Equipping your frontline customer service teams with product knowledge is one thing. Wielding that knowledge in a way that empowers customers and agents is another.
That’s the dream, but it’s an increasingly attainable reality as technology and desire catch up with these once-lofty ideas.
“Knowledge management” comprises the processes and people answering questions about your product or service. And it refers to the internal structure and tools bonding those people and that info.
It goes way beyond FAQ. It’s your optimized knowledge base allowing customers to self-help their way through difficulties. It’s the thought leadership you publish about industry best practices, trends, or optimizing your product to its utmost potential.
Findings in an updated Gartner report, “Knowledge Management Will Transform CRM Customer Service,” give us plenty to chew on. It reveals that the knowledge base can be a powerful foundation of customer service, reducing support costs, sharpening your agents’ expertise, and increasing customer satisfaction.
Despite the established negatives of poor knowledge management—including low customer satisfaction and a slowdown in agent productivity—knowledge management has yet to show up as a significant priority at the C level, according to the Gartner report. But data supports the theory that increased focus on knowledge management is a win-win-win for agents, customers, and your business’ bottom line.
A win for agents
As top-notch customer service becomes a must-have across industries, agent efficiency is a key piece of the puzzle. The Gartner report says that improving the delivery of contextual knowledge to either a fellow employee or a customer reduces a provider’s time to answer by 20 to 80% This in turn, the report finds, raises competency and satisfaction among agents. Data shows that improved agent experience improves agent retention. This speaks to a customer service career track for those advocates, which only means good things if you’re scaling your customer service operation in number, channel, or breadth and depth of agent expertise.
A win for customers
According to our Getting started with Zendesk Guide eBook, 73% of consumers want to solve problems on their own, and a staggering 90% of consumers have come to expect a self-service customer support portal. If a phone call or chat is in order, this same knowledge base is the at-their-fingertips info for advocates, which saves them time in each call.
During those phone calls and chats, efficient agents are helpful agents. A 2017 Zendesk survey found that 86% of surveyed Zendesk Guide users reported improved customer satisfaction by 50% or more. Furthermore, there is an established correlation between CSAT (Customer Satisfaction scores) and Net Promoter Score (NPS): the latter of which being the industry gold standard for measuring the likelihood a customer will return or remain loyal in the long term.
On the other side of the coin, the report finds that when agents struggle to match answers to questions, the customer experience suffers.
A win for the bottom line
As if agent satisfaction and positive customer experience weren’t enough, a beefy knowledge base results in a 35% reduction in the time it takes to train a new customer support representative, according to the report.
Ready to take the next step? Keep these Gartner-approved recommendations top of mind as you explore knowledge base solutions:
- Look for role model companies at which knowledge management is an enterprise-wide initiative, and study up.
- Appoint an internal knowledge management expert and identify weaknesses and opportunities within your organization.
- How will you spread the gospel of knowledge management across the enterprise? Create a statement, identify stakeholders, and start putting the message in motion.
- Measure and track changes in customer satisfaction (CSAT scores and other internal metrics) that resulted from easier access to information.
- Measure and track how long it took for someone (employee or customer) to find the right information. What does this customer journey map tell you?
- Establish processes for gathering, publishing, sharing, and tracking that information and its usefulness.