Knowledge management in customer service provides the information needed to support and champion your customers before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service.
Excellent customer service and effective knowledge management go hand-in-hand in empowering contact center agents to respond to customer queries with ease while ensuring that relevant and up-to-date information is accessible across all self-service channels.
But how do you know when knowledge management is “effective?” In our experience it’s when it provides direct answers rather than documents and long knowledge articles.
According to a study by Ecosystm, companies leveraging governed knowledge to provide direct answers were 34% more likely to improve customer satisfaction than those not using governed knowledge.
Making an agent wade through a knowledge article to find the answer, as the customer waits on the phone, is time consuming and mentally taxing. Not to mention it increases handle time and tests the customer’s patience.
Also, setting up knowledge management may feel more like a tick-in-the-box exercise at some companies and less of an earnest consideration of how to improve employee engagement and productivity. Or how to satisfy customers.
In this article we make the case for knowledge governance in customer service knowledge management. In particular, we:
- Describe what governed knowledge is, and how valuing knowledge as a strategic asset lends itself to a knowledge governance approach.
- Explain key benefits of governed knowledge and show some examples in the context of customer service (hint: it’s about direct answers rather than documents with long preambles).
- Provide best practices for applying and using knowledge governance for customer service knowledge management.
- Briefly show some real-world examples of successful knowledge management implementations
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Governed knowledge in the context of knowledge management is a systematic approach to managing, organizing, and delivering accurate and consistent information to customers. It ensures that both agents and customers access only the most relevant and up-to-date answers for their needs.
Customer satisfaction should be the goal of knowledge management in customer service as it’s a key element of customer experience, and research by McKinsey shows that improving CX can boost a company’s sales and profits.
But many companies see “knowledge” as a searchable corpus of the documents and records they have on hand, rather than as an asset to be curated for answers
For them, successful knowledge management means you upload all your information to a central server equipped with a taxonomy and search function.
Users are then told to find answers by searching for, and through, articles with the help of a taxonomy and search.
While this “batch” approach to knowledge management requires less effort to set up, it imposes more work on users (who must expend time and energy to retrieve the information) throughout the lifetime of the system.
Governed knowledge offers a better way forward.
4 Benefits of Leveraging Governed Knowledge
Focusing on users’ needs when selecting relevant information for your knowledge management system can improve user experience.
Below are four key benefits of using governed knowledge.
1. Answers Not Documents
The best way to empower your agents is to give them the answers they need when they need them. This reduces stress and cognitive load by minimizing or eliminating the need to do searches.
This approach offers substantial advantages like boosting employee productivity and engagement. At one bank that implemented the livepro knowledge management solution, 92% of employees described it as making their life easier.
Governed knowledge also sets the stage for features that improve the user experience for agents, like guided resolution for handling complex queries. For instance, when a customer asks about a refund, the system prompts the agent with a series of guided questions to determine the correct answer.
livepro’s Rocket feature illustrates this:
2. Your Knowledge Repository as Single Source of Truth
Another feature enabled by governed knowledge is role-based access control. Administrators can assign different levels of access and permissions to users as a function of their roles and responsibilities.
Authorized users are also prompted at intervals to review content periodically for ongoing relevance and accuracy.
This instills confidence in your knowledge management system as an authoritative knowledge source, or single source of truth.
Not introducing mechanisms for access controls and recurring reviews can erode confidence in the system and lead to lower utilization.
3. Continuous Improvement
Organizations should improve their knowledge by allowing agents and customers to provide feedback. Information changes over time, and so the ability to flag aging or incorrect information helps ensure its timeliness and accuracy.
Customer needs and preferences also evolve, so feedback can help organizations stay competitive and adapt to changes in the industry. Continuously improving can make customers happier and encourages a learning culture, finding knowledge gaps, and promoting innovation.
Feedback combined with analytics enables staff to evaluate interactions of customers using self-service to find areas of improvement in knowledge and processes.
livepro allows agents and customers to give their feedback in various ways, such as by rating the relevance of answers and by providing input on specific knowledge objects.
4. Reduced Onboarding and Training Time
Knowledge management that delivers answers at conversational speed can significantly decrease training and onboarding time.
Answers allow agents to access information without extensive training and having to memorize certain facts so they can concentrate on resolving customer issues.
Moreover, if the right answers are immediately available this diminishes the need for tiered support (which tends to increase average handle times), where newer agents must hand off more complex queries to their more knowledgeable colleagues.
By way of illustration, one government organization that utilized governed knowledge using livepro reduced staff training time from 26 down to four weeks.
