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Knowledge management and AI: Rx for better CX and AX!

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Customers speak out
The best way to get started with fixing customer experience (CX) is to hear about issues from the “horse’s mouth,” namely, the customer. In a recent survey, Forrester Consulting asked 5,000 consumers, “What created the biggest pain when you contacted a business for customer service?” The lack of and inconsistency in agent knowledge turned out to be the biggest culprit, followed by the difficulty of finding relevant answers on company websites. The survey also revealed that younger consumers are far less forgiving of unknowledgeable agents:

TOP CONSUMER PAIN POINTS                 

Agents don’t know the answer

MILLENNIALS/GEN Z: 40%                
OLDER BOOMERS: 24%

Different answers from different folks/systems:

MILLENNIALS/GEN Z: 48%                
OLDER BOOMERS: 33%
                                     

Can’t find answer on website:

MILLENNIALS/GEN Z: 31%                
OLDER BOOMERS: 28%
  
                               

Other:
MILLENNIALS/GEN Z: 9%                
OLDER BOOMERS: 32%
   
          
                                                       

(Note: Respondents could pick up to two pain points.)

Agents speak out

In another survey done through SurveyMonkey that was focused on agent experience (AX), agents were asked what their biggest hurdles were while delivering customer service. Not so surprisingly, their struggles virtually mirrored those of consumers.

  • Finding the right answers to customer questions: 26%
  • Different systems/information sources give different answers: 25%
  • Hopping from one application/window to another: 20%
  • Hard to keep up with all the new information/changes I need to know about: 14%

Knowledge for customer service, a challenge and an opportunity

Why has knowledge rapidly become an imperative for CX (customer experience) and AX (agent experience)? One can attribute it to the following forces:

  • The digital customer is demanding self-service and insisting that self-service systems get smarter.
  • As self-service systems get smarter, only complex questions and problems are presented to agents.
  • Businesses information is constantly changing today, whether it is about products and services that the business offers, compliance requirements or process changes. The information overload and flux make life challenging for the contact center and customer service organization.
  • Knowledge retention and consumption style of next-gen agents have completely changed. Today’s millennial and Gen Z agents do not like to keep knowledge in their heads. They would rather “look it up” for answers or get guided to them, like the way their automobile GPS guides them to a destination—all at the push of a button.

However, contact centers often have legacy tools that leave agents with the dreaded “no results found” message or hundreds of hits that the agent must contend with—all while the customer is waiting impatiently on the line. Worse, these tools are primarily search-oriented. They lack process knowhow that is critical to handling complex queries that today’s agents need to handle.

Here is the good news: Modern knowledge management (KM) systems, infused with artificial intelligence (AI), can address these issues all at once. Bootstrapping context from the current interaction and past customer history, they quickly guide the agent (or the customer in the case of self-service) to answers or process guidance that is hyper-relevant to the service query. The best KM systems also make it easy to collaborate with peers and subject matter experts, and suggest new content for the knowledgebase by simply clicking a button.

 

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