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3 Ways to Employ Knowledge Management for Customer Service

August 17, 2015
Written by Dana Youngren

According to a recent survey, 69 percent of consumers attributed their good customer service experience to quick resolution of their problem. A good knowledge management system:

  • Breaks down silos to enable more collaboration between employees.
  • Ensures that important resources and answers to common questions are easily accessible on demand.
  • Cuts down on both call times and the number of calls customer service representatives have to take by making answers easier for everyone to find.
  • Reduces time to resolution, enabling a better customer service experience and saving resources.

SpareFoot, the world’s largest online marketplace for self-storage, found that implementing a knowledge management tool with powerful search capabilities has saved each of their customer service team members at least one to two hours a month. Being able to find the answers they need quickly via search, rather than seeking out the best person in the department to ask, makes their job easier and enables them to better help customers.

The long wait time that upsets busy customers and makes it seem like the company doesn’t value their time can be eliminated. With an intuitive and powerful knowledge management system, reps can more easily find the right answer at the right time, every time.

Why Knowledge Management Is Great For Customers Too

The whole point of customer service is to please customers, so let’s look at what knowledge management actually means for them in practice. An overwhelming 91 percent of consumers said they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs. Here are some ways customers benefit from a company that is managing their knowledge intelligently:

The Rise of Self-Service Options

In a 2014 survey, Forrester found that 76 percent of consumers report using self-service channels like FAQ pages to find answers to their problems. An American Express survey backs that up, finding that over half of U.S. consumers say they prefer to use a self-service channel like a company’s website or smartphone app for simple inquiries.

When you’re in the middle of an overwhelmingly busy day and you encounter a problem with a product, do you:

A) Pick up the phone to call the company?

B) Head to Google or the company’s website to try to find a solution without having to make a call?

Some people still go for the phone, but according to Forrester Research, more and more people are hanging up the phone and looking online to self-serve.

Companies that use knowledge management tools to get the answers out there — on their websites, in forums, and in apps — are helping customers save time. A pleasant interaction with a customer service rep is always nice, but time saved is worth more to most clients.

The Rise of Customer Communities

A powerful knowledge management tool can be used to enable forums or communities where customers help each other out. Many companies are finding great success with this approach.

Customer service representatives are trained to know a right answer to common customer problems, but it’s not always the best possible answer. When you call a help or support desk, the motivation for the representative on the other end is usually to clear the support ticket. On the other hand, when you address that same question to a group of fellow business people, suddenly you have the potential to hear insights from new sources that go beyond the obvious answer. By providing customers with an easy way to collaborate on issues and ideas, customer service representatives can spend more time solving bigger problems in their organizations.

Customer Service Reps Are More Empowered

And of course, better knowledge management creates more empowered customer service representatives that give superior service. When a customer finds they do have to pick up the phone, they get someone on the other line that’s able to get them to the right answer faster. And they’re less likely to be stuck waiting on hold if other customers are successfully finding their answers online or in customer communities.

To learn more, check out our white paper, “Knowledge Management For Customer Service.” It explores why knowledge management is becoming increasingly essential to a successful customer service experience.

Harness The Power Of Knowledge Sharing With Digital Transformation

Companies that grasp what the digital workplace is really all about are willing to change the ways people and applications connect across their organizations. By fostering a digitally driven culture of collaboration, they break down silos, share knowledge more effectively, and compete more successfully.

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