Contact centers traditionally hold a reputation for being an organization’s “catch all,” receiving customer contacts that range from inquiries to requests to complaints. Contact centers receive not only all types of customer contacts but must also support all departments within an organization, from product, to marketing, to logistics to billing. The wide variety of contacts and the inevitable process changes from internal departments can make it very difficult for agents to effectively manage the contacts.
Many organizations only interact with their customers via the contact center which means contact centers and their Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) become extremely important vehicles for delivering customer satisfaction. The CSRs’ ability to create a positive customer experience depends on how well agents are trained, the quality of resources they have available, and how satisfied they are. My previous blog, The Agent Experience, focused on the importance of agent satisfaction in customer service. In this blog, I will focus on the quality of resources made available to contact center agents to improve customer service.
What is Knowledge Management?
Knowledge Management is a combination of the right information, in the right place, at the right time. What does this look like for contact centers?
- The right information: Documentation, job aides, training materials, policies and procedures that are both accurate and geared towards helping your CSRs assist your customers better
- The right place: Information is accessible to all and easy to locate
- The right time: Information is up to date, applicable, and reliable
What form can Knowledge Management take?
True to the stereotypical consulting answer… “it depends.” The technology and processes around Knowledge Management differ based on a contact center’s needs. Very advanced contact centers with a vast amount of information can implement a Knowledge Management solution that sorts/ filters information and links that information to steps within an agent’s workflow. Many organizations I’ve worked with choose to use a SharePoint site with well-designed folder structures, approval workflows, and metadata associations. Other organizations are still using a more traditional approach with shared content in network folders. Regardless of the specific solution, the right Knowledge Management solution is tailored to your organization’s needs and ultimately seeks to provide your CSRs with greater access to the right information, right when they need it.
Why should Knowledge Management matter to you?
Knowledge Management solutions are important for three key reasons. They:
- Ensure customer contacts are handled the right way, the first time – When your organization designs a process to handle a specific type of customer contact, it’s important to effectively share that information with your CSRs. Better information and resources allow CSRs to access the information they need to handle contacts in a way that achieves your business objectives and maintains customer satisfaction.
- Create efficiencies in operations – Knowledge Management allows CSRs to find information quickly and efficiently to not only assist customers as quickly as possible, but to also adhere to the most efficient processes to do so.
- Increase standardization – Many contact centers struggle to ensure that all CSRs follow the same steps to handle a customer contact. Better access to updated and accurate information helps CSRs adhere to standard processes throughout the contact center and creates consistency for the customers who may interact with different agents while resolving their contact reason.
At past clients, I’ve experienced positive reception to the value and organization that Knowledge Management brings a contact center. CSRs are happy because they can find accurate information they need more quickly, while managers are satisfied because processes and policies are followed. At West Monroe Partners, our Contact Center and Digital teams work to design a Knowledge Management tool and processes tailored to you, implement your solution, and train your organization on how to best utilize and maintain this solution.