A groan goes up from a booth in the back corner. Someone at the contact centre just realised they’d missed an update, which means they’d given a customer the wrong information.
Visit any customer service contact centre and you’ll find at nearly every consultant’s desk, their best friend—the company cheat sheet.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve noticed cheat sheets looking a bit different to what they once did. Where once, this was one-sided, double-spaced and typed, now it’s double-sided, single-spaced, and has handwritten notes in the margins.
This is no surprise when you think about the explosion of Big Data, with a full 90% of the world’s data produced in the past 24 months alone! The impact of Big Data on business services and behaviours means that knowledge and intellectual property are assets that require management and leveraging, just like any physical or human assets.
But imagine this: we live in a magical universe where cheat sheets update every time a piece of information changes. But think bigger yet! Imagine every single cheat sheet in your call centre updating without anyone having to go through the arduous process of reprinting a new cheat sheet, making sure everyone has it and understands when they need to refer to it (not their memory), and throwing out the outdated version. No human error involved!
This is what ‘Single Source of Truth’ aims to achieve.
What is a Single Source of Truth (SSOT)?
In knowledge-management speak, “single source of truth” or SSoT refers to a trusted source of information relied upon by everyone. It’s all information, in one location, on one platform, managed by the best authority. It’s the ‘brain,’ in other words, where company processes, procedure, and intellectual property resides.
For companies that adopt the SSoT method of knowledge management, any amended and new information is instantly pushed out to the entire network so that members have immediate access. Complications rarely arise because employees do not take information offline into spaces it cannot be controlled.
Benefits of Single Source of Truth
SSoT knowledge management software is game-changing, especially for workforces scattered across different centres, in different time zones around the USA, Canada, United Kingdom (UK) and Australia or simply, working from home.
1. Your Information: Latest and Greatest
- You control the Knowledge, pushing out updates from the SSoT platform and avoiding the problem of outdated reference material and cheat sheets.
- Strict governance in an SSoT platform ensures that only authorised members create, edit, approve, and publish updates. Contact centre staff develop confidence in their SSoT platform because they no longer deal with problems associated with outdated data.
- SSoT eliminates duplicate records and version control issues.
- A single source of truth has a robust audit trail with an ability to view previous versions.
- With dependable, accurate, fast information from a SSoT disseminated across platforms, both the customer experience (CX) and the employee experience are instantly elevated. The flow on benefits from this are ongoing.
2. Stop Searching for Information
- A single source of truth greatly improves productivity. According to a white paper from International Data Corporation (IDC), “The High Cost of Not Finding Information,” knowledge is “lifeblood” to an enterprise. And yet, IDC found that the typical knowledge worker “spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.”
- A KMS makes timely, correct information available in an easily searchable, central place. Cloud-based, an SSoT is not geographically limited like a database. Users can pull up-to-the-minute information from any location with their browser.
- SSoT overcomes the challenge of accessing important information that currently resides in ‘silos’ (departmental—or compartmentalised—black boxes). With standardised, relevant information from across the organisation available from one source. Inbuilt analytics allows data from production, customer service, and sales and marketing to inform business leaders as they make decisions for the business.
- SSoT improves communication, collaboration, and productivity, as employees quickly and easily find the Knowledge they’re looking for.
Why Contact Centres Always Struggle to Create a Single Source of Truth
Because most organisations do not centrally store their information, silos form along organisational lines. Knowledge and processes, questions and answers for different teams and areas of expertise develop at different stages, rates, and across multiple platforms.
Perhaps the sales team uses Salesforce, marketing uses HubSpot, the maintenance crew uses a hand-scribbled notepad, and management stores their information in files on Google Drive or Dropbox. Many contact centres use several different platforms for different types of data; for instance, they may use sharepoint for document management, and livepro for customer experience knowledge management. It’s recommended to use a singular platform like livepro where possible to ensure all knowledge is completely controlled and nothing gets duplicated.
Each platform becomes a repository of information, enclosed and protected, unable to integrate or interact with other repositories—and, worse yet, locking out users within the same organisation who may need the information! Exacerbating the situation, contact centres are so busy providing customer support that developing a strategy for knowledge management is usually pushed down the list of priorities, especially when the task itself seems insurmountable because no one internal has the expertise or knows where to start!
Yes, revising, documenting, and storing information and processes for each project or team or department in one place feels like a major wrangling operation. Won’t that result in a major mess? How do you even do this when a typical company uses 79 different apps and new software becomes available every single day?
Having a software operations consultant or a reliable IT department can help you navigate the confusion and design an integrated architectural network of technology that is secure and fulfils its purpose.
How to Implement an SSoT in Your Organization
Developing a knowledge management strategy is the first step in helping you make your way through the complications and implement your game-changing single source of truth.
We’ve summarised this in three main steps:
- Audit your knowledge base and current systems.
Start by answering questions such as these:
- Where is our content stored? Is it safe and accessible to those who need it?
- How enhanced is the content?
- What content management process do we use?
- Is our content up to date or being updated regularly?
- Are we taking into consideration staff and customer feedback when updating our process guidelines and questionnaires?
Also take into consideration internal culture and expertise, customer intent and behaviour, your current platforms, the channels you use to communicate with customers, and the capabilities of your customer service agents. Analysing these factors helps you identify and develop specific, concrete goals.
- Identify the technologies you need and define your business transformation roadmap.
A major determinant of success is earning the buy-in of all stakeholders and senior management. How invested are your customer service agents in managing and centralising knowledge? Do they understand the benefits? Which technologies will help you condense your current and/or new processes and give your business a competitive edge, boosting performance, and enhancing product quality?
- Develop and apply your implementation strategy.
Determine the ‘how’ of your project. Decide whether the project plan for your SSoT Knowledge Management System would best be implemented by your IT department or set up as a pilot project and iteratively expanded with an accompanying training program across the organisation. Plan.
How livepro Knowledge Management Can Help You
In an age of instant data transmission and globalisation, in an environment where intranet technology, content and knowledge management systems, corporate portals, and workflow solutions have created a deluge of interconnected as well as disconnected information, a single piece of information requires at any given point in time has become even more difficult to find.
It’s understandable that most contact centre managers want the answer to a pivotal question as they contemplate what it might take to embark on a major overhaul of their knowledge management system: “Is a single source of truth only going to end up being the same cluttered mess we currently experience with intranets and share drives?”
We confidently and definitively say “No.”
The truth is that you will experience the opposite. Good knowledge management solves those problems. An SSoT system addresses current and potential data issues and makes accurate information easily searchable and quickly accessible. Silos of information are sent to a primary location where Knowledge is synthesised and integrated into an interface that is easy for end-users and avoids any drama or confusion. In a nutshell, we take care of the hard stuff so you can concentrate on your work.
In a commercial environment, where the customer experience (CX) is integral to success and data informs business strategy, knowledge management separates the winners from the losers.
Contact us today to find out more about livepro’s knowledge management software.