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As contact centers look to quickly accommodate remote workers in the face of surging customer demand, knowledge management has become a foundation for success. And for good reason. Agents working from home no longer have easy access to their co-workers to bridge knowledge gaps. When knowledge gaps persist, customer experience suffers. Customers notice a slump in service quality and, more than ever, they’re opting to self-solve problems as they arise — instead of waiting for an agent to help them.
The resolution for both challenges is to provide asynchronous solutions that allow self-service knowledge on demand. Unfortunately, many traditional support channels and technologies are synchronous, meaning they require both agent and customer to be available at the same time for the same duration. If not, they time out after a period of inactivity and the customer must start over.
Self-service knowledge can support both synchronous and asynchronous workflows around the clock — workflows that can be discontinued at any point and then resumed later. This is necessary as the merging of home-life and work-life requires greater flexibility in daily rhythms.
It’s faster than you might think to deploy self-service knowledge solutions, but only if you do it the right way. When done correctly, the benefits are noticed immediately and they’re transformative for the customer experience and your company.
The secret to rapid knowledge deployment is contained in three steps. Follow this formula to begin self-service interactions within three to 10 days of deployment. Within a few short weeks, the volume of self-service interactions likely will outnumber the number of assisted interactions by a healthy margin. And, you’ll have measurable outcomes in the form of increased customer satisfaction and massive increases in agent productivity.
The most common error is to attempt to address the agent needs first. While intuitively correct, that’s a critical error. Customer need is a better starting point, as the agent will be helped most effectively if call volume is reduced and he or she is given more time to properly address customer problems.
Allowing customers the option to self-service inherently unburdens the agent contact center and creates the space necessary for agents to adapt and listen to their customers. By taking this type of customer-first approach, both the customer experience and the agent experience improve simultaneously.
Doing the opposite — focusing solely on the agent experience — only introduces more change to an already stressed environment. This can result in a slower rollout, low adoption and poor success outcomes.
Understanding the customer support journey just before engagement with the contact center is critical to success. Some questions to consider:
Identify the biggest entry point to your contact center experience and embed the self-service knowledge right there. If the customer performs a web search using Google, make sure that your self-service knowledge is optimized to take the top spot. If your product has an interface, embed the information right then and there. Good knowledge management solutions enable all of this out of the box — without the need for large-scale services deployments to get them up and running.
Customer interactions via self-service steps taken can already power an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to connect the customer with the correct solution. Agent interactions also greatly benefit from knowing exactly what the customer was trying to do just before they called the contact center. Too few knowledge deployments have the capability of connecting these dots. And that’s why they fail to generate real value.
Every customer self-service interaction should be powering an AI tool, right from the beginning, to learn how to serve the customer better. No agent should have to pick up the phone and start from square one in solving the customer issue. If done correctly, the self-service knowledge system captures a wealth of information that will lead to a better, faster customer outcome and a happier, more productive home-working agent.
Knowledge professionals have tools and methodologies to uncover these strategies quickly. And they have the software capabilities to stand up these experiences in a matter of days. How they go about it will determine time to value and quality of experience.
The result of getting it right can free up your contact center employees so that they can focus on high-quality customer interactions rather than high-quantity, high-effort actions. To learn more about MindTouch, visit the applisting in the marketplace.
This blog was co-authored by MindTouch CEO, Aaron Rice.
Join Aaron to get the timeline and requirements for rapidly launching self-service knowledge, including real-world use cases and expected impact on customer experience and contact center efficiency. Tune in live on July 08 2020 at 8:00 AM PST. Register now!
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