Posted On: March 3, 2020 | 10 mins read
Is there anyone who doesn’t think great customer experience isn’t the key to business sustenance? This piece, here, will go a step further to tell you, in not more than 5 minutes, why knowledge management is the core of achieving great customer experience. Buckle in.
Around the world, customers have become more and more empowered. They have a resounding voice in terms of testimonials, reviews, as well as direct opinions. There are multiple channels where they can voice their thoughts and experiences, freely. A study by American Express showed that an average American would tell 15 others about a bad customer service experience, rather than a good one (being told an average of 11 others).
Great customer experience (CX) can induce multiple positives into your brand loyalty. It can also reinfuse your growth with repeat purchases and higher purchase (cart) value. The positive word-of-mouth, as a plus, is the best promotional you could hope for, in terms of a business strategy. Customers provided with great CX can become advocates who spread your word.
On the other hand, bad customer experience can have dire effects on your revenue. Bad CX news spreads faster than good ones. This is because customers tend to band together to punish such experiences to admonish companies before they themselves (people who spread the news) face the same bad experience.
The level of reactions varies across places, regions, and countries. 33% of Singaporeans, for example, would immediately switch to a competing service/product after poor customer experience. This doubles (67%) after two or more such poor experiences.
Swiftly moving to the other end of the spectrum, 56% of Singaporeans are more likely to acknowledge and approve upselling or increasing subsequent purchase value post positive customer experiences. Similarly, 43% of Americans would follow the same route.
Millennials are far more likely to spread the word of great CX rather than a bad one (diverting from the overall average American pattern mentioned above). They would possibly tell 17 people about a good experience as opposed to 15 for a bad one.
It’s not just about punishing companies for flawed customer service, it’s also about rewarding and conditioning companies to offer great service. The age-old concept of taking care of customers has never been more relevant than today.
Companies know this and they spend millions in trying to create and sustain positive customer experiences. They falter in three ways:
1. Quality consistency
Even though these three points are big in their own way, still they are connected in an intent. Some companies spend too much time perfecting a single call and, then, are inconsistent with the same. They have one-off good experience which they try. Other companies try too hard to automate the processes and direct most queries through their website and apps. Even though it’s fine to do this with simple queries, as the complexities increase they are not able to scale their processes.
A common ailment for customer experience is the erosion of knowledge through high attrition rates (high new employee on-boarding time + loss of departing knowledge). This is one of the reasons for the lack of replicability. Other reasons are the gulf in the talent of one service professional from another. There isn’t any standardization or proper knowledge exchange.
Even though you read it already, it’s important enough to reiterate. You need an intuitive and scalable knowledge management system as there’s no other way. Companies either realize this quickly or after some costly learnings over time.
What is knowledge management? It’s a consumption-focused knowledge base that forms the backbone of all your online and on-call customer interactions.
Let’s look at the foundation of your business processes, to clarify- the product and service knowledge. Any query or experience would fall right on its face if your representative or agent won’t have necessary knowledge to address the query or problem. It must be done in a timely manner with minimal wait time or unnecessary transfers.
You know this. Try to recall an interaction with a representative. You might have sensed the person’s empathy or product-awareness within a few seconds. This would have set your expectations. Either you might have thought, ‘Ok, I would get my problem resolved in the next few minutes’, or ‘I am stuck with this person, I better just get on with the drill’. The first expectation holds the possibility that you left the call/interaction feeling more satisfied than before (when you initiated it).
At the business end, the first interaction was made possible with a robust knowledge management system. Here are five ways knowledge management helps boost customer experience:
Time is of the essence, always. Knowledge management helps structure problem identification and solution-response structuring through perfectly-timed decision tree led processes. Within a few exploratory questions, the representative or agent would have the exact direction and resolution to offer to the customer that boosts the First Call Resolution rates with minimal confusions and escalations.
There are, sometimes literally, a plethora of problems the customer could throw at your representative. Knowledge management, and its systematic information decimation protocol, keep things simple and flowing. Never would the customer (or the representative) feel overwhelmed. However, a knowledge management system (KMS) is tightly managed to cover every question or query no matter what the relevancy or complexity is.
Knowledge has a unique feature. It’s constantly growing and evolving. Substitute or wannabe KMS’ suffer from static decimation where content and information isn’t properly aligned with concurrent customer scenarios. A proper KMS builds and appends its basic quality of information through intrinsic checks and balances.
This helps in easy knowledge retention even when a (talented) representative leaves the company. Replication of solutions being offered across the board can be at ease.
The impact of a KMS, as any tech-intervention, would be tied to the abilities or inabilities of the people implementing it. To increase the overall impact, KMS helps with structured learning and quiz management for faster on-boarding for all fresh minds. They would be ready to perform in practically no-time.
Another aspect we hear all the time is on-the-job training. Companies, however, often leave this open-ended. An intuitive knowledge management system can check this. No-matter where the representative performs, on a call or in-person with the customer, they can access the KMS with updated and perfectly-suited solutions on their fingertips. Companies can even incentivize the knowledge consumption, usage, and application of their representatives within the KMS.
Being at top of a constantly evolving tech or consumer sector, a company must regularly update its solutions, service protocols, and processes. However, spreading these updates quickly down the channels (of communication) becomes a heavy task. This leads to instances where a representative ends up offering an outdated solution to a customer.
Furthermore, in today’s day and age, companies cover omnichannel customer support and experience management layout. This covers chatbots, representative/agent messaging, email interactions, voice calls, etc. It’s important to ensure tone, language and information consistency across channels.
An effective knowledge management system sees to it that this omnichannel automation and content consistency is left unhindered. Each subsequent system would then reflect consistent information.
Isn’t, it’s universal across geographies and demographics that customers’ needs in terms of products and services may vary. So, the only way to successfully and consistently achieve this is through a robust and intuitive Knowledge Management Software (KMS).