Customers have more and more channels and contact points at their disposal to contact a company’s customer service. At the same time, service teams are increasingly working decentrally, for example at several locations or in home office, and use numerous systems. In customer contact it can quickly happen that agents do not find the information they need or do not find it quickly enough, that it is not relevant or outdated, or that knowledge articles on the same topic have been created twice. How can you ensure that quality-assured and always up-to-date information is communicated to the customer at all contact points of your customer service, if possible in real time? In what way can a “single point of truth” be realized that distributes the central knowledge to all required channels?
In order to implement knowledge management, as with all projects, the initial situation should first be analysed and the goal defined. The concept for implementation should include the four fundamental pillars of knowledge management and show their interaction:
1. Organisation and processes, which create the framework.
2. Employees who are essential for the creation of knowledge.
3. Culture, which encourages employees to share knowledge.
4. Technology, which is necessary to realise the processes.
To ensure that your organisation is set up for knowledge management, it is first necessary to define roles and responsibilities. In addition, the employee resources required for the tasks must be made available on a permanent basis. In recent years, various roles have been established, such as the “knowledge owner”, who manages expert knowledge for a specific area, or the “chief information officer (CIO)”, who is responsible for coordinating the interaction of several stakeholders and involving the management. All core processes and supporting processes of the service unit must be reviewed and optimised. This includes the creation, management, dissemination, communication and securing of knowledge.
In the context of knowledge creation, employees are essential. Especially for the service units the preparation of knowledge is indispensable due to the mass of information and documents. The overarching structure – for example, according to specialist areas, markets or product divisions – supports the organisation of knowledge and later enables a targeted search process.
If knowledge management is not yet practised in your company, a change process is necessary that involves employees from the very beginning. This will enable them to support the new culture of knowledge sharing in the best way possible. Knowledge management should not only be seen as a project, but as a continuous process for your company that requires employees to change their thinking and actions. An understanding must be created and the added value demonstrated.
When selecting the appropriate technology, the size of the company, the desired goal and the maturity of the knowledge management should be the decisive factors. Initially, file sharing solutions such as Sharepoint can be used. With an enterprise wiki system such as Confluence, collaboration on knowledge is also promoted. Often this creates the precursor to the actual knowledge database. Regardless of which solution is chosen, the integration possibilities with other systems should be examined, because the tool should direct knowledge into different channels such as the CRM system, the ticketing system, email management, onto the website or into bot technologies in order to make knowledge available in the right context and in the right quantity where the service process requires it.
The use of knowledge management relieves employees because the right information is found quickly and unnecessary search and coordination effort is eliminated. As a result, employees can concentrate on the customer and continuously improve service quality. The training period for new employees is shortened and customer service efficiency increases, resulting in high productivity with low service costs. This is also reflected in the key figures for customer service: the average processing time is reduced and the first-time resolution rate increases. All in all, professional knowledge management leads to more satisfaction among both customers and employees and forms the basis for outstanding customer experiences.
For better readability, the generic masculine is used in these articles. The designations of persons used in these articles refer to all genders unless otherwise indicated.