According to the Salesforce State of Customer Experience report, 67% of consumers claim their standards related to customer experience are higher than ever. In today’s noisy digital marketing landscape, customers do not want to waste time. They expect your business to get back to them immediately, without any delay.
Most customers prefer self-service over talking to your customer service agent. According to Gartner, by the end of 2020, 85% of customer relationships will happen without a human agent.
Therefore, to supercharge customer support, you need to provide self-service options and give your customers a chance to find answers to their questions.
Here is how knowledge management can boost your customer service.
What is Knowledge Management?
A knowledge management system refers to a process of creating, publishing, and managing the knowledge of your company. There are different forms of knowledge management systems, including:
- knowledge bases
- article directories
- training programs
- case studies
- FAQ content
What is the Difference Between CRM and Knowledge Management?
While customer relationship management and knowledge management systems are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.
So, what is the difference?
A CRM tool, such as HubSpot CRM or Nextiva CRM, keeps all your company’s tools in a single location, including your call center software, live chat, chatbots, email support, and social networks. Its goal is to gather customer data from multiple channels and centralize it.
Customer information includes their demographic data (gender, age, location, employment status, family status), previous touchpoints with your brand, their browsing patterns, shopping preferences, etc. Based on this data, a CRM tool creates detailed profiles for each customer.
One of the most significant integrations is that between a call center system and CRM software. Many companies are making a switch to business VoIP technologies that support CRM integrations. For example, when a customer calls your customer service, the VoIP tool will automatically pull the information from your CRM and show it on your agent’s screen. Knowing who they are talking to, your reps will provide personalized customer service.
A knowledge base is a repository of company data, used both internally and externally. The internal knowledge management system assists your customer service representatives in quickly resolving cases. The external knowledge base is designed to help customers find information and solve issues themselves without having to contact your customer service agent.
How Knowledge Management Benefits your Business
Having a knowledge management system benefits your customer support in multiple ways. It centralizes all your company’s data and supports both your internal knowledge base for customer support and the external knowledge base for customer self-service.
The major perks of implementing a knowledge management system are:
Centralizing Data and Enabling Self-Service
Knowledge management centralizes your company’s documentation and makes it available to anyone. It assists customers in finding answers to simple questions on their own. That way, you will deliver better and consistent customer support across all channels and enhance customer satisfaction.
Motivating your Customer Support Team
Having a knowledge base also minimizes repetitive inquiries, allowing your customer support team to focus on more complex aspects of their jobs. That way, you will enhance your agents’ performance and satisfaction, as well as minimize their turnover.
Improving Customer Service KPIs
Those factors may significantly boost your customer service KPIs, such as first call resolution, the average handling time, the Net Promoter Score, etc.
Getting Started with Knowledge Management
The most significant benefit of knowledge management is its ability to enhance customer satisfaction and optimize customer journeys. As a result, you will build a fully customer-oriented brand and turn your customers into brand advocates.
Here are a few key steps you need to take when creating a successful knowledge management system.
Perform a Knowledge Assessment
Just like its mere name suggests, a knowledge audit is the assessment of the knowledge available to you. At this stage, you need to understand how accessible it is to your customer support agents. A knowledge audit should examine whether all of your customer support teams have access to the same data so they can deliver accurate and personalized feedback. Is your customer support consistent across all channels?
Choose the Right Data for your KMS
What are the most common questions your customers ask? What problems do they face? What are their greatest fears or causes of frustration? Only by answering these questions will create a knowledge base that resonates with your audiences. Now, there are many ways to collect customer feedback:
- Analyze your support ticket system to identify the most common questions customers ask.
- Sit down with your customer support team and ask them to explain what issues customers often face.
- Perform website analytics (use Google Analytics or its alternatives) to analyze customer behavior on your website. That is how you will identify the pages and content they are commonly searching for.
- Use social listening tools to track your keywords on social networks. Apart from helping you provide real-time feedback, those tools also allow you to measure brand sentiment and track your brand and product mentions.
- Use your keyword research tools to identify the commonly asked questions.
Design your Knowledge Base
Now that you have sourced your essential documentation, it is time to organize it into a detailed knowledge base:
- Classify your articles into multiple categories by topic. Keep your knowledge base sections clear and easy-to-understand to help customers find the desired content faster.
- Offer a search box for customers that already know what they want to ask.
- Link back to other helpful content, such as video tutorials or training programs.
- Apart from textual articles, use images, screenshots, videos, or audio content to make your knowledge management system more user-friendly and comprehensive. People have different learning styles.
- Include a user forum to enable self-service and build an online community.
- Provide a detailed FAQ section.
Of course, the format of your knowledge management system depends on your company and customer expectations.
Audit the Effectiveness of your KMS
Measuring the success of your knowledge base is not the same as measuring your website analytics. For example, when measuring the performance of your landing page, you will focus on the number of leads generated, the bounce rate, or your conversion rate.
Let’s take the example of the bounce rate, which is one of the most common website analytics metrics. While it may mean that your article is not valuable or relevant to a user, this metric is often misleading. Namely, it could also indicate that a visitor clicked on a link in the knowledge base, opened an article, found the answer to their question, and left the site without browsing through it.
That is why analyzing the performance of your knowledge management system should rely on intangible metrics. Many brands place a binary survey form at the end of each knowledge base article. For example, you could ask: “Would you rate this article as helpful? Yes or No.” Based on customer feedback, you will understand which articles are helpful and which ones need to be tweaked a bit.
Keep Updating your KMS
Just because you have created a knowledge management system does not mean you can now kick back and relax. You need to continually review it to make it valuable, helpful, and relevant to customers. For example, if an article does not resonate with your target audiences, update it to make it more informative or easier to understand.
You should also keep track of customer questions and service inquiries your customer support team receives. That way, you will be able to respond to their questions directly from your knowledge base. If there are any product updates or features, address them in your knowledge base, too.
Bring your Knowledge Management Tools Together
As your customer base grows and your business needs mature, it may be tempting for you to invest in a wide range of customer support technologies. However, remember that having a bunch of tools that operate in a vacuum is not enough. If your knowledge management tools do not work together, that may result in information silos and compromise your customer service team’s productivity. Above all, inconsistent customer support may harm user experiences and prevent them from converting.
Precisely because of that, you need to create a hyper-connected knowledge management system and make sure your customer service tools work in harmony. That is why you should consider investing in a cloud-based knowledge management tool that will centralize your:
- Knowledge base
- Social media customer service
- AI chatbot
- Voice assistants
- CRM system
- Email customer support
- Call center
Knowledge Management should be a Company-Wide Strategy
For knowledge management to be effective, it needs to be integrated into all business processes. Collaboration is critical at this stage. All organizational departments, including sales, development, operations, marketing, research, and customer service, should join forces to estimate customer needs. They should build a knowledge management framework and identify information that may be relevant to customers.
Do you have a knowledge management system? How does it benefit your customer support strategy? We are listening!