As someone who manages knowledge, you know there is more content, on more platforms, in more locations, than at any time in the past. If your knowledge is siloed (as it is for many companies), you know how difficult it can be to sort through content quickly to find what you need.
Despite this information challenge, time is valuable. Your employees need knowledge in the right place, at the right time—including agents in your contact center. What matters most is how reliable, relevant, and fast your knowledge can be accessed by people who need it most—both contact center agents and customers..
There is no single solution to solve every knowledge management problem overnight, but there are some general best practices you should follow.
This post will cover a few knowledge management basics that will benefit your customer support or contact center team.
1. Centralize Key Knowledge in a Single Location
For any contact center, speed of use and content findability are two highly beneficial outcomes of good knowledge management…but easier said than done.
You should always centralize important and often-accessed content to a single location, so contact center agents know where to go for information they need.
If content lives in a single location, you make it easier to locate and maintain; many organizations fail to stress.
Knowledge silos you can read more about in our post on knowledge management mistakes; silos are very common and a common cause of inefficiency for agents.
2. Design for Both Search & Browse Behavior
When users need to locate content, their approach can be broadly classified into two seeking behaviors: browse and search.
Agents often browse, they traverse a taxonomy incrementally with a rough idea of where they need to go to find what they need. A clearly articulated information architecture (for example: folder names) guides them.
Sometimes employees or agents can find what they need by browsing, especially if they don’t know what keywords to use. Search is incredibly powerful, but you should still organize your KM solution in a way that makes it intuitive to browse for knowledge.
Since people often know what they need before they begin a search, your KM platform’s search capability matters. If users can’t find what they need after typing a few keywords, it’s time to re-evaluate your KM vendor.
Shelf’s pinpoint search searches for keywords within documents in your library (as opposed to titles), and gives users the same smooth search experience they are used to in a web browser.
Since time matters in the contact center, agents shouldn’t need to use more than a few words or letters to quickly find a document or answer.
3. Create a Standard Taxonomy
The way you design your knowledge taxonomy matters a lot, especially for instances when agents must browse for information. Before you launch or redesign your taxonomy, get buy-in from contact center agents and executives.
Here are a few good topics for discussion:
- Folder names
- File naming conventions
- How to use tags
- How to create titles
The taxonomy of your KM system should use the same lexicon as the environment in which it operates. Simply put, the words used in a taxonomy should be the same words your company uses, and make sense to most people.
Team members shouldn’t question the language used when they browse for something; by aligning on a taxonomy, you increase agent efficiency and employee efficiency because things are easier to find.
4. Use Tags and Categories to Improve Findability for Agents
Tags make it easier for searchers and browsers; they provide context to narrow down search results. Agents who browse for content often have context to know where to start, but agents who start with a search often must weed through seemingly similar search results.
As a pre-search filter or a post-search refinement, tags aid seekers in determining the “aboutness” of a search result. Encourage employees to add tags any time they add new content, because tags improve findability and can help identify areas where content is needed.
Tags also help organize content that doesn’t fit nicely in a category. Check out our post, Why Knowledge Management Must Include Tags to learn more.
Knowledge categories can help your support team
Categories are the highest level indicators of content in a knowledge management solution, typically tied closely to the central needs or functions of your company.
You can use categories to define your company’s core offerings, or use categories to group content by For agents in the contact center, folder categories make it faster to find information related to seasonal discounts, for example.
Search is getting smarter and smarter, but categories are helpful when agents don’t know what to search for.
5. Establish a Consistent Review Process
Agents can only be effective if knowledge they use is usable and can be found easily. You need a regular review cycle, regular folder maintenance, spot checks on content, tag audits, and category reviews to keep knowledge up-to-date and accurate. That’s a lot of work!
Luckily, automation can help identify out of date content and provide insights automatically using AI—assuming you use a modern knowledge management platform.
You should also have a mechanism to collect feedback from agents on the front lines if they notice content needs updating. A content maintenance process that involves key stakeholders is just as (if not more) important than auditing your category or tag structure.
6. Use a Modern Knowledge Management Platform
Contact center technology can help your contact center in more ways than one, but you need the right knowledge management platform to make it work. A solution that uses AI, one that provides the contact center integrations you need out of the box.
A simple knowledge base (or legacy knowledge solution) that’s difficult to use, integrate, and maintain won’t help agents…it can only slow them down.
Here’s how a KM platform like Shelf provides better answers in any contact center environment:
- Integrations with CCaaS platforms to natively to surface answers faster
- Ability for agents to easily leave comments on suggested content that needs updating
- Insight and analytics to contact center managers—particularly for content not being used, or content that receives poor feedback from customers or agents
- Notifications to remind agents when critical policies or important content has been updated
- Integrations with IVR systems to surface better answers, eliminating this common knowledge silo.
As you sell a knowledge management initiative up the ladder and to other stakeholders, the benefits of this solution should extend to your contact center—like surfacing answers quickly.
Many Shelf customers reduce handle times, escalations, and boost first contact resolution metrics once a better knowledge solution is in place.
Check out our Knowledge Management Buyer’s Guide to go more in depth on what to look for if you’re exploring new knowledge solutions.
This post was originally published on June 14, 2021 and updated on June 17, 2022.