
So how can brandsimprove their knowledge management? Here are five areas to focus on:
1. Make knowledge widely available
Ensure that knowledge is complete and available to everyone that needs to use it, through a centralized knowledge base that supports every channel. Involve customer facing staff in the design and roll out and make it easy for them to flag any areas where knowledge is missing.
2. Keep knowledge current
Make it easy for both consumers and agents to give feedback that rates the usefulness of answers in your knowledge base. And then ‘close the loop’ by using this to update the information that you provide and keep it current. This helps identify gaps where information is missing or answers need to be more comprehensive.
3. Make consistency a priority
Providing incorrect or inconsistent information to consumers will damage your brand reputation. Sharing information via a centralized knowledge base prevents this and ensures that answers are always in step.
4. Tap into the potential of artificial intelligence
AI techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Text Analytics can help you go beyond keyword matching when responding to customer queries. AI will analyze the words the customer is using to gain a deeper understanding of meaning of questions, and automatically identify the most relevant answers from within your knowledge base.
5. Analyze and improve
By tracking which knowledge is requested most, you can see where you need to improve the customer journey, such as by amending processes or website information. And studying the questions that agents ask uncovers areas where they might need more training.
Eptica’s research demonstrates that there is a knowledge gap between what consumers want in the UK and France, and what brands are delivering, hitting the bottom line and long-term loyalty. To help bridge the gap, Eptica’s Knowledge Management Study provides key best practice recommendations and case studies – download your copy here.