Here’s the scene: It’s the busiest hour of the busiest day. With beefed up self-service through online and mobile applications, customers take care of the easy stuff on their own and reach out to agents when they can’t find what they need.
Meanwhile, agents are overwhelmed, trying to retain knowledge on an increasingly complex and diverse set of contact types, many of which they rarely handle. The scoreboard is ablaze with a large number of callers awaiting service. Under pressure, they strive to field a gaggle of questions for which they don’t know the answers. So what do they do?
They transfer people (hot potato!). Or, they put them on hold, while they dig through documents, ask their neighbor, consult with the “subject matter expert,” or even go walkabout to find somebody who can help. Maybe they even utter those dreaded words, “Let me research this and someone will get back to you,” leaving the customer wondering, “Who?” and “When?” None of these options meet business goals or customer expectations.
If Agents have access to a make-shift knowledge management (KM) system, they may fumble around for quite a while to find the desired information and may not trust their discovery. The information may be out of date, unclear, in conflict, or my favorite, “not structured the way I think it should be.” The resulting downward cycle on the use of the Knowledge Base (KB) while “cheat sheets” and tribal knowledge become the go to sources.
Customers get frustrated as service levels dip below their expectations. Agents get frustrated, resulting in high attrition (especially for new hires) and poor performance. Centers respond by segmenting skills to train agents (“specialists”) in phases to build competency… but they compromise economies of scale and risk more transfers when they do.
Contact center leadership understands the potential for an efficient, effective KM solution, but there’s an elephant in the room. Many fear that the KM challenge is too big to tackle. So, companies tiptoe around it, to the detriment of their customers and their contact center. It’s time to acknowledge the problem and solve it!
If you are nodding your head and chuckling as you relate to these problems, it’s time to focus on this new era of KM and deal with the elephant – because that beast isn’t as big as you think! Powerful search and access to the right information in a timely fashion is possible. Here’s how you do it:
- Use a cloud-based solution to ensure rapid implementation (infrastructure and application) and minimize demands on IT upfront and ongoing.
- Leverage vendor expertise to overcome the inertia of getting started. With proven implementation methods and tools, a skilled vendor can help you populate, organize, structure, and tag your information and get you on a path to production quickly.
- Build user confidence and proficiency by demonstrating the ease with which they access relevant content using a powerful search to access concise, well-structured content. They succeed without excess training, specialization, or heavy reliance on others.
- Optimize the solution using reports, workflows, and feedback to identify changes and improvements that will enhance the user experience every day.
With a great tool and vendor partner, KB transforms from a vicious cycle into an upward spiral. The trusted source is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date. People use it routinely and provide feedback to build a continuous improvement loop. Knowledge and ability spreads through technology, not proximity or affinity.
A tool that helps the support resources manage and optimize knowledge also knocks down one of the biggest hurdles. Good KM reduces the maintenance burden and therefore the time demands on knowledge manager(s) while ensuring information is up-to-date, accurate, and useful. And it also ensures the KM structures suit many, not few.
The up-front investment will pay dividends on the bottom line and the customer experience through lower AHT, higher FCR, and fewer transfers.