For most contact centers, stepping into the digital age has meant heavily investing in knowledge management tools. Unfortunately, far too many aren’t discerning with their purchases or fail to recognize the places where knowledge management falls short. The result is unhappy agents, dissatisfied customers and a whole lot of unrealized potential.
So what’s a contact center to do? By assisting agents in real-time during live customer interactions, contact centers can make it easy for new agents to sell to and serve customers just like the pros. This will require contact centers to deliver actionable knowledge nuggets to agents right at the moment of need, during customer interactions, without requiring any searching, coaching, chatroom, offline e-learning or classroom training.
Future of Knowledge Management in Contact Center
In fact, the future of knowledge management in the contact center begins with the recognition that less is more. But, before we rush to the future, we need to understand what’s broken with the way knowledge is managed and delivered to agents in the contact center today.
A contact center in 2021 probably looks different than it did even a few years ago. Technology that was once unthinkable is now commonplace. Contact centers may not even be physical locations at all — with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many agents to do their work from home. Through it all, agents have remained indispensable, all while adjusting to ever-changing expectations.
Despite advances in technology, there may have never been as hard a time to be a contact center agent as right now. While the basic job of an agent — to assist customers in need, increase satisfaction and drive sales — remains the same, the conversations agents are having with customers have changed. Because most companies now offer self-service tools to address simpler questions, agents are often left dealing with only the most challenging customer quandaries.
Anatomy of an Agent's Interaction With a Customer
As a result of this changing tech landscape, the majority of interactions are now extremely complex. To successfully address a customer’s request, an agent must be able to:
Your Contact center Agents Are Screaming for Assistance
Even a simpler request requires both deep subject knowledge and multiple repetitive tasks. More complex tasks, however, add further steps and stressors. Agents must discuss the issue in detail, offer a workaround, provide validation to a customer and — more often than not — provide an outlet for a customer to vent. Without the right tools, even the most adept agents are set up for failure — resulting in lost opportunities to retain customers and increase satisfaction.
Ultimately, the mix of complexity and repetition can leave agents feeling overexerted and burned out. According to a 2020 study from Calabrio, a majority (52%) of agents felt that their employers weren’t doing enough to prevent burnout. The results can include agents that make mistakes or provide poor service, as well as increased turnover and time lost to onboarding and training. Increased complexity isn’t just an inconvenience for agents — it could be a source of a vicious cycle within your organization.
Knowledge Management Fails To Help Your Call Center Agents
For most contact centers, the rush to digitization has meant one thing and one thing only: further investment in knowledge management. According the 2020 Global Customer Experience Benchmark from NTT, Knowledge Management is the #1 tool used to drive workplace productivity. On the surface, it’s easy to see why. Knowledge management tools allow organizations to store large amounts of essential data in an organized manner. This makes it easier for agents to take it upon themselves to find the information they need.
Most knowledge management solutions, however, fail to take the next steps that agents actually require of the technology.
Agent Assist | Your Gateway to Agile Learning in the Contact Center
In addition to falling short in complex situations, knowledge management is often used in replacement of more adept solutions. Far too many organizations look to knowledge management as an end all be all, neglecting other tools that their agents would benefit from in the process. This is driven home by all the bells and whistles being offered for knowledge management that were mentioned above.
Contact center leaders can assist agents in real-time by blending knowledge automation and process automation.
How Is Real-time Agent Assist Different From…
Enable Learning During Live Customer Interactions
By this point, it’s no secret that we believe the way agents get their information needs a rethink. But, seemingly counterintuitively, the answer to the complexity dilemma agents face usually isn’t more information, a la knowledge management, it’s the right information. Automation technology can help ensure agents have what they need, without the added stress of having to dig through extra data for it. In order to do this, a solution must be able to account for information from both the interaction and previous information from the customer data model or the business process model. If implemented right, the result is a happier, more informed agent and a more satisfied customer.
Automating processes can aid agents in every phase of customer interaction. Having a tool that automatically builds on existing customer data allows agents to hit the ground running and understand intent quickly. By automating the knowledge delivery process, and using data from every stage of the process rather than just a few keywords, agents can quickly have the answer to queries, without creating friction or slowing the flow of conversation. Taking these kinds of tasks off agent’s plates better allows them to do what they do best and what customers value — offer a real human connection and an empathetic voice during a frustrating time.