Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) may be the single most impactful technology to help centers improve performance because agents are at the crossroads of contact center excellence.
An agent’s ability to answer pressing customer questions simultaneously impacts many key contact center metrics:
- The time it takes to answer questions, Handle Time
- The ability to resolve customer issues on the first call, First Contact Resolution
- The need for other people to be brought into a customer conversation, Call Escalation
- The ability for agents to handle increasingly diverse and complex contacts without extensive training and specialization
Contact center leadership understands the potential, but many fear that the knowledge management system challenge is too big to tackle. So companies create workarounds to the detriment of their customers and their contact center. It’s time to acknowledge the problem and solve it.
The Frontline Problem
What do agents do when they can’t find information? They transfer people. Or, they put them on hold, while they dig through documents, ask their neighbor, consult with the “subject matter expert,” or even walk around looking for someone who can help. As a last resort they say, “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 can find the information they need, it can take a long time, and they may not trust it. It may be out of date, inaccurate, or unclear. The result is a quick downward cycle on the use of the Knowledge Base (KB) while “cheat sheets” and tribal knowledge become the go-to sources.
These scenarios were common enough before companies beefed up self-service through online and mobile applications. Now, centers struggle with agents who are overwhelmed, trying to retain knowledge on an increasingly complex and diverse set of contact types, many of which they rarely handle.
The result is high attrition (especially for new hires) and poor performance. So, centers segment skills to train agents (“specialists”) in phases to build competency but compromise economies of scale and risk more transfers when they do.
The Support Problem
When contact centers don’t have budget or bandwidth to keep the knowledge base up-to-date, staff end up “dumping” documents into the knowledge base. Without someone focused on optimizing knowledge, it can quickly grow stale and ineffective in meeting agent needs.
This leads to Agents trying to find the nugget of gold within a long list of documents, some of which may be duplicates or flat out wrong. Additionally, poor search functions don’t enable agents to find the right answers quickly.
So what are some ways to fix these problems? Are there are particular strategies or solutions that lead to a more valuable knowledge management program?
With a new generation of AI, automation and big data, centers can pursue knowledge management system without the issues that have sunk initiatives in the past.
The foundation of a contact center is integrated, intelligent, knowledge retrieval by agents, customers, and bots. This starts with a search that actually works and enables content to be found quickly and effortlessly.
Automation is another massive area of impact that traditional Knowledge Management Systems never had. KMS can now leverage massive amounts of data and aggregate, transform, and assess trends through analytics and AI. This enables a new opportunity to notify admins when content is going out of date, when agents are not finding what they need, and when content is being abandoned. This removes a burden on maintenance and administration that was not possible in the last generation of KMS and is a game changer for any contact center team
AI can also enhance findability in ways previously not possible. Content can be recommended to agents based on IVR selection, customer profiles, call resolution patterns and search path history. When searches are performed, AI can also recommend information based on the next best action for agents.
Knowledge Management at the Crossroads of Contact Center Excellence
Knowledge Management Systems can create huge ROI within months of implementation. Agents will now know that their source knowledge is accurate, consistent, and trusted.
AI-enabled Knowledge Management Systems also reduces the maintenance burden and therefore the time demands on admins to ensure information is up-to-date and useful.
Managers and executives alike need to reboot their perspective on knowledge strategy and consider integrating these breakthrough technologies into their Contact Center Platform. The impact of this next generation of Knowledge Management Systems can be huge:
- 25% or more Lower handle time
- 20% Fewer transfers
- Cut training time by up to 50%
- Faster time to proficiency
If you’re dealing with these issues and want to solve them then a Knowledge Management reboot is overdue in your organization. Click here to learn how to put theory into action.
If you want to get the insights from Knowledge Management Experts about the Future of Knowledge Management Systems click this link .