Knowledge management is a no-brainer in contact centres. The ability to answer customers’ questions easily and resolve their pain points in real time, is priceless. But a knowledge management system (KMS) can do so much more. Read on to find out how other functions in your business could benefit from one source of truth.
Most organisations understand how imperative it is to provide consistent, accurate and up-to-date information through all customer channels – and for that to be fed by one system. A well-designed KMS can shorten handle times, reduce re-work, increase first-contact resolution and reduce call-backs and transfers. It also means you can push customers to API-driven, self-serve web content and chat bots. The result is less anxiety and frustration for your customers and happier, more engaged staff.
But why stop there? Wherever employees need to have access to the right knowledge at the right time to perform their roles, a KMS can be a godsend. It can free people from having to chase down the right person with the right answers. It reduces time spent picking through databases, servers, siloed intranets and paper files to find what’s still current, or wading through complex documents and multiple versions of those documents. The other advantage of a KMS is it keeps knowledge in-house long after employees have left the business; and it’s accessible even when key personnel are on leave.
Here are a few thought starters for how knowledge management can be used to meet a variety of needs across your organisation, both urgent and routine.
#1 - Back-office onboarding
One of our clients, a subsidiary of a major bank, came to us with administrative procedures so complex and in-depth that new back-office employees needed six weeks of training before they could start to process transactions.
The bank was already using livepro Knowledge Management in their contact centre; so they went a step further and set up a central repository for training guides, process maps, procedural documents, as well as a categorisation system. Now, the subsidiary has 300 staff using the system and it takes three days instead of six weeks to get a new recruit to competency, saving over $500,000 per year.
Note that this client had clear objectives for its knowledge management program. Every organisation needs to think of their KMS in terms of how it can enable elements of their business strategy and tie into key success measures.
The subsidiary has 300 staff using the system and it takes three days instead of six weeks to get a new recruit to competency
#2 - Marketing and sales
When approved information about products and pricing is available at all times in one place, your marketing team can use it to create and maintain your digital channels - from websites to social media, ensuring consistency in customer experience. Not only that, it helps keep salespeople up to speed so they can close more deals, and aligns sales and marketing functions to produce best results.
Marketing collateral can be stored in a KMS to ensure it’s used and distributed correctly in all instances, even across regions. Marketers can see what knowledge staff and customers are accessing, so they can refine their information offering and update as required.
You can also maintain a library of competitive intelligence to great effect. Back in the early 2000s, sales, marketing and strategy professionals at British Telecom were already reaping the benefits of a company-wide, web-based system for competitor research. One account director reported his sales team generated £1 million in new business by using the briefings in the system.
Often, you’ll find when frustration is removed from the process, it trickles down to the customer. For instance, sales managers who can find information easily will likely service their customers far more professionally than those forced to chase down answers from disparate sources.
Improving knowledge management practices can help team leaders make important decisions and be a source of knowledge for people working anywhere in the world.
#3 - Risk and compliance teams
In the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Banking in Australia, we’ve seen the onus put squarely on financial organisations to reduce misinformation and ensure accuracy and currency in the information they provide. Compliance and risk are important in every business but if your organisation is in a strictly regulated sector, you’ll need to have control over the answers your agents and digital channels deliver to customers, as well as the marketing materials pushed out to the wider public.
In practice that means your knowledge needs to be managed through document version control. You’ll need a system for mandatory and timely review of documentation, in a workflow system that controls who, what and where your authors can contribute knowledge; as well as who edits and approves (or blocks), and who publishes and how far in advance.
You’ll need to be able to view a full history of knowledge on a topic and who made changes, what was changed and when, and be able to reinstate previous versions if necessary. Expiry dates on content are also important in some cases.
On top of that, when you’re able to run an audit report that tracks all changes to knowledge, including who accesses it, audits are so much less stressful. All of this makes compliance easier, reducing costly mistakes and risk to your business.
After introducing clients to NEC Knowledge Management powered by livepro, we’ve seen how the system can streamline communication and processes throughout many parts of an organisation. It can help team leaders make important decisions and be a source of knowledge for people working anywhere in the world. It also means your employees aren’t constantly figuring out problems from scratch, because at some stage in the past, someone already solved the same problems and shared it on the system. And that capability has application well beyond your contact centre personnel.