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Where Are You on the Knowledge Continuum?

Knowledge Management is not a new functionality in most contact centers.  In fact, most companies have some form of “knowledge” or “content” that they share with contact center agents and customers.  But over the past several years there have been huge changes in the sophistication of how that knowledge is delivered – and those changes should make every contact center leader ask the question, “what should we do next?”

As consultants, when we talk with customers about Knowledge Management (KM) and their goals to improve it – we find that companies typically fall into one of five categories:

  1. We need to implement KM in some form – not sure where to start?
  2. We’ve identified our KM challenges – now what?
  3. We need a new KM Plan – general objectives in place, but lacks details
  4. We’ve deployed our plan but need more –we are not meeting our original expectations
  5. Our original plan worked – now we need more

Each category has a unique set of challenges.  No matter where you place your contact center on this Knowledge Continuum, there are basic questions that are best answered early.  Is there executive buy-in in the Support/Service Center to drive the cultural change needed to shake up the old ways of managing knowledge?  Is the culture really ready to fix what is broken – even if that means not having perfect control over the ownership & publication of all documents?  Do you have resources available to do the “management” part of the equation?  While technology has become very good at the presentation of knowledge, you still need resources to confirm that the right information is going to the right people at the right time.

In most cases you will also be asked to deliver a Return On Investment (ROI) for the costs associated with KM technology and resources.  We’ve found KM can have a real impact on many of the key metrics driving most centers, including:

  • Reduction in average talk/handling time
  • Increase in first-contact resolutions
  • Reduction in escalated incidents
  • Increase in incidents handled per shift
  • Reduced training and onboarding days required per agent annually
  • Reduced costs due to a change in contact volume by lower cost channels
  • Increase in customer satisfaction and improved experience

We have seen clients with successful KM implementations make an impact in many of these areas.  Depending on the sophistication of your technology, you can build an even more powerful case for Knowledge Management through enhanced functionality. Get the most from your solution by asking more questions: Where do your agents find knowledge today? How many knowledge repositories do your agents currently access?  How are updates shared with the support team? How do agents track and remember the updates?

Once you understand where you are on the Knowledge Continuum, it is time to choose the technology to help you get to the next level.  If you are just starting out – and moving from Word documents to an online option, a simple Wiki may provide the first-step technology you need – there are many low-cost or free options.  But, the real change begins when you choose a company like Salesforce.com.  Salesforce.com’s Knowledge application will actually “learn” as the agent enters details around the customer case – offering the best answers in real-time while the agent is talking to the customer.  The robust application provides many advanced ways to get the right knowledge to the right person at the right time. 

The questions that drive success are many – but the answers will help you choose the next logical step.

See how Bluewolf can help you along the Knowledge Continuum with your free guide, Empower Your Agents to Engage Your Customers.

Want to continue the knowledge management conversation? Join me tonight, Wednesday, August 28th at 8pm ET as I help ICMI host their fourth #CCDemo13 tweet chat. The topic: creating effective knowledge bases. Hope to "see" you there!