Ecommerce sales around the globe are expected to account for over a fifth of all retail sales by the end of 2022—which means support teams must handle a huge volume of calls in Q4 and Q1.
No matter what business you’re in, peak season can make or break your customer experience if agents can’t serve customers with great answers.
With any rise in call volume, your agents must minimize their handle times and time on hold to keep customers happy. You can find many strategies to improve productivity, but one solution—better knowledge management—can have an enormous impact on call center metrics. Check out our post, How to Improve Call Center Metrics with Knowledge Management to learn more.
If your team can’t keep up with nonstop calls, it may be time to share this link with your company’s knowledge manager. Even if it’s too late for widespread change this year, you will need modern approach to knowledge management to truly serve great answers to customers in all support channels.
In this post, we’ll break down why knowledge management makes all the difference whenever you receive an influx of tickets or phone calls.
Your self-service channels depend on an excellent knowledge source
According to Statista, 88% of customers expect the companies they do business with to offer an online self-service support portal. But you need to do more than simply provide self-service channels—you need great answers.
Customers want to feel empowered to find answers and solve their own problems without the help of a customer service agent unless necessary. Self service sounds great to busy support teams—but knowledge contained in self-help portals often grows stale; chatbot responses need to be updated from time to time. Knowledge silos are simply impossible to manage at scale.
To realistically manage knowledge in support channels, you need a well-designed knowledge management platform.
A knowledge management platform is a step above a knowledge base. Ideally, this type of platform can provide knowledge internally and externally, putting information at the fingertips of your call center representatives and customers.
To deflect call volume, your organization needs a source of truth for knowledge; knowledge management software that keeps knowledge maintained should integrate into self service channels.
You can expect the following benefits if you decide to integrate knowledge:
- Consistent information: When your knowledge management platform is fully integrated and omnichannel-ready, the information provided to both agents and customers remains consistent. This ensures all non-sensitive information can be accessed by anyone, at any time.
- Customer convenience: You need great answers in the support channels a customer prefers to use. No matter where customers start their search, your knowledge management software should deliver answers—in the right format—for each channel you support.
- Call deflection: Giving customers the ability to answer their own questions effectively heads off most simple customer service inquiries at the pass. Fewer customer inquiries about issues they can resolve for themselves frees up your call center agents to devote their time to more intensive customer issues.
Integrate knowledge, don’t create knowledge silos
If you are adding more self service options, never copy knowledge to another repository; new silos create extra work for knowledge managers and creates a never-ending loop of updating each silo.
In the modern business world, knowledge managers need automation, not more silos to maintain.
Some inquiries you must loop in a customer support agent; for all other inquiries, you absolutely need up-to-date knowledge, absolutely everywhere customers frequently look for information.
Agents need knowledge to find them—not the other way around
Agents want to resolve calls as quickly and efficiently as they can; this goal becomes difficult to achieve if agents must switch tabs or use 2-3 sources of knowledge.
Agents often start their search using a knowledge base, other times they contact a manager. Sometimes they even resort to printouts or sticky notes. Each of these tactics can cause bloated hold times and impact other metrics—but there is a better solution.
In the modern world, answer recommendations need to find your agents based on input they have received from a customer.
If you implement a knowledge management solution with Agent Assist technology, your customers will benefit as a result of reduced handle times and on-hold times—a win-win for the CS department AND customers.
Based on the context and verbiage of the conversation between a customer and agent, modern knowledge management technology can use AI to locate and recommend the best possible answer. Agents can then select the appropriate response and provide it to the customer.
With agent assist, agents search through a knowledge base as a last resort; each search lengthens an agent’s response time and reduces the agent’s productivity and efficiency.
Integrate knowledge wherever you can
Even if your current knowledge base has limitations, try to integrate your knowledge solution where customers and agents spend time. Especially in the enterprise, your agents should stay in ticketing and contact center software they use every day when they need help.
Due to a lack of knowledge management best practices, agents are often have a collection knowledge repositories to sort through every time a customer has a question. Many companies turn to federated search as a solution to query all these sources—but without a central source of knowledge that stays maintain, knowledge quality won’t be reliable.
The impact of great knowledge management on call volume
As call volume increases, your agents need to be as efficient as possible—the search for knowledge is a huge factor in this equation.
Before your next busy season, consider incorporating a fully integrated, omnichannel-ready knowledge management platform into your call center tech stack.
There is tremendous ROI for modern knowledge management applied to the contact center, because the right KM solution makes your entire customer support team more efficient.
If you’re still using a collection of knowledge bases or legacy solutions, explore the ROI of modern knowledge management and be prepared for spikes in call volume.