By Donna Fluss
Knowledge management (KM) is a process for authoring, collecting, organizing, presenting, maintaining, and storing information in a manner that is readily accessible and easily consumable by all organizational constituents. It can include content from internal (databases, documents, manuals, training materials, policies, procedures, best practices, employees, etc.) and external (the Internet, user communities/forums, customers, etc.) sources.
Knowledge management solutions transform data and other information into knowledge assets (also referred to as “articles,” “content,” or “objects”). The knowledge assets can be leveraged in internal applications that target contact center agents and enterprise employees, as well as for external-facing purposes that are focused on customers, clients, prospects, partners, etc. A knowledge management solution should use a responsive design approach to render the data in the form most appropriate for each channel and/or device and confine the presentation to what each audience needs to know.
KM in Contact Centers (and Beyond)
Knowledge management solutions equip front-line employees, both on-site and remote, with the information to deliver a great customer experience. Knowledge management solutions help companies institutionalize their knowledge and provide a “single source of the truth” so that consistent information can be provided to enterprise employees or customers. They are also increasingly being used to support self-service solutions and other enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives that need a large data repository in order to be successful.
KM Reduces Risk
Knowledge management reduces the risks of having essential enterprise knowledge reside in its employees, as is the case in many contact centers where senior representatives are the “go-to” people (subject matter experts) for resolving certain types of customer inquiries and issues. In these organizations, critical information is often lost when these employees retire or leave the organization before doing a knowledge transfer. So, in addition to addressing explicit information, knowledge management solutions should be used to capture and preserve tacit or “tribal” knowledge (which can include best practices, lessons learned, postmortems, etc.).
Clients and customers who use an organization’s products and services on a regular basis also possess a wealth of insights that are not available from within the enterprise. Knowledge management solutions that support user communities and crowdsourcing offer an effective method for capturing tacit knowledge from large groups of customers, clients, partners, and user communities.
This approach enables organizations to capture ideas, practices, recommendations, fixes, and a lot more from external constituents. And during a time when improving the customer experience (CX) and retaining employees are critical company priorities, KM is proving to be an excellent and effective way of engaging employees and improving both self-service and agent-assisted service quality and delivery.
Today’s KM solutions are generations ahead of the prior versions of these applications. For decades, contact center and service leaders have agreed that KM solutions have the potential to improve the CX, reduce agent handling and onboarding time, and improve the agent experience, but they still did not invest. What’s different now is that the newer KM solutions are built on better technology and apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to make them much easier to use and maintain, enabling companies to realize the promised benefits.
Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, provides a unique and unparalleled understanding of the people, processes and technology that drive the strategic direction of the dynamic and rapidly transforming contact center and back-office markets. Donna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.