Integrating Knowledge Management in the Customer Experience


Many famous (and some infamous) people have opined about knowledge — acquiring knowledge, controlling knowledge, sharing knowledge and using knowledge. Benjamin Franklin said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” As with many things, Benjamin Franklin had an uncanny ability to see into the future. The market for knowledge, specifically knowledge management, is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2026.

For organizations, the demand on knowledge technologies has never been greater. As employees are increasingly working remotely, and customers move to digital engagement models, the ability to deliver accurate knowledge quickly — at the point of impact — is more critical than ever. However, getting knowledge from Point A to Point B isn’t always simple. You need a clear understanding of your information consumers, the unique needs of each consumer, and the ability to coordinate a variety of technologies and processes that don’t always work together.

To deliver the right knowledge to the right person at the right time, when it matters, requires a technology foundation that takes the following into account.

Your information consumers: Are you serving the needs of a single cohort or many? How do your cohorts consume knowledge? What do your cohorts prioritize when it comes to knowledge? Why do your cohorts need knowledge? What are they trying to achieve?

The content itself: What will be the system of record — your source of truth? Is your content heavy on text or does it include visuals? Is your content static or does it change frequently? How important is accuracy and what does accuracy mean to your organization?

Storage and ownership: Do you have a central, in-house repository? Are you using a cloud-based CMS solution? Are you using one technology or multiple technologies? Is your content decentralized and, if so, who owns what?

Usage and timing: Who initiates content usage? Is it by request by an experienced knowledge consumer? What does search look like and what channels does content need to flow through? What is an acceptable delay (if any) between request and fulfillment? How many requests is the user expected to make before they receive what they need?

The Problem-Solving Disconnect

Organizations often spend a lot of time, money and effort on knowledge management systems that might work great for ad-hoc requests by experienced professionals. But then they discover that the same system doesn’t work when used to support customer experience use cases. The use of knowledge for customer experience needs to deliver information in real time. It needs to fit the intent of the request — and it’s often delivered to a distracted customer and/or a busy agent. Enterprise knowledge repositories often fall short when they’re stretched to deliver against those requirements.

In the Genesys “State of Customer Research” report, we found that customers rank outcomes where knowledge plays a role highest. When customers were asked which service characteristics were most important, the top at 29% was “first interaction problem resolution,” followed by “knowledgeable representative/agent” (18%). Both dimensions are driven by a customer’s ability to get to the right information quickly. There’s a cost to getting knowledge wrong. Forbes found that 28% of consumers tend not to buy a brand’s product after encountering inaccurate information.

Because many organizations have implemented a variety of sophisticated technologies for knowledge management and customer service, there might be a perception that the ability to resolve issues the first time has been resolved. In the same report, IT managers rated “first interaction problem resolution” lower in priority than customers and customer service professionals. Only 13% of IT managers ranked it as the most important dimension. Unfortunately, in many cases, organizations have created silos and barriers between information workers, information consumers and the knowledge base. Removing these barriers can unleash the true potential of knowledge. Organizations looking to turn knowledge into information for the information consumer — customers and agents — should consider the following factors.

Integration of Knowledge and Channels
Maintaining a system for knowledge that’s separated from where it’s used creates lags and friction. Bringing knowledge into the system of engagement allows knowledge workers to have direct access to information that’s critical to customers and agents — and ensures that knowledge is optimized for the audience.

Make Knowledge Easy to Manage
Make sure that knowledge is easy to manage from a user interface (UI) perspective. Channel managers, knowledge workers and all those that are critical to delivering on the customer experience promise should have an easy, intuitive, natural way to work with knowledge.

Ensure Knowledge Insight is Accessible
Reporting and analytics are critical. Too often, insight into how knowledge is used is trapped in unreadable system logs. Being able to use this insight and making knowledge effectiveness easy and understandable is powerful. Knowledge workers need to know how knowledge is used, by whom, how its perceived and what’s missing, so they can proactively address content issues and optimize findability.

AI Capability is Critical
Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled knowledge is a must-have. Specifically, knowledge needs to be part of a system that includes conversational AI capabilities such as Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP is used to understand the request; it uses language characteristics to match the request to the right content. NLP is a foundation for Semantic Search, which replaces the traditional keyword and phrase matching with a more sophisticated approach that connects content to the intent of the information seeker.

Knowledge Needs to Learn
Knowledge is fluid. Knowledge workers need easy ways to identify and fill knowledge gaps. While knowledge augmentation is often a top-down directive, the insight into whether knowledge is effective should also come from the users. Knowledge consumers are the humans in the loop of the knowledge optimization process.

Knowledge is critical to the customer experience. It equally enables a bot to answer a question as it does an agent to work with a customer to solve a complex issue. Creating and storing knowledge, while important and challenging from a technology perspective, is just the beginning. AI-enabled knowledge management tools must be tightly integrated into the system that delivers your customer and employee experience. Knowledge should be easy to use, easy to integrate and easy to optimize. Learn more about our knowledge capability online.