In this article you will find:
Call center knowledge base definition
Call center knowledge base benefits
Call center knowledge base checklist
Call center knowledge management best practices
Call center knowledge base definition
Contact center knowledge base is the storage of data, often guides or topics, about company products and services, and everything that can help either agent or customer(if the base is posted as a FAQ with free access) solve the problem.
There are two main approaches to creating knowledge bases - internal and external. The internal knowledge base is accessible to the company’s staff only and is used mostly to help call center agents find related information about customer issues. The external knowledge base is posted on the website and can be used by every visitor to get additional information or to resolve the issue on their own.
There is no direct answer about which of these approaches is better. The only thing to say is to state that both models are useful and have their own benefits.
Nonetheless, there are still organizations that haven’t even implemented such tools as a knowledge base. Even though the benefits of a knowledge base are clear enough, some managers think that avoiding creating it may save some costs or the effectiveness of such info storage isn’t that high - and this is a huge mistake, and we’re going to explain why.
Contact center knowledge management benefits
As we have already stated, using knowledge bases is a great way to improve the quality of customer service and overall call center performance, as well as agent professionalism. But let’s discover the exact benefits of using this tool.
Higher agent productivity
Workers can waste up to 20% of their shift’s time on looking for some answers by surfing emails, messengers, asking colleagues, and doing other effortful and inefficient actions to find information. As you can see, it is a huge amount of time that can be easily reduced - and the instrument that could do this is the call center knowledge base, exactly. Imagine, how faster it will be for an agent to find out info that is stored in one place, edited and structured.
Additional effectiveness of training
Call centers always are harmed by high attrition rates, and a little part of managers can tackle this trouble. On the contrary, 94% of workers say they would be pleased and engaged if their firm invests in them more. Isn’t this a great deal? Contrastingly, real-time training sessions are effortful and tiring, and employees still need time for themselves. Knowledge accessibility is an ideal solution in this case, as many contact center agents need self-training and self-learning, and this is how you provide them with everything they need.
Better agent engagement rates
Knowledge transparency builds employee trust and confidence in the fact that you are ready to build trustful, long-lasting, and warm relationships with the customer service team. If people see how much time you spend on their onboarding and professional growth, they will repay the same. Giving access to company information shows your engagement, and this step will also make another party engaged.
Safe Knowledge Transfer
If you don’t store all the information in a safe place that is accessible to every worker on the customer support team, when you lose the specialist, you lose his or her brains that are the storage for everything they have learned on the job. How stressful would the delegation process be if the successor has no idea of how your company works? Vice versa, the knowledge base can’t be lost and it keeps all the data safe, so anyone who applies for the job just opens it to find all the information.
Best friend for remote teams
We have already said that agent engagement is boosted by using the knowledge base, but do you know the main problem of almost every remote employee? Yes, it is low engagement. Remote workers often feel the distance between them and the office-based teams - because of poor internal communication, lack of live conversations, or bad onboarding. On the one hand, knowledge management can’t replace communication with colleagues, and this is absolutely distinct area of improvement. On the other hand, it builds a bridge between remote customer support agents and business processes, principles, and goals, that are difficult to describe during two or three video calls.
Ideal checklist for creating an effective knowledge base
To ease the task for you, we have divided this short guide into steps, that should be done one by one. And yes, let’s state that you have nothing - no templates or something else, and the process is started from scratch.
Research the data you have
You have no knowledge base, and there is a question about where should you start building it. A perfect starting point would be gathering all the data that you already have - which products are the most favored, which customer requests are the most popular, and so on. You have to start from appeals and inquiries that make up the majority of requests, so the process should firstly cover more popular cases, and then go to rare situations, services, or customer queries. Such an approach is clear because you can’t cover everything from the first attempt, but more popular requests are priorities.
Divide topics into sections
If you have a call center knowledge base software, it will be a great assistant for this task. The goal is to divide various requests into sections with distinct knowledge base articles. For instance, by different products, where the product’s name is the name of the section that can contain a few topics. Or by processes, like “setting up” or “maintaining”. This would make navigation easier, but the vital thing is to link related knowledge materials with each other to let people swap from one topic to another in one click.
Make the content look good
We are the opponents of too long, desultory, and hard-to-read content. Every topic should be as informative as possible but also shortened. Media, like videos or images, should also be included as it will help to understand the knowledge base content. If one topic has a few related posts, create a link between them, so visitors will be able to switch from one topic to another.
Don’t forget to integrate the search option
It sounds a bit obvious, but there are cases when knowledge bases have no option to search the topics. The search engine is the fundamental part of the navigation process, and it should work correctly to let users find all related topics. Additionally, without the search option, you’ll get nothing but angry calls to support with complaints about poor knowledge base design.
