Call center productivity is inextricably linked with a higher customer experience (CX) standard. Factors like workforce engagement, infrastructure, tech stack, employee satisfaction, etc., impact contact center productivity, among many other factors.
As agents are at the front lines of customer service and serve as a direct link between customers and your brand, their efficiency has a significant impact on the overall call center productivity (or contact center as customer service now extends beyond phone calls to digital channels).
According to a McKinsey report, on average, employees spend 1.8 hours daily—9.3 hours per week searching and gathering information. As the foundation of customer service rests on knowledge sharing and exchange, a lack of seamless access to the organizational knowledge base will hinder agent productivity and efficiency.
Most customer service challenges, like long hold times, inaccurate resolutions, inadequate multichannel engagement, etc., emanate from inefficient knowledge management that leaves agents directionless and unsure about where to look for information. This negatively impacts critical contact center metrics like average handle time (AHT), first contact resolution (FCR), customer satisfaction (CSAT), etc.
How well-implemented KM practices can boost call center productivity?
1. Eliminate data silos by deploying a single source of knowledge
Data silos are primary roadblocks that stand in the way of employee productivity. When knowledge is scattered across disparate files and formats, agents struggle to find the correct information at the right time.
Due to a lack of faster access to relevant knowledge during customer interactions, agents may fumble, put the customer on hold, or take inordinate amounts of time to maneuver through different sources of information, hampers the call center productivity metrics.
They may also need to contact colleagues or supervisors for help, resulting in a long hold and waits time and creating unsatisfactory customer experiences.
A next-gen call center solution like Knowmax provides the technological sophistication to break free of knowledge silos and organize enterprise-wide information under a single source of truth.
With a centralized knowledge base, agents and customers get access to the right information across departments and touchpoints.
An advanced knowledge management solution with intuitive search understands the intent and context of the search. It retrieves relevant knowledge from the data pool organized in a company’s knowledge base.
Using Knowmax’s google-like elastic search, agents can search for titles as well as search content within the documents by typing in a few keywords. With the ability to search for content within the articles, agents save time from reading long text documents and deliver relevant answers quickly and conveniently.
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2. Integrate your knowledge base with other customer service tools
A knowledge management solution’s real power lies in its integration capabilities with current business processes so call center agents can achieve higher productivity with less effort and time.
By integrating the centralized knowledge base with other call center tools like customer data platform (CDP), customer relationship management (CRM), live chat software, etc., agents will have faster access to relevant customer data and knowledge pieces to solve queries without toggling between multiple screens.
With Knowmax’s chrome extension function, agents can search for any knowledge stored in Knowmax while using any other tool.
For instance, an agent opens a ticket in Salesforce (Knowmax supports other integrations, too) and needs to access information from Knowmax to resolve a query.
With the chrome extension widget, the agent need not leave Salesforce to get to Knowmax and instead can use the widget to search for information in Salesforce itself. This eliminates screen toggling, reduces time to resolution, and enables agents to resolve more tickets in less time, thus improving the productivity metrics of a contact center.
3. Help agents with the next best action steps
Agents need to be mentioned guidance steps to walk customers through complex processes. However, often they struggle with scattered customer service SOPs that conflict with high customer expectations, put undue pressure on agents, and hamper their productivity.
By organizing complex SOPs in decision trees; guided workflows with a yes/no question and answer model, agents get a clear direction to help customers.
Decision trees help agents with the next best action steps to identify customers’ pain points faster, fix the problem effectively, and resolve issues while reducing the average handle time.
Knowmax knowledge management software provides cognitive decision trees that can be integrated with CRM via APIs (application programming interface) to auto-traverse the customer data to the decision tree steps.
The auto traversing of customer information from CRM eliminates the need for customers to repeat information, enables agents with contextual knowledge for faster issue resolution, and personalizes the whole customer engagement.
Pro tip: Add additional information and link other content modules like articles, FAQs, or relevant pictures to the decision tree steps, so agents have all the requisite information in one place.
4. Provide visual how-to-guides to cut down unnecessary explanations
Visual how-to guides are step-by-step pictorial guides that help agents communicate troubleshooting instructions with customers succinctly. Picture guides cut down the unnecessary explanations as agents get visibility into the customers’ devices with annotated screenshots guiding the agent and the customer simultaneously.
As the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, visual how-to guides empower agents to conduct meaningful customer conversations, help them take the right steps to fix problems in less time, and resolve customer queries at the first go, improving the first contact resolution rates (FCR).
5. Use your knowledge management to train agents
Training is time-consuming and costly, yet it needs to happen regularly for sustained call center productivity. It is critical to train new agents and equally essential to retrain the older ones, as knowledge never remains static and keeps changing.
A centralized knowledge repository works as a ready reckoner that can help in faster onboarding and training of new agents and reduce the time to proficiency. The training resources should accommodate the varied learning styles and support new and older agents to improve their efficiency.
6. Take feedback from agents to improve the knowledge base
The relevance of your knowledge base plays a significant role in impacting call center productivity. As agents are in direct contact with customers, they get insights into their daily problems and can spot any drawbacks the current knowledge base may have in resolving those problems.
7. Learn from data to help your agents do better
As a famous quote goes, “You cannot improve it if you cannot measure it”, it is critical to track the contact center metrics that drive agent performance to manage higher productivity standards.
The built-in micro-segmented analytics of Knowmax track metrics like user login time, time spent on each knowledge piece, including the time spent on each step of a particular workflow, top searched keywords and the average usage of each content piece.
Data gives direction and is the pathway to sustainable success when interpreted rightly. Therefore, tracking the agent performance metrics in conjunction with the knowledge base performance will help businesses with actionable insights to help agents do better and design long-term success-oriented CX strategies.
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Multiple challenges hinder a call center’s productivity, with agent efficiency being a significant contributor. At the heart of every contact center challenge lies an inability to manage knowledge effectively and disseminate it across relevant departments and touchpoints.
An organization’s knowledge management strategies should focus on eliminating fragmentation of knowledge and empower agents and customers to benefit from it across touchpoints seamlessly and conveniently.