You are not going to see Knowledge Management at the peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle any time soon. Writing about 3D Printers and the Internet-of-Things is certainly more exciting than Knowledge Management for customer service organizations. But customer service managers exist in a world of real-reality, more than virtual reality. There is constant pressure on customer service teams to increase customer satisfaction while hold down costs.
When it comes to dealing with the real-reality of customer service, investing in Knowledge Management processes and technologies provides a solid payoff. A recent Gartner report entitled Knowledge Management Will Transform CRM Customer Service shows some of the gains organizations can expect from investing in Knowledge Management. From this report, there are three key stats every customer service organization should know. That is, by investing in a Knowledge