Enterprises and their front-line outsourcing partners need as many competitive advantages possible in the current commercial marketplace. This is not restricted to new and compelling products or services – the user experience pre or post-sale also counts heavily. For years the emphasis in contact center management has been about seamless interactions between agents and end-users with much discussion placed around the associated training and technologies needed to facilitate these ends. However, the growth of knowledge management in the CX domain is a potential game-changer, one that permits front-line staff to be more agile and responsive to consumer needs. As was discussed on a recent episode of the CXFiles podcast, when deployed properly knowledge management can prove to be a platform that is worth the value of investment.
Consider the challenging role of a contact center agent in today’s CX market. Consumers are more demanding and less patient than ever before, making these front-line jobs increasingly complex and stressful. This invariably leads to attrition, which is noted in the 2020 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey by Ryan Strategic Advisory as among the top 5 biggest operating challenges among enterprise contact center operations. All too often anecdotal discussions with CX executives glean that one reason for agent stress and churn is an uncoordinated approach to information management. This invariably means the use of multiple knowledge databases, thereby slowing the process of handling the end-user.
This is where the role of knowledge management in the CX perspective is valuable. A scenario in which agents access a central repository of contextual, actionable & updated information related to individual consumers, products or services can make a significant difference in the respective end-user and agent experiences. Customers will appreciate faster, accurate service, while agents will see work anxiety reduced by not needing to comb through multiple sources to find what they need. Fortunately for customer management professionals there are a decent number of knowledge management platforms from which to choose.
However, wisdom dictates that when making a CX investment that has the potential to provide a competitive advantage in front-line delivery, it is important not to choose poorly. With the plethora of knowledge management offerings about, neither enterprises nor their outsourcing partners can afford to onboard a solution that is unable to respond to their requirements.
Some of the key facets that should be considered in a knowledge management solution are roughly similar to those that CX professionals would look for when adopting any new technology in the contact center. A strong track record of deployments with other clients, vertical subject matter expertise and ease of implementation are no-brainers. However, prospective purchasers of knowledge management solutions should also look for platforms that focus on the user interface, in order to guarantee maximum usability by front-line agents. Equally, with more interactions being driven on the front-end by robotic process automation (notably chat-bots), any new knowledge management solution needs to be able to integrate seamlessly with these technologies.
But what is key for any successful knowledge management deployment is that there must be a recognition among CX professionals that their organization needs this technology as a means of competing better. Too often, cash-strapped firms continue using multiple, antiquated databases, which ends up frustrating both agents and consumers. By taking on a well-rounded knowledge management tool that responds to the business’ front-line needs, a contact center operation will quickly see a clear path to ROI via reduced average handle time and improved workplace satisfaction that translates into lower attrition and better consumer outcomes.