Published: June 20, 2013 | Comments
When calling a company contact center recently I asked a question about my printer. There was a long pause, and the agent said, “Hmmmm... I have never had that question before, I’m not sure, let me check....” About three minutes later, she came back and gave me part of the solution, but did not completely solve my problem. I then shared what I had learned online about the issue and she again asked me to hold. I thought to myself, “I bet she does not have a very good knowledge base to help her find the right answers.” Eventually we solved the problem together, but my experience was not the best. I could have found better answers on the internet, or even on the company’s FAQs.
To remain relevant in today’s marketplace, companies must continuously innovate to deliver an exceptional customer experience. The catalyst for this innovation is employee engagement. Agents on the front lines know best what works for your customers—what engages them, what alienates them.
How do you get your agents engaged so customers are engaged?
When an agent is better able to service their customer, they are more satisfied and engaged. One important way to better equip agents to meet customer expectations is to give them access to a robust knowledge management (KM) system. Today, customers can easily research your company, products, and services online, making them more informed when they contact an agent. Therefore, more than ever before, agents need to be prepared with the right information at the right time.
Ongoing training will help, but an agent can’t possibly know the answer to every customer inquiry, particularly when a company’s product lines or services are expanding and/or changing. Without access to a strong knowledge-base and detailed training guides, contact center employees become even more challenged as they attempt to resolve customer issues.
You don’t have to teach agents the answers to every question or problem—you only need to make knowledge easy to access. It’s not surprising then that 500+ contact center professionals cite knowledge management as their #1 strategy for the future. Knowledge Management (KM) is a hot topic in contact centers. Innovative companies have full-time resources assigned to knowledge management and view ‘knowledge’ as an evolving process that needs to be managed. Cloud technology is bringing KM to new levels. For example, saleforce.com is committed to the Service Cloud core offering and understands the challenges facing contact centers. Salesforce.com is meeting these challenges, such as attrition and flexible staffing models, with innovative solutions that enable agent collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
Bluewolf client TE Connectivity chose to move to Salesforce Service Cloud—a platform noted for its ease of customization and a greater end-to- end customer lifecycle experience. TE is a global, $14 billion technology leader helping connect power, data and signal in everything from automotive and aerospace to broadband communications, consumer, energy and industrial applications.
In a commoditized B2B marketplace, TE needed to differentiate itself in a big way to gain market share and to remain competitive. The overarching goal was to make it easier for customers to do business with the company, creating an environment where the customer can get exactly what they want, when they want, and with little effort. To capture a 360 degree view of their customers, TE chose to replace their customer service solution with Salesforce Service Cloud. TE turned to Bluewolf to optimize the customer experience, provide executive visibility, and drive employee adoption.
A cloud solution was enabled with an agent console that provides live chat features and multi-language support. Within the console lies a knowledge management solution that serves as the primary source for accessing customer information internally. With agents empowered with the right knowledge, they are able to help solve customer issues faster and more accurately—and deliver a better customer experience.
TE now has one platform for its sales and customer service teams, which has streamlined efficiencies for case resolution, improved data sharing across teams, and created more transparency between the employee and the customer. “There’s no question that greater employee engagement leads to better customer service. Employee engagement is one of the foundational pillars of our global strategy, as a truly engaged workforce is paramount to our long-term success,” says Paul Woods, Director of Customer Experience.
Organizations are only beginning to understand the power of putting complex solutions into the hands of the agents (and the customer in self-service scenarios). Even small centers can now have strong searchable access to knowledge. Knowledge lives throughout the company in product content systems, marketing content systems, and operational policies. The key to a successful KM implementation is to “find” the source of knowledge and bring it forward to allow the agent to meet a customer where they are in the process—and offer the right solution at the right time.”
Buyers today are savvy—your agents need to become experts in finding the right information fast, rather than memorizing answers to standard inquiries. As customers continue to evolve, so too must the customer contact channels.
Download the guide “Empower Your Agents to Engage Your Customers” to learn 3 ways to empower your agents to solve your biggest contact center challenges. Also, register for my upcoming live webcast on 7/16 and hear from industry thought leaders Justin Robbins (Training and Development Manager, ICMI) and Molly Kittle (VP Digital Strategy, Bunchball). There will be a live Q&A at the end to get your questions answered!