Posted by Sam George
Helpful customer service advisors with information at their fingertips are the key to winning customer confidence. They have an answer for every question, a suggestion for every query and a resolution for every issue. And they never have to put you on hold to find it. And behind every such super-efficient advisor is a knowledge base system working hard to deliver tailored answers via the appropriate channel.
When customers call they want information fast. They don’t want to be put on hold or to feel they have been 'fobbed off'. But giving the right answer fast can be more difficult than it sounds. And ensuring consistency of that information across all channels also becomes a challenge, especially if channels operate in silos.
Image courtesy: Google images
I was recently told by one FMCG company (I won’t name names), that information about their brands resided across three disparate databases that could only be accessed by specialist personnel trained to handle SAP interfaces. Costly and far from ideal! By contrast, the knowledge base we operate for Unilever (one of our clients) holds all relevant information in a single place accessible directly from the agent desktop. There’s everything in there from a list of allergens covering over 200 products to details of current and historical promotions for over 40 brands. Close to 10,000 articles in total ’ rigorously ordered, constantly updated and intuitively accessible.
So, how do you build a definitive knowledge base? Here's some advice based on our experience:
- Consolidate: Like our FMCG friend mentioned above, you probably have information everywhere. Consolidate it into a single repository where it can be stored and managed. And make sure this single repository powers all your communication channels and that all your customer service advisors have access to it.We work with partners like Synthetix to create the underlying technological framework for this process.
- Make it easy: Use intuitive interfaces that make it easy for agents to navigate quickly, and structure data on the premise that even the most untrained eye should be able to find it easily. We then use data analytics to increase usability overtime. By tracking how agents use the knowledge base we can plot the fastest routes to the most regularly needed information.
- Keep it up-to-date: Information has to be current. We use a methodology that imposes a disciplined approach to content review, refinement and continuous improvement.
- Prioritise: Speed up responses by storing a bank of generic responses to frequently asked questions.
- Think multi-channel: To deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels make sure each has recourse to the same knowledge base. A robust and flexible knowledge base system can power communications through all channels – voice, email, web chat, social media or self service.
It goes without saying that fast, accurate answers keep customers happy, and they drive down call duration too. So, get the knowledge base right and watch the costs go down as customer satisfaction goes up!