Calling for Change: Knowledge Management and the future of Call Centers

Posted On: September 21, 2020 |  9 mins read 124 Views

Call-Center-Solutions

Since the dawn of the modern era, a ringing telephone has symbolized opportunity, progression, and engagement more than any other sound. From classic Hollywood movies to your favorite corporate shows, it’s a familiar scene. A room full of ringing telephones with harried agents juggling multiple calls providing call center solutions.

All this is supposed to translate to one thing: “Business is booming. Look how busy our lines are!”

 

While the people in that call center are most certainly busy, they’re also highly overworked, overwhelmed, and overburdened. As for the customers making their calls – you can be sure their concerns were forgotten as soon as the line is dropped.

Ringing phones might herald the start of a business day – but it’s answering those phones that bring in the money. This call center’s solution does not lie in more manpower – but its data.

 

Updated call centers solution reworked to organizations’ fit

For a company looking to grow in size, answering each and every phone call is unrealistic – or at least it was. Knowledge Management (KM) revolutionized the way contact centers work in the digital era – and continues to make strides with emerging technologies in the industry today. A knowledge management platform utilizes and presents data and metrics obtained from hundreds of conversations, call patterns, and positive or negative engagements to build a database that companies could use to better serve their customers.

 

In the early days, much of this data aggregation and usage would have been considered impractical – the volume of data being too high for a company of reputable size. Then came technologies that changed the game, allowing companies to process that data, and equipping agents with what they needed to respond in a timely manner.

 

Tad from history of call center solutions

One of the earliest of these technologies was the dialer- a simple solution that saved call center executives between 30-40 seconds on simply dialing numbers, and thus boosted the number of engagements they could have and customers they could serve.

 

Here’s where KM played its part, allowing companies to even further optimize these technologies to their benefit. Predictive dialers, for example, would predict when agents are likely to finish their calls, and automatically dial the next number – working in tandem with support specialists to get as many calls out as possible.

 

Automatic Call Distributors (ACD) similarly changed how companies receive calls,

distributing the calls to the relevant agents or departments, and eliminating the need for pointless follow-ups or cross-department connections.

 

Knowledge management at call centers

Knowledge management software further spread its influence, allowing for the creation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems – giving companies a clear overview of their interactions with individual customers through data-driven dashboards. All of this allowed customer service teams to begin servicing customers as soon as that phone rang, cut wait times by hundreds of seconds, and boosted profitability – but it still wasn’t enough.

A knowledgebase would allow the AI to log the new problem, the new solutions offered, and further diversify its offerings for a more complete experience with the next customer. While problems over time are inevitable as you scale a business, knowledge management tools allow your services and solutions to scale with them as well – giving companies a way to fight the problems they have today, and a way to anticipate and prevent the one’s they’ll have tomorrow.

The modern customer support team still has its problems. Frustrated customers report endless wait times or confusing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) loops, and a sense of disconnect from companies. Call centers were supposed to connect customers with companies – but they still felt like a barrier or an obstacle for customers to overcome. More change was required. Companies needed to add a human touch – and use a knowledge management strategy to further refine their engagement process and boost positive interactions.

 

Tech, AI, and call centers

Of the new era, conversational AI was the most visible development in this field. Chatbots with machine learning algorithms practiced hundreds of thousands of conversations around the most common complaints and problems and were then deployed onto websites and apps globally.

These bots hold instant conversations with customers, log their complaints, provide ticket numbers, and offer solutions based on the most common problems reported. This gives users a complete, near-instant, service experience, and companies a full profile and report of the customer and the difficulties he faced. With AI bots, one of the oldest and most frustrating sounds to customers in the world – the hold tone – was no longer a necessary experience.

Further, should the chatbot fail to find an automated solution, customers would be placed in touch with live agents – ensuring no interactions ended without a solution.

Bear in mind, truly optimizing your operations means utilizing knowledge management for more than just customer-facing services. A good management system would result in problems being streamlined and reaching the desks of the right agent – but at this point, their efficiency becomes the deciding factor. If a customer is instantly referred to the right agent – but the agent doesn’t utilize best practices in finding a solution – we’re all back to square one.

 

The era of better knowledge for call center agents via LMS

Knowledge management will give call center agents the best possible solutions as recorded by data – allowing them to pitch successful solutions to clients at a faster rate. Knowing what to say, and when to say it, is well known as being key in the sales industry – but it is of equal importance in the service industry as well. And as ever – there’s a tool for it. KM enables the creation of Learning Management Systems (LMS) – a tool used to disburse information to learners in the form of training programs, best practices information, new technology, and updates, etc.

 

At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss LMS as a basic training tool – until we realize how deep it’s influence runs across mega brands and organizations. Picture a global franchise like a KFC or a Subway – part of the comfort in eating in outlets like these is the knowledge that you’re guaranteed a basic level of customer experience – no matter where the outlet is, the ingredients are going to taste the same, the employees will treat you the same, and you’re guaranteed to feel at home.

 

This level of synchronization across thousands of outlets across the world is made possible by knowledge management with LMS – giving millions of employees worldwide access to the best practices and training techniques available, no matter where they are based. This is exactly how it plays out in call centers as well – giving agents the latest information and technology when it comes to better serving their customers and finding solutions.

 

Conclusion

Contact centers have evolved since their inception – and will continue to do so at rapid rates, with businesses reporting up to 65% of all lead generation coming through telephone conversations. In knowledge management application, we discover solutions that too shall evolve with time – allowing us to continue to serve customers at increasing rates, with customer experience fixed firmly on the upward trajectory. In data, we identify potential problems of the past, present, and future – but managing and using this data is also the key to unlocking the solutions to all three. So, while call centers are designed to manage people – it’s vital we remember the knowledge management processes that really run the show.

A knowledgebase would allow the AI to log the new problem, the new solutions offered, and further diversify its offerings for a more complete experience with the next customer. While problems over time are inevitable as you scale a business, knowledge management tools allow your services and solutions to scale with them as well – giving companies a way to fight the problems they have today, and a way to anticipate and prevent the one’s they’ll have tomorrow.

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