Best Practices for Customer Service Knowledge Management
Here are some best practices for ensuring that knowledge used in customer service is trustworthy and consistent.
Aim for Easy Access to Answers
Make it easy for agents and customers to find relevant and reliable answers on their own, rather than displaying long documents.
During livepro’s onboarding phase, we actively convert information into answers by extracting relevant knowledge from existing documents into templates.
Our process is efficient and we find it to be an effective way for identifying and capturing business-relevant answers.
The user interface of our knowledge management system is highly customisable allowing the knowledge to be grouped into modules and categories according to the business.
Encourage Feedback and Collaboration
We recommend you encourage everyone’s input and suggestions, as well as foster open communication among users to discuss, critique, and provide feedback on the knowledge used to answer customer queries, and to share their experience with the system. This identifies areas for improvement and inspires both customers and agents to contribute to customer service knowledge.
Adopt Knowledge Governance
Governed knowledge is the outcome of the larger effort of establishing and maintaining roles, structures, and standards for creating, sharing, and using knowledge—otherwise known as knowledge governance.
Knowledge governance is especially useful and necessary for companies in regulated industries where liability for wrong answers can be an issue.
livepro offers governance features such as:
- Controlled access and workflows for authoring and editing, including decentralized authoring to capture knowledge from any part of the organization.
- Version control with archival and review dates to ensure compliance with best practices. A complete history of your knowledge is also recorded, which shows the date, author, and details of any changes made.
- Reporting and analytics: best-in-class analytics tools allow you to generate comprehensive reports on every aspect of livepro, including knowledge content, its accessibility, and the users who have accessed it.
Integrate Your Knowledge Management with Other Tools
To simplify customer service workflows and allow your agents to focus on problem solving and customer interactions, we recommend a knowledge management system that easily integrates with other tools in your customer service platform.
Interfacing with other software like your CRM and ticketing system can result in more personalized and efficient approaches to working, and offer a more consistent experience across self-service channels such as email, chat, social media, and others.
livepro offers a number of integrations with third parties such as Genesys Cloud, Salesforce, Zendesk, and Microsoft Teams.
Measure and Track Success
To get started you’ll first want to establish baseline metrics by assessing your current performance.
Decide on which KPIs are relevant, whether those be CSAT scores, first contact resolution (FCR), average response or handling time, ticket volume, agent utilization rate, and others.
Set realistic targets for improvement based on industry benchmarks and on your organizational goals. Monitor KPIs over time to assess the impact of your efforts, and make changes to your knowledge management strategy as needed.
Real-World Examples of Effective Knowledge Management in Customer Service
Putting relevant and timely answers at the fingertips of contact center agents and customers takes a deep understanding of the needs and expectations of both groups.
At its core, customers desire a speedy and satisfying resolution to their questions and problems. Agents want to provide such answers in the most efficient way possible. An effective knowledge management system is built around these tenets.
Below are some real-world examples of customers who have achieved success in customer service with livepro.
A leading provider of medical malpractice insurance, Avant Mutual had no central knowledge repository. And their answers need to be consistent and correct across all queries. This led to long wait times for customers as agents had to consult with colleagues before giving an answer. Training new colleagues was a long and complex process.
livepro stepped in and consolidated all customer service information into a single source of truth that allowed staff to give the individualized responses to customer queries they needed. This decreased call transfers by 33% and wrap-up time by 55%.
Among the customers that Datacom, a major IT service provider, assists through multiple channels like phone, email, and chat are large government entities.
Given the complexity of customer questions and the need for compliance, the team has to quickly learn about their customers’ products and services to provide accurate information to customers.
To achieve this, they required a system that was customizable to their business needs, had an intuitive user interface, and easily integrated with their existing customer service tools. The knowledge content needed to be organized logically and be easy to digest.
On implementing livepro, Datacom realized a 17% reduction in AHT and increased speed to competency. The company has since expanded their staff of knowledge experts to continue capitalizing on livepro’s features.
Royal Automobile of Australia is a large insurance provider for cars, home, and travel. Their customer service representatives must cope with a wide range of member needs and stay updated on regulatory changes.
The department had to use a simple file manager to manage their knowledge that didn’t meet their needs. The information wasn’t organized consistently and there was no way to keep track of changes or search effectively. As a result, performance metrics and staff engagement surveys were negatively impacted.
Deploying livepro translated into better user feedback and involvement with the system, allowing RAA to decrease support calls by 22% while boosting confidence in customer service knowledge by 37%.
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