When customers engage with a company, they expect a positive interaction, of course—but increasingly, they also desire a personalized experience. They want to be treated as unique individuals rather than a number. That means companies today must not only find ways to improve the overall customer experience, but also to customize it to each individual consumer.
That’s where customer knowledge management and data come in. With an effective customer knowledge management framework, companies can capture, store, and analyze customer data—and then use it to provide those valuable, innovative, personalized experiences.
What Is Customer Knowledge Management?
Customer knowledge management is a company’s process for collecting, storing, evaluating, and analyzing customer data and insights. This typically includes information such as purchase history, demographics, customer feedback, past customer service interactions, and more.
While each element of this information may not be useful on its own, when combined and analyzed, it paints a comprehensive picture of each customer and becomes a core component of the company-customer relationship.
Equipped with this knowledge, companies can gain deep insights into customer behavior and trends, which can inform a more effective, personalized customer experience.
How Customer Knowledge Management Improves Business
Businesses must, of course, store customer data securely and allow customers to opt in to data collection. But with the proper measures in place, companies can leverage customer data and knowledge to provide more efficient customer service and better experiences. Customers recognize this value as well, and 79% say they are willing to share relevant information about themselves in exchange for contextualized interactions in which they are immediately known and understood.
When companies collect and analyze customer data, they’re able to better understand their audience, which allows them to enhance every interaction with those customers. Ultimately, the insights they glean from customer data directly translate to increased engagement, loyalty, and sales—and create value for both the company and its customers.
Here is a deeper look into how a customer knowledge management framework can lead to improved business and better customer experiences.
Gather Customer Data
Effective customer knowledge management starts by gathering comprehensive customer data. This isn’t done solely through direct customer questions or surveys, although that can certainly be one part of your overall strategy. You may gather customer data through subscription information, purchase history, online tracking, and social media monitoring.
Together, the data you gather should paint a holistic picture of your customers, reflecting their preferences around marketing campaigns, product and service offerings, communication methods, and more.
Securely Store Data
Customer data can be collected via a wide range of methods and formats, and it’s often stored in just as many different places. However, customer knowledge is most useful when it’s stored in one central, secure repository.
In some cases, you may be able to combine the processes of gathering and storing customer data. For example, you might integrate a knowledge management platform with your customer relationship management (CRM) software so that you can search for and access relevant knowledge assets within the CRM and track which documents are being used to assist customers or move buyers further down your sales funnel.
Open the Door for Data Analysis
While an individual point of customer data may be interesting, it isn’t actually very useful on its own. That’s because data is simply a collection of individual facts. It’s only when you interpret and analyze those facts that data becomes useful information.
For example, a customer’s response to an individual customer service survey is a single point of data. However, when you analyze that customer’s feedback over time, you can gain a more complete picture of where your customer service team may need to improve and, more specifically, what you can do to enhance that particular customer’s experience.
However, that introduces a new challenge: while today’s technology allows you to collect almost an infinite amount of data, it’s too much to analyze on your own. Fortunately, AI-powered tools make it much more feasible to quickly evaluate data sets and glean valuable insights from them.
Improve the Customer Experience
After analyzing customer data and gleaning insights, you can provide them to your team in useful formats within a knowledge management system, including:
- Survey results
- Best practices
- Case studies
When you make those resources available to your employees, you will equip them to more effectively do their jobs. For example, you can provide your customer support team with information about each customer’s transaction history, past feedback, and communication preferences. This enables your support team to provide each customer with a personalized experience that leads to enhanced customer satisfaction and retention.
On a larger scale, these customer insights allow businesses to make more informed decisions about product offerings, marketing campaigns, customer service communication channels, and much more. Ultimately, when you have a holistic, 360-degree understanding of your customer, you can deliver what they truly want, rather than what you think they want.
Successful customer knowledge management involves collecting data from multiple sources, securely storing it, analyzing it, and—most importantly—using it to inform business decisions and enhance the customer experience. In the end, customer knowledge management can be a competitive advantage and a value add; when you truly understand your audience, your company and your customers will benefit.