Agent Knowledge is the key to Customer Engagement


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Marketing has traditionally been responsible for brand positioning in the market, while Customer Service owns the ‘experienced’ brand. In other words, Marketing brings the customer in, and Customer Service keeps them coming back.

With the rise of digital, the two departments are merging. So who owns the customer conversations occurring across social media platforms? With customer engagement set to overtake productivity as the primary driver of growth, every employee must be enabled to own any customer interaction. Employee engagement drives customer engagement. You need to mobilize your teams to better understand customer needs and improve customer engagement across every touchpoint.

From the perspective of the contact center, how do you get your agents engaged so customers are engaged?

When an agent is better able to service their customer, they are more satisfied and engaged. One important way to better equip agents to meet customer expectations is to give them access to a robust knowledge management (KM) system. Today, customers can easily research your company, products, and services online, making them more informed when they contact an agent. More than ever before, agents need to be prepared with the right information at the right time.

Imagine you’ve spent time online troubleshooting an issue with your printer. In the middle of the process, you dial customer support for further assistance. They insist on starting from step one in the troubleshooting process, instead of continuing from where you are. At this point, you are already having a frustrating experience. The phone call is a key moment to influence your feeling towards the brand. Agents need to meet customers where they are in the process of solving an issue, no matter which channel they choose. Rather than running through an entire checklist of 14 steps to get to the solution, your agent needs to be empowered to diagnose and meet customers where they are in the process, rather than forcing them back to step one.

Ongoing training will help, but an agent can’t possibly know the answer to every customer inquiry, particularly when a company’s product lines or services are expanding and/or changing. Without access to a strong knowledge-base and detailed training guides, contact center employees become even more challenged as they attempt to resolve customer issues. It’s not surprising then that 500+ contact center professionals cite knowledge management as their #1 strategy.

You need a KM system that helps agents find the answer. Innovative companies have full-time resources assigned to knowledge management and view ‘knowledge’ as an evolving process that needs to be managed. Cloud technology is bringing KM to new levels, but organizations are only beginning to understand the power of putting complex solutions into the hands of the agents (and the customer in self-service scenarios). Even small centers can now have strong searchable access to knowledge. With the right technology and processes, the knowledge can also be pushed to the customer via website, portals, and communities.

The real power is evident when your organization can act on the results. Being able to report on the data—which comes from tying KM answers to case types and resolutions—allows the contact center to improve quality, and engage the customer at a new level across all channels.

Buyers today are savvy—your agents need to become experts in finding the right information, fast, rather than memorizing answers to standard inquiries. As customers continue to evolve, so too must the customer contact channels.

Join the conversation
Interested in a more in-depth discussion around getting the most value from your Customer Service department? Join more than 250 fellow industry leaders at the Bluewolf Engagement Squared Summit as we explore how to harness cloud, social, and mobile technologies to engage your employees and customers. The Bluewolf Engagement Squared Summit will take place June 5, 2013, in Denver.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Furniss
Bob Furniss' career has focused on improving customer experiences. As the Director of Bluewolf's Service Cloud practice, Bob leads a team of consultants who works with clients in three key areas: Salesforce Service Cloud strategy/implementation; Social Media strategy and implementation in the contact center; and creating vision blueprints to help companies set a new course for their contact centers in the areas of people and technology. Follow him on Twitter


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