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Contact Center KM for Financial Services
Six Best Practices From Leaders

In service-centric industries such as financial services, customer service can make or break a business. Winning financial institutions provide "stand-out" customer service by empowering contact center agents with knowledge, while also leveraging it for customer self-service.

In delivering knowledge management (KM) solutions to world-class contact centers for over 15 years, eGain has compiled best practices that improve the odds of success in KM implementations. Listed below are some popular ones from leading financial institutions.

1. Make a 360-degree business case.
Assessing expected and realized ROI before and after the deployment helps you justify the initial investment and ongoing maintenance of the knowledgebase (KB), while elevating your visibility as a value creator for your institution.
Best practice:
Make sure your metrics are aligned with business objectives. For instance, if your main goal is to increase upsell and cross-sell through knowledge-enabled contextual offers, reduction in call handle times will be a conflicting metric. As you make the business case, keep in mind that KM delivers positive ROI through improvements such as:

  • Reduced escalations, transfers, repeat calls, handle times, training time and staff wage premiums;
  • Increased first-call resolution; and
  • Increased size of sales transaction through upsell and cross-sell.

2. Build the right team.
Successful KM implementations start with the right team for knowledge capture and creation.
Best practice:
Build a cross-functional team that can bring a 360-degree approach to knowledge creation. Best-practice teams typically include:

  • Lead expert: individual who decides how the KB will be organized, which topics will be covered, what the roles of other team members are and plans for maintenance and use;
  • Users: high-performance contact center agents and subject-matter experts who provide high-quality suggestions;
  • Knowledge authors: individuals trained in using authoring tools; and
  • Project manager: individual who keeps the project on track.

3. Avoid the "swiss cheese" syndrome.
Ambitious deployments almost always result in a KB that is solid in places, but still full of holes. This is a recipe for failure, because if users can’t find the answers, or get inadequate or wrong answers, they will quickly stop using the system.
Best practice:
Focus on depth and quality rather than breadth. For instance, if a financial institution provides insurance, mutual funds, retail banking and brokerage services, the best approach would be to cover one offering thoroughly first.

4. Use guided interactions.
In the highly regulated financial services sector, agents often need to comply with industry regulations and organizational best practices, and ask the right questions.
Best practice:
In situations such as providing investment advice or opening a new account, the use of guided agent-to-customer interactions through a robust reasoning engine, integrated with workflows, is the best approach to enforcing compliance across interactions and fulfillment. By leveraging guided interactions, even novice agents can handle complex queries and transactions. This reduces the need to hire "super agents," while reducing training time.

5. Balance "ivory tower knowledge" with "street smarts."
Financial institutions often make the mistake of relying solely on inward focused domain experts who rarely speak to customers. It is sometimes difficult for experts to get down to the level of "ordinary" consumers who may not know technical terms such as whether their mutual fund is "no load," "front-loaded" or "back-loaded". Using jargon in questions posed by agents or self-service systems is a guaranteed way to increase escalations and website abandonment.
Best practice:
Find KB contributors that are both technically competent and not too far removed from customer contact. Successful customer service depends as much on the questions posed to customers as the answers.

6. Provide multimodal content access.
People have different ways of finding information, or the same person may use different methods to suit the situation. A flexible approach to information access dramatically improves user adoption and ROI. For instance, novice agents, whether they are in-house or outsourced, may find it difficult to wade through hundreds of search hits to find the right answer, but may fare better if they are guided through a dialog, powered by a reasoning engine. On the other hand, experienced agents may prefer to quickly process search hits.
Best practice:
Provide users multiple ways to access information—FAQ, browse, search and guided help. The key here is to make sure that the KB remains the same and there are no content silos across access methods.

eGain is a leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software, on-premise or on-demand. eGain Service™, the company’s top-rated software suite, enables organizations to build customer interaction hubs to provide best-in-class customer service and reduce costs. The suite includes integrated applications for Web self-service, email/fax/letter management, chat, Web collaboration, case management and knowledge management, built on a common platform for interaction, knowledge and process management. The solution also includes adapters for easy integration with existing systems and content assets.

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