Knowledge management is one of the most overlooked parts of the support experience. What exactly does a robust knowledge management strategy allow your organization to do? In this blog post, we take a closer look.
The maturity of a company’s knowledge management strategy has a funny way of rearing its head. Maybe you’re walking through the phone bank when you hear an agent asking her colleague for “that one KB.” Or you’re looking at the contact center metrics only to find that the shiny new support chatbot is actually inflating inbound call volume.
These high-friction flashpoints can pop up time and again throughout the support experience. And while they might seem like technology problems, or headcount problems, they’re actually related to your underlying knowledge management strategy (or lack thereof).
What Exactly Is a Knowledge Management Strategy?
Good question. At its core, a knowledge management strategy is a framework for connecting people with the information they need. Knowledge, in this context, can be anything, from product documentation and knowledge base articles, to internal policies and procedures.
Oh, and all that SME expertise living in various content silos, repositories, and shared folders, too.
With these myriad “information assets” in mind, enterprises will deploy a knowledge management strategy to guide the creation, capture, distribution, and sharing of this knowledge across both agent and customer experiences.
Why Develop a Knowledge Management Strategy?
One of the most common upfront advantages of implementing a knowledge management strategy is centralization. That is, to finally bring together all of the random content floating around out there—across all those random silos—into a single knowledge base system.
This is one of the most common problems we encounter when we first engage with our own customers. But it’s only the beginning.
A knowledge management strategy should encompass a few other core aspects, such as extensibility, scalability, and security.
That is, how do we leverage our people, processes, and technology to build an ever-growing, self-improving and secure repository of knowledge that automatically extends to all customer and agent channels?
Once in place, the benefits extend to both employees and your customers. Here are three main benefits worth noting as a result of having a knowledge management strategy.
1. Faster, Happier Support Agents
One of the best reasons of having a centralized knowledge strategy is the impact it has on support agents.
Gartner says agent knowledge is one of the top three drivers of customer success. Indeed, a strong KM strategy, coupled with good underlying technology, can put knowledge right at agents’ fingertips, helping to:
- Automate tier-one, repeat cases that don’t require agent interaction
- Cut down the time it takes to find answers (less searching, switching windows or systems, etc.)
- Make it easy to flag and address knowledge gaps right within the agent workflow
- Proactively bring case-relevant content into the agent’s window, so they never repeat themselves or send customers irrelevant info
2. Improved Content Health, Findability, and Scalability
A knowledge management strategy can help centralize content from multiple different silos, then organize, update, and extend that content into many different internal/external channels from a “single source of truth.”
This is all well and good, but time-intensive—especially as enterprises begin to scale their knowledge management efforts. Many organizations find that simply updating their existing content can be a challenge without some additional help.
A strong knowledge management strategy should account for content health, findability, and scalability at once. This will help your organization:
- Automate the ongoing health and completeness of knowledge with automated analysis and optimization
- Bring content to internal and external customers proactively
- Encourage adoption, collaboration, and engagement, making the body of knowledge better
3. Enlightened & Empowered Customers
Today, the name of the game is contextually relevant content that comes to your customers—both internal and external.
An agent who picks up the phone already equipped with the customer’s issue, viewing history, and so on is that much closer to a solution. That’s a win for the customer.
The same goes for the other places the customer goes to get what they need. Your KM strategy should permeate everything—from chatbots to in-product experiences, Google to the contact form. Ideally, this strategy puts in place the people, processes, and technology to supply each channel with a database of easily retrievable and useful knowledge.
That way, customers can get what they need and move on with their day.
Start With the State of Your KM Strategy Today
When implementing a knowledge management strategy, one of the first steps is to document the state of your company’s KM right now.
Bring in stakeholders and document the people, processes, and technologies that comprise your current KM strategy (whatever condition it is in). This is essentially the starting point for developing a more comprehensive strategy. Here are a few things to think about:
- Formal or informal strategies already in place
- Content sources and channels (internal and external)
- Departments and business units (knowledge consumers)
- Staffing and stakeholders (who owns KM?)
- Existing vendors and tools
- Performance measures, KPIs, analytics
In addition, pay close attention to these limitations—both direct and indirect—that could be holding your KM strategy back:
- Document silos
- Lack of technology
- Lack of organizational support
Finally, Consider the Bigger Picture
According to a recent Deloitte survey, 55% of people still think knowledge management is just “documenting and disseminating knowledge.” Yet, 53% of companies are prioritizing new knowledge management strategies for their contact center.
We think the tides are turning, with more contact center leaders understanding how central knowledge management is to creating value for both customers and support agents wherever and whenever it’s needed.
Interested in learning more about how your organization can benefit from KM? Check out our eBook, The Case for Shelf: A Better Approach to Contact Center Knowledge as we explain why a modern KM strategy requires a different approach.