Knowledge – the jewel in the customer service crown
At a time when consumers want a fast, seamless experience, knowledge is at the heart of delivering excellent customer service. For example, Forrester found that 55% of US adults say they are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question. The same applies within the contact center – if they are to solve customer queries over the telephone, and via email, social media and chat then agents need to be able to access the right information quickly. No wonder that Kate Leggett of Forrester describes knowledge management as “the jewel in the customer service crown.”
Effective knowledge management delivers benefits above and beyond boosting customer satisfaction, in four key ways:
1. Increased efficiency
Customers want their questions answered comprehensively at the first time of asking, and failing to do so often causes dissatisfaction. It also pushes up costs when agents are required to have multiple interactions with a consumer to solve their problem, decreasing efficiency and First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates. It is a perfect storm – the customer is frustrated because they’ve needed to make contact again and the agent’s time is tied up solving problems that could have been dealt with in a single interaction, if only they’d had access to the right knowledge.
2. Greater consistency
Customers expect the same level of service – and the same answers – whichever channel they use to make contact. Yet many businesses still store information in silos, with each channel providing different responses from their own knowledge. Not only does this annoy customers, but it pushes up costs as organizations are paying to maintain multiple sources of information. Using a single, central knowledge base that is made available across every channel ensures consistency while again increasing efficiency.
3. Speed up service
Unsurprisingly, Forrester found that customers don’t want to wait for answers. In many cases their questions can be simple and could be handled by effective web self-service systems that understand their query and automatically provide a useful answer. This should be powered by the same centralized knowledge base that you make available to your agents, again helping with consistency and efficiency. By using linguistic technology to analyze incoming messages (such as on email or social media), knowledge-based customer service software can automatically suggest template answers that can then be personalized by agents, speeding up response times and boosting satisfaction. The knowledge base should learn from every interaction so that it constantly improves the answers it gives.
4. Empower agents
Not being able to answer a customer’s query is frustrating for agents as well as consumers. They feel helpless if they can’t respond to what seems like a simple request, leading to disengagement and a lowering of job satisfaction. By contrast, installing a centralized knowledge base empowers them as they can instantly get the answers they need to do their job. At the same time, it is important to involve them in the process. Before the project starts work with them to get their input on typical questions that they receive and use this information to populate your initial knowledge base. Then keep them on board by letting them provide feedback on answers, helping you fine tune content to continually improve the responses you provide.
We live in a world driven by knowledge and the companies that thrive will be those that are best at harnessing information and using it to drive their business success. This begins with putting in place a centralized knowledge base to power your customer experience, helping improve service and driving consumer loyalty.