All that customers want these days is effortless engagement. 55% of US online adults say that they are very likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question. 77% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. 

Customers increasingly use web self-service as a first point of contact with a company. In fact, last year, web self-service was the most commonly used communication channel for customer service, exceeding phone use for the first time ever.

Companies are not only investing in customer-facing knowledge. They are also using knowledge management solutions to add order and easy access to content for customer-facing personnel - specifically for customer service agents. Our data shows that 62% of technology decision-makers say that they have implemented or are expanding their implementation, and 21% plan to implement their knowledge implementation in the next 12 months.

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. 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. 

There are many knowledge vendors, and recently, I profiled the capabilities of 18 vendors. Because of the number of vendors in this space, you have to be clear about your core requirement for knowledge management, and the business value that you hope to derive from your knowledge implementation. Here are 4 questions to help you articulate your goals:

  • What is your knowledge strategy? Define upfront the strategic goal of a knowledge implementation — such as web self-service knowledge to deflect simple, repetitive inquiries; standardizing agent knowledge to reduce incident handle times and increase consistency of service; driving customer engagement and loyalty; or supporting prepurchase scenarios to drive conversions. Then, define high-level capabilities to support your end goal.
  • What is the end-to-end customer journey that you want to support? Decide whether to support a discrete customer knowledge journey or whether knowledge will be part of a broader customer engagement journey. For example, determine if a customer can start their journey as a web or mobile self-service interactions and easily escalate to a live agent without having to restart the conversation.
  • Do you need proactive knowledge? Decide whether you want to focus on offering reactive knowledge where customers or agents must search to find relevant content or whether you want to proactively push knowledge to agents and customers based on their profile and details about their customer service case.
  • What is your knowledge philosophy? Decide how you will author and publish knowledge For example, decide whether only a small group of knowledge workers will be responsible for authoring and publishing, or whether certified agents or perhaps any agent will be allowed to author knowledge, or whether customers will be able to create knowledge or flag community content to be added to a knowledge base. Define the publishing workflows and review processes to ensure that customer and regulatory policies are supported for your industry.

Answering these questions will go a long way to pinpointing a category of vendor that you want to investigate. Read more about the knowledge management vendor landscape here.

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