Knowledge Management in the Customer Care Management Industry
One service that is fast gaining a foothold in the customer care management Industry is Knowledge Management (KM). A recent study shows that 70.1% of companies are institutionalizing KM in one way or another into their core business processes. So just what is Knowledge Management? It is defined as the process of capturing, enhancing, and re-using the knowledge and expertise gained from creating, using, and supporting a product. From the definition, we can assume two things:
- Data becomes information and information becomes knowledge;
- KM therefore leads to effective knowledge transfer across organization and its customers.
The technical part of KM comes into play when choosing the most effective way of processing acquired data and delivering these “processed” data both internally and externally. The media that can be used in delivering the knowledge can be determined by understanding what your core business is and who your customers are. Having an in-depth understanding of these two factors are key to a successful Knowledge Management implementation.
How is Knowledge Management delivered? In a contact center, knowledge is delivered to both customers and agents by means of varying tools and technologies. These can be self-help tools for customers and knowledge base websites for agents. The objective of the former is to deflect calls by giving customers a means to resolve their own product issues. The most common example is “How To articles” – a step by step guide about known product issues. Given that the main objective is to enhance the customer experience, agents can also be equipped with tools that will help them give effective support to customers. These tools can be in the form of a collaborative knowledge base that houses various support tools like simulators, product pages, and process wizards. You may also opt to arm the knowledge base with tools like chat and discussion boards. An ideal Knowledge base should have the capability to directly accept and process content contributions from customers and agents. Furthermore, it should have robust and powerful search function capabilities. In general practice, knowledge base contents and tools are being developed by dedicated KM personnel. The KM team is usually comprised of Product Experts, Technical Writers, and Test Engineers. In order to determine what types of content to develop, most KM practitioners in the industry analyze feedback and surveys from customers and agents. Call logs are also used to identify and prioritize content and tools development.
What are the benefits of Knowledge Management? The benefits of KM may vary depending on the nature of the business. In our industry, the most common metrics that are being considered are increasing customer satisfaction, lowering support cost and improving agent efficiency and productivity. To further detail the benefits, a recent survey shows that increasing customer satisfaction ranks as the number one reason why most companies are implementing KM in their businesses –an increase in customer satisfaction means an increase in customer loyalty and retention. This in turn will result in increased revenue and profit. We talked about call deflection earlier in this article – that is where the KM benefit of reducing support cost comes in. A great portion of savings can be accounted for in the deflection of incoming calls by customers. This is achieved by providing customers with effective self-help tools so customers can find their way into resolving their own product issues. Thus, companies can save up on support costs associated with the call. In addition, saving customers the hassle of having to switch channels because they could not resolve the issue on the first try lowers customer effort. This has been shown to be a very important factor in enhancing customer loyalty. Another benefit of having a KM program is that it greatly improves agent efficiency and increases agent productivity. The fact is that agents who are better equipped with support tools have lower handling time in resolving customer issues and have a higher first call resolution rate.
Conclusion A Technical Support Company’s success lies primarily on its knowledge to effectively service its customers. It is in this context that KM comes into play. KM facilitates effective gathering, processing and dissemination of knowledge throughout the organization, benefiting customers and partners. There is no doubt that KM is becoming an integral part of contact centre operations. More and more companies in this industry are raking in positive results from their KM initiatives. Though it is true that KM implementation does not happen overnight, the benefits associated with a successful KM execution are overwhelming.