Next Gen Knowledge Management Systems: Opening The Black Box

The contact center of the past is filled with unnecessary friction around their knowledge management system because it’s been hard to know what’s working and what isn’t. This makes administering them a guessing game that is both time consuming and ineffective leading to inaccurate, out-of date content that hurts the customer experience.
Deloitte found that 62% of surveyed businesses recognized that customers use their call center experiences to determine which companies are most deserving of their dollars.
While metrics and training techniques give managers a great deal of insight into what makes a positive call center experience, these tools have limited abilities that leave large holes in a manager’s understanding of what is actually happening on the phone lines. How can managers crack the black box of agent activity, increase transparency, and realize greater levels of customer satisfaction?

What is the Black Box?

Knowledge management systems (KMS) are useful tools that simplify the process of locating important information. However, these systems suffer from a serious lack of transparency. Managers are often not able to find information on what agents are searching for or how they are using the KMS. Managers who want to improve call center metrics have a hard time deciphering what content is working and what content could use some work.
This lack of visibility, in effect, creates a “black box” that prevents managers from finding effective solutions for their agents and clients. Without knowing which information is most valuable to agents, delegating resources for improvements becomes a guessing game. Centers end up investing large amounts of man-hours and resources, only to realize minimal improvements in metrics.

A lack of transparency in the knowledge management system usage has a markedly negative impact on agent and customer experiences, as well. Poorly maintained KMS’s take more time to navigate, which results in longer call times. This sets up a domino effect that cascades down the line of waiting callers, resulting in more frustration for both callers and agents. Customer wait time has a clear correlation with escalation requests. When agents spend more time researching solutions, customer patience suffers, often resulting in customers demanding to speak with managers or supervisors.

First-call resolution is the goal of every call center agent. When agents can’t find what they’re looking for, the chances of a callback or transfer increase significantly. These experiences are frustrating to waiting customers and can end in cancellations or other undesired actions. Customers aren’t the only ones who suffer from subpar KMS management. Frustrated agents can quickly succumb to the stress of an ineffective KMS and are more likely to seek other employment.
Transparency into how your agents’ access the knowledge management system is critical to simultaneously improving many key contact center metrics across the customer and agent experience including: handle time, retention rates, escalation rates, customer satisfaction, NPS, and employee fulfillment.

Advanced Analytics and Automated Maintenance: Cracking the Black Box of Knowledge Management Systems

A more transparent KMS is now possible with analytics that open up agent and customer activities to admin dashboards and insight engines. With analytics, administrators can now see what agents are searching for, what content is accurate, what content is out-of-date, what search terms are resulting in failed results and many other opportunities for content optimization that was not possible previously.

By turning data into insight, administrators have the knowledge to make the right changes in the shortest amount of time. This can save administrators hundreds of hours each year, prevent the KMS from going out-of-date, and losing agent trust.

With transparency, opportunities for better coaching and content optimization exist as well. Administrators can see what important content is not being used and invest in training that has immediate ROI. Content can also be identified that is hard-to-find or not-optimized-for-search, making it easy to fix and improve the overall findability of the system.
By opening up the KMS black box and providing transparency and actionable insight contact center managers can significantly reduce friction on many parts of the customer service value chain. Not only are key metrics impacted, but so is the overall quality of experiences of the center’s agents, managers, and customers alike. Look into the next generation of knowledge management systems and see how they can improve your centers.