In today’s digital economy, customers want effortless engagements and answers to their questions regardless of how they connect with a brand. The challenge is now there’s a broad mix in how customers want to reach your brand from self-service, voice, email, social media, or even live video chat. Complications come when customers receive different information or customer service experiences depending on the channel they use to contact you. In order to deliver the right knowledge, at the right time, knowledge must be everywhere; it must underpin the entire customer experience.
In fact, according to Forrester Research's September 2015 report Vendor Landscape: Knowledge Management for Customer Engagement, "Knowledge delivered to the customer or the customer-facing employee at the right time in the customer engagement process is critical to a successful interaction," wrote Kate Leggett, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research. "When done correctly, deeper knowledge can be used to personalize an interaction, increase customer satisfaction, reduce call handle time, lead to operational efficiencies, increase customer engagement, and ultimately drive conversion and revenue."
So how do we provide knowledge everywhere? In a way that is consistent, yet easily accessible to customers and agents when and where they need? It all starts with understanding our audience, and delivering consistent answers across all channels and powering knowledge everywhere in the context of their interaction. For more insights, check out these…
Five Tips for Delivering Customer Knowledge Everywhere
Tip 1 – Create a single knowledge platform and deliver Relevant Answers from all sources
Delivery of consistent answers across all channels requires knowledge to support both customers and agents in a single platform. The use of the term platform is important; understanding you may have multiple repositories, however content should be displayed or delivered in one single view. Ideally customers should be able to see all content related to their question in one single interface, regardless of where the content is actually located. It’s critical to understand that providing customers with relevant answers goes beyond your curated knowledgebase. Knowledge can come in the form of customer community posts, documents such as manuals or technical specs, customer forums, and social sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Enable your customers to find relevant content in one single view regardless of its location. By taking advantage of federated search, organizations can find and display knowledge in one single interface regardless of where it is located, including the knowledge base, other content stores and social sites.
Tip 2 – Optimize your content
Delivering knowledge everywhere is not only about offering knowledge, but offering the right knowledge at the right time. Optimizing your content is a critical step. Optimizing knowledge starts with thinking about your content in the context of the targeted audience. Knowledge should be written with the voice of the customer in mind - use your customers’ language – not company jargon. Providing content in the context and language of the customer interaction will ensure customers find the answers they are looking for the first time. Online knowledge should be tailored to customer segments when appropriate; this will not only help to improve self-service success, but will also help improve search results. Additionally, think about utilizing a knowledge search platform that captures learning based on content relevancy and customer interaction to provide your customer with the best possible answer, while simplifying search query.
Tip 3 – Deliver the Right Knowledge to the Right Audience, in the Right Channel
Delivering knowledge everywhere means extending your knowledge to where your customers want and need it. The modern customer is very mobile; customers are more likely to visit a website via a mobile device as their first option for support. Which means your customers will expect to be able to contact your brand through their mobile device. Putting knowledge in the hands of your customers on their mobile devices is now even more important than ever. Knowledge must be extended beyond self-service pages. Knowledge widgets and REST APIs can be used to embed knowledge where it’s needed – directly in a product, appliance, game console and mobile app. Go beyond self service pages to make knowledge accessible from any device or system your customers may be using when they need information.
Tip 4 – Empower customers
Knowledge everywhere, includes pulling as well as pushing knowledge. Leveraging your customers’ collective knowledge of your product or services can provide substantial benefits. Enable customers to discuss, rate and subscribe to answers within your knowledge. Allowing customers to provide feedback and rate your knowledge will not only help to improve the quality, but it can help to understand the value or gaps in knowledge content. Taking it one step further through customer communities, helps customers become knowledge contributors. Social knowledge learning captures collaborative interactions in the community. Connect stakeholders – such as content authors or community members – who can provide the most relevant and engaging responses. Harnessing learning’s from your community can also help to create dynamic knowledge articles for your customer facing service agents.
Tip 5 – Mind the gap; Continually improve
Knowledge everywhere is only effective if the knowledge you deliver is satisfactory and useful for your customers and agents. Keeping knowledge consistent, current, and effective throughout your organization means you never stop monitoring the quality of your knowledge. Utilize analytics reports to understand which articles have the highest and lowest deflection rate, which answers are being used most frequently, or even which answers aren’t getting viewed at all. Eliminating unused or ineffective answers will help users find the right information more quickly. Identify gaps in knowledge by assessing usage and success rates, and also by looking at customer and agent searches to understand which search queries aren’t yielding results. Once content gaps have been identified, it’s important to prioritize efforts to fill the gaps. Since it’s unlikely your knowledge base will ever be completely free of content gaps you’ll want to continually focus on addressing the highest priority gaps.
When knowledge is enabled everywhere and maintained properly, it can transform the customer experience. An excellent customer service experience means that customers get a satisfactory answer to their questions quickly and effortlessly. 89% of customers surveyed by Accenture said that ‘speed of response / resolution’ was the most important aspect of customer service, regardless of the channel. Empowering your customers and agents to efficiently and easily answer questions with consistency will not only result in greater customer satisfaction, but loyalty!
 Accenture 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Survey