Think of design
If we talk about the external knowledge base, then the design will be a really significant part of all construction procedures. People are now acquainted with qualitative and genuine designs, so it would look bad if your knowledge base would cosplay a website from the early 2000-s. Make it at least fit your website, and do all additional steps depending on your preferences.
Post it and collect feedback
The most responsible part of everything you have already done - gathering reviews and opinions of your knowledge base. Try to ask as many customers as possible. Use other communication channels to gather feedback, and try to find out what customers expect you to add, improve, redesign or remove. Then you will collect enough data for analysis and further decisions.
Update it, improve it, and repeat
The knowledge base contains information about your company and products. You can design new products, add new features, or remove existing goods from the market. What should happen with your base in this case? Right, it will need an update. You collect customer feedback not just to show everyone that you collect it, but to use it as a direct guide to customer expectations and wishes. It frustrates people when they allocate their time to say their opinion, and you don’t react to it. On the contrary, if customers see your efforts in improving the self-service knowledge base, they would appreciate it.
Best knowledge management practices
Use the client’s language
Many companies do the same mistake - as they are experts in the field where they create and sell the products, they write of them as they would have liked to read. So, we get the situation when topics are too overwhelming for simple customers and contain too much theoretical information and terminology that can be difficult to understand by people who are just using the knowledge base to find simple answers.
The same thing works with the internal knowledge base - a few newbie agents have bachelor’s degrees in telemarketing, and if they seek information that should help them, they get another scientifical study that does nothing but overwhelms them.
Try to make things simpler: look at your knowledge resources and put yourself into the customer’s shoes - would it be comfortable to read it without years of experience in the industry? If not, simplify it.
Try to build a community
Many customers have enough knowledge and skill to solve their problems on their own without any assistance - and they do so. Such customers are a new source of knowledge, and they can know things that are unclear even to you or other managers. Let such people suggest their thoughts and communicate with each other. This does not mean you should make your customers the administrators of your website, but encourage them to post their experiences and thoughts - either on the website or on social media, it does not matter. People have to feel that you understand their values and respect their knowledge.
Sort the knowledge
This is also a vital tip to take into consideration - and we are not talking about sorting information into sections, no. We mean it is a great idea to sort the topics by their importance and value for customers. There is a great grid that is used by many contact centers across the globe, and it is called the value irritant grid. This grid sorts problems into four categories - Automate, Simplify, Leverage Opportunities, and Eliminate, where the name of each category means the actions required to do with problems in that category. Thus, if you have problems that are put into Eliminate category, just get rid of them - don’t invest anything in knowledge management, just eliminate it.
Don’t overdo knowledge management
Another vital piece of advice is to improve knowledge management and provide it to things that truly require such hands-on activities. If you have no customer requests on some things, don’t spend hours describing how it can be resolved - people have to get access to real cases and solutions of real situations, not too boring theory. On the other hand, if you have a few thousand knowledge base articles in your knowledge base, and this number can be seen by visitors, they would be scared. To say the truth, it is no need to create huge knowledge bases, it has to cover customer complaints and answers that happen at least once a year. If there are no real cases, but you believe that these potential issues can happen in the nearest future, you can describe them, but do not overdo unnecessary writing.
Create a glossary of terms
This can sound strange, but some industries have a strong requirement for a detailed, but easy-to-navigate glossary. We have said that using customer language is crucial, but now everything can be explained in simple terms, so professional terminology is required, and sometimes it builds a problem - especially in B2B. For instance, a cloud-based call center solution with knowledge base management software - how would you explain its benefits, features, and areas of implementation without using specific terminologies, like metrics, such as Average Handle Time, Average Response Times, First Call Resolution rate, and so on? But, contrastively, call center solutions are purchased by people who sometimes know too little about them, and here you get the problem.
A glossary would be a great starting point - before reading exact knowledge base articles, the person just opens it and after five minutes key terms are absolutely understandable. Isn’t it a perfect solution for complicated niches, or high-tech companies?
Gather as much feedback as possible
We have already mentioned gathering feedback after releasing your knowledge base, but it is significant to keep collecting it without any stops. New customer problems appear, new issues are identified, new products are released, and they also bring new problems. This is a closed cycle, so use real reviews on your knowledge management system to find out where you have to improve or rework something. People love being listened to, so give them this opportunity - even if feedbacks sometimes are frustrating.
As you have already learned, knowledge management is an important part of call center management activities. You can use one of two main knowledge management approaches - internal and external. The first of them means that knowledge bases are accessible only to workers, and the second one means full accessibility of knowledge to customers. The knowledge base is the main form of gathering and managing information about services and products, as well as customer requests and potential issues.
To say the truth, the ideal way to organize knowledge management is to use the call center knowledge management software. We offer opportunities to create and integrate an internal knowledge base to boost agent productivity, engagement, and motivation. It is also the easiest way to get immediate answers during the conversation with the clients.