How Knowledge Bases Save Customer Service Costs
Have You Heard This One?
A customer calls into a customer service department, explains the problem, gets into a long winded exchange and eventually gets an answer. It takes 30 mins.
How About This One?
A customer calls into a customer service department, explains the same problem, gets into a long winded exchange and eventually gets an answer. It takes 30 mins.
Did you notice the difference? If you said “there wasn’t one”, you’d be right (help yourself to a virtual iced bun).
It seems crazy that in 2019 this is still happening with organisations, but it is and here’s why.
The Threat Of Legacy
Legacy is a powerful and sometimes debilitating thing within organisations. As a company of any size grows and evolves, it often builds its customer service and organisational structure based on what was needed at the time.
In a high paced environment, this sometimes means decisions were taken that did the job when it was needed (and probably did it fine), but as time has moved on following those same processes are now contributing to your team becoming hamstrung and inefficient. As a result customers are receiving a poor and needlessly time wasting experience.
It’s easy to understand why this is still happening too. Who has the time to reinvent the wheel when the current system is creaking but just about coping? After all, the customer service reps have got a lot of people to help following the tried and tested system. Is there a better way?
In its simplest form, a Knowledge Base is a place to record, store and access knowledge and learnings. Sounds simplistic perhaps but each of those three components must be implemented in the correct way to make them a force for effective change at a customer service level. Let’s look at each:
This is the part of the jigsaw that’s often overlooked the most when developing for your customer service team. It needs to be fast, easy to understand and not require multiple logins to ensure your team can record key learnings as they happen. All too often, it’s left to a development team to build this without any feedback from those on the front line.
Ensure those who do the recording are instrumental in helping design the architecture and UX for the system. Your customer service team often have to do this at speed so make sure it suits their needs.
Storage needs to be done in a way that is safe, secure, but most importantly accessible by the whole team (not just customer service). Learnings recorded in a Knowledge Base should be considered valuable to the whole organisation so don’t let the information fester on an isolated system that’s difficult to access and siloed.
This refers to two main types of access – external and internal. Externally, being able to show customers useful information and internally being able to show key team members and senior stakeholders insight to add value for the organization itself.
Saving Customer Service Costs
The drive toward Intelligent Self Service (ISS) looks at the ability of customers to find solutions to their problems quickly and effectively through Artificial Intelligence (AI). Underpinning this, Knowledge Bases are vital to making those systems accurate and relevant.
Every time a customer service rep successfully answers a customer query, that information and learning can be instantly recorded into the system. By using storage that is accessible for both internal stakeholders and external customers, the solution is then accessible instantly, by anyone.
The saving is clear and multifaceted. A customer with a similar question can now use the Knowledge Bases to self serve and find the answer without having to spend time getting through to the customer service team.
Knowledge Bases, done right, provide a living resource of up-to-date information that can be constantly improved and iterated. Knowledge is retained, not lost, and it allows your customer service team to focus on higher value actions rather than having to offer the same responses over and over.
There’s no doubt that embracing Knowledge Bases in this way requires an investment of time and money. A business case is required to convince the budget holders that a short term investment will lead to long term gains.
The trick is ensuring that your business case not only shows how this will benefit customers and the customer service team but how the senior stakeholders will also have an incredible amount of knowledge and data at their fingertips.
A dashboard can put the people who need to know right at the heart of the customer service experience. They can see what customers are asking, how customer service costs are being reduced through ISS and flag significant events (product launch feedback, product issues, etc) instantly.
Knowledge Bases are incredibly powerful mechanisms that can drive your business forward as part of the ISS solution.