Reduce Handle Time 30%


Mid-Atlantic Region, USA


2,000 Employees

Organization overview

A leading research company based in Washington, DC, is recognized as one of the best behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. Their work covers everything from talent management to employment equality, education to human & organizational performance, and much more.

Shelf pro tip

Implementing Shelf Knowledge Management System saved agents approximately 30% on handle time.

“The agents have been really impressed with Shelf…they have the ability to go to the exact point in the document where search terms appear. That’s not something we’ve seen from anyone else in the market. This has led to an estimated 30-35% improvement in search times.”

Project Manager, Contact Center Operations

Old Knowledge Management System = a Major Administrative Burden

This nationally recognized organization supports a robust suite of products and services to their client base – which includes local and regional state governments in over 32 states. During peak season, their call center is comprised of approximately 350 Tier 1, 2, and 3 agents who are tasked with quickly providing clients with accurate information on a wide range of state-specific topics. For the most part, the information these agents need to convey to clients cannot be scripted. The range of possible questions is too great, the content they need to access is always changing, and the answers are too specific to be consolidated into bite-sized, canned responses.

Their prior system was a knowledge management application that they built in-house. Although it was effective for nearly a decade, over time it ran into a number of limitations that created a cascading effect of inefficiencies.
For starters, a team of 6 help desk managers had to process thousands of lengthy documents and turn them into knowledge articles, so they could become more searchable.

Unfortunately, processing a piece of content was not a one-time event. The team had to deal with 6,000 – 7,000 change requests per year; each of which required them to recreate a knowledge article in its entirety. As a result, the team responsible for administering the system spent between 600 – 700 hours per year processing content, in an effort to provide agents with an acceptable search experience.

“The payoff of implementing Shelf has been really impactful. Instead of agents getting stuck, wasting time sorting through folders or asking other agents for help, they just use Shelf’s search. Agents now get the exact phrase and context of answers that were previously buried deep inside of large documents.”

-Director of User Experience

Trying to Find Answers with a Broken Net

Before implementing Shelf, up to 50% of calls could not be handled with a simple search. Agents were required to play detective and continually try different search terms. The Project Manager of Contact Center Solutions explained it best, “With our old system, searching was like casting a broken net into a random patch of river. Agents would be lucky if they found something the first time. It usually took them 3 attempts to locate the answer and they were spending roughly 4 minutes, on average, searching on each call.”

Finding a Solution

Not surprisingly, the team responsible for solving these problems had a very clear idea of what they were looking for in a new solution. They looked at dozens of options and none of them met their critical requirements around search and content management, so they kept using their old system for an additional year while they continued to hunt for a solution. Eventually, the Director of IT was brought in to help the customer service team find a solution. He discovered Shelf and after seeing the power of the search and content management capabilities he knew they finally found the solution they were looking for.

Shelf Provided Eye-Opening Operational Improvements

Using Shelf has eliminated 500-600 hours of processing time from the team’s workload. Now the team responsible for administering AIR’s knowledge management no longer has to manually spend time translating documents into knowledge articles. All admins need to do is upload documents into Shelf’s content publication workflow and, after review, they are seamlessly published.

Second, admins no longer need to worry about agents giving bad answers because they are working from outdated information. According to a member of the team, “With Shelf, all of our updates get to the agents instantly, which was a huge selling point for all of our functional users.”
Last but not least, Shelf provides agents with better search results. The Project Manager of Contact Center Operations explains, “The agents have been really impressed by Shelf’s search functionality…they have the ability to see each time a search term appears in a document, and when they click on a “hit” it takes them to the exact place in the document where the search term appears. That’s not something we’ve seen from anyone else in the market. This has led to an estimated 30-35% improvement in retrieval time.”