According to Gartner, evidence gathered from more than 1000 client calls shows that a customer service representative spends on average 20 percent of their time trying to understand customer questions, searching for the correct information, and responding. While this may not initially seem significant, let's put it into perspective for the contact center.
If a call center has 100 employees and each employee spends 20 percent of their time (the equivalent of one day per week) understanding, searching for, and responding to customer queries, a total of 800 agent hours will be wasted on basic, administrative functions every week.
For consumers today, a timely and accurate response to their queries is considered a basic service expectation. What customer service professionals need to realize is that a slow information flow to the contact center not only negatively impacts agent time but also the experience of customers who want answers to their queries in real time.
In this piece I'll take a look at the role customer service is playing in the connected world and provide top tips for embedding customer service into your business strategy.
Contact center: At the heart of the customer service function
Improved delivery of contextual knowledge to contact center agents could reduce the amount of hours wasted by agents, by between 20-80 percent, and increase customer satisfaction. For those who aren't familiar with the concept, it's a knowledgebase specifically optimised for customers contacting businesses from multiple devices with multiple operating systems. It also allows employees - in store and in the contact center - access to the same information.
This means customers receive consistent responses to their queries whether contacting your brand online, in-store or through the contact center.
In the last year, companies such as Marks and Spencer, the RAC, and many more have invested in a centralized knowledgebase system, implementing IT overhauls to improve customer service efficiency with the roll out touching every aspect of their business. The strategy is key in equipping employees with the knowledge they need to provide consistent responses to customer questions while also encouraging customers to serve themselves online.
"Our agents use the technology to spread consistent knowledge regardless of where they are, where they sit or how long they have been with the company. The joined-up approach gives our agents the power to improve customer experience on the website, in store, and in the contact center." - Ian Mahoney, Head of Delivery Services at M&S
So what exactly can the centralized knowledgebase bring to an organization?
By using contact center agents to feed the knowledgebase in real time, you can ensure employees- and your external website-remain one step ahead. Through a centralized knowledgebase, contact center agents are able to:
- Pre-empt trending queries: Agents can spot a problem or trending query almost immediately and suggest which content should go on the website to help answer it and prevent further questions.
- Filter responses: Once a trending query has been identified the Transversal knowledgebase allows contact center agents to filter who internally and externally can access the information, meaning additional 'internal knowledge or context' can be added for employees.
- Spot trends: An up-to-the minute 'trend' function allows employees-and customers-to see the most frequently asked questions at any given moment. This is particularly important for seasonal fluctuations in queries as call center agents can pre-empt trending queries based on the previous year's analytics and FAQ's.
If you feel your business is failing to provide a consistent customer service experience across all customer-facing touch points, it's time for change. To put the scale of the centralized knowledgebase strategy into perspective, Marks and Spencer's knowledgebase handles eight million customer help sessions per year. Unnecessary queries have been reduced by 20 percent and the knowledgebase now holds an archive of 24 million different customer Q&As.
A centralized knowledgebase is the key strategy for businesses to realize the greatest value from their customers.