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KM for Omnichannel Customer Service: Five Keys to Success

Superior customer service remains one of the few differentiators that businesses can sustain over time. The winners in today’s omnichannel environment are the companies that leverage knowledge to empower customers and contact center agents, and provide standout customer experience across channels and touchpoints.

eGain has implemented knowledge solutions for blue-chip companies worldwide, helping them design and deliver great customer service experiences. In the process, we have compiled hundreds of best practices. Here are some of the popular ones.

1. Quantify value

Assessing expected and realized ROI before and after the deployment helps you justify the initial investment as well as continuous improvement of the knowledge base (KB).

Best practice: Make sure the ROI metrics you use are aligned with business objectives. For instance, if your business goal is to increase upsell and cross-sell, reduction in average handle time will be a conflicting metric. As you assess ROI, keep in mind that knowledge management (KM) delivers positive ROI across a broad range of business problems. Some examples are:

  • Deflection of requests for agent-assisted service through effective self-service.
  • Increase in first-time resolution and sales conversion.
  • Reduction in escalations, transfers, repeat calls, and average handle times.
  • Reduction in training time, unwarranted product returns, field visits, and staff wage premiums.

2. Build the team

Successful KM implementations employ the right team for knowledge capture, creation, and continuous improvement.

Best practice: Empower a cross-functional team that can bring a 360-degree approach to knowledge management. Best-practice teams typically include the following members:

  • Strategist: Lead expert that determines the organization, topics, roles and responsibilities, and long- term plans.
  • Select users: High-performance service and sales agents, who use the KB on a daily basis, can provide useful feedback from the trenches, and even contribute answers. Be sure to reward such agents to foster ongoing knowledge contribution.
  • Subject matter experts: Experts that have answers, especially for questions of high complexity.
  • Knowledge authors: Writers and publishers that are focused on content development, taxonomy, and publishing.
  • Project managers: Tactical managers that keep the project on track and ensure forward momentum.

3. Start with depth

Unfocused knowledge deployments almost always result in a shallow KB that is full of holes like Swiss cheese. If users can’t find answers, or receive inadequate or wrong information, they will simply stop using the system.

Best practice: Focus first on depth rather than breadth. Start with common questions on common products or lines of business (the 80–20 rule) and expand out over time.

4. Knowledge is findability and more

Users prefer different ways of searching for information, just as drivers prefer different ways of reaching their destination. Some drive on freeways, others would rather take the scenic route. A GPS-style approach with multiple options to find information dramatically improves knowledge base adoption and ROI. For example, new agents may find it difficult to wade through hundreds of keyword search results, but might fare better if they are guided through a step-by-step dialog, powered by technologies such as Case-Based

Reasoning (CBR). In addition to guiding users quickly through search, CBR can also guide agents and end-customers through interactive customer processes that are compliant with best practices and industry regulations.

Best practice: Multiple search options such as FAQ, keyword and natural language search, intent- driven search, topic-tree browsing, and CBR guided help allow a broad range of users to quickly and easily find information, and have best-practice conversations with customers. Make sure to use a common omnichannel knowledge platform to ensure consistency of answers and don’t forget to deliver knowledge across traditional and mobile devices for access anywhere.

5. Crowdsource, but scrub

Most businesses are not taking advantage of the enormous opportunity to tap into community and social knowledge, and when they do they often make the mistake of creating yet another inconsistent knowledge silo.

Best practice: Foster and harvest social knowledge but scrub and unify with trusted knowledge, and then proactively publish across all channels. Knowledge in online communities and social networks foster peer-to-peer service and can help augment enterprise knowledge assets.

Best practices = Success

Implementing these KM practices not only delivers ROI, but also enables transformative customer experiences. Here are some real-world examples:

  • Leading global bank reduced call handle time by 67% and agent training time by 50%, while its subsidiary vaulted to the #1 position in customer experience in their market
  • Global media and legal services company deflects up to 70% of their calls, while making go-no-go decisions on high-profile litigation services projects
  • Leading North American telco reduced average handle time by 17% and incoming calls by 19%,
  • Leading US branded manufacturer improved service quality by 33%
  • Leading European telco reduced unwarranted handset returns and exchanges by 38% through better problem resolution in the contact center, while enhancing agent experience by 90%

About eGain

eGain customer engagement solutions power digital transformation for leading brands. Our top-rated cloud applications for social, mobile, web, and contact centers help clients deliver connected customer journeys in an omnichannel world. To find out more, visit http://www.egain.com/.

© 2015 eGain Corporation. All rights reserved.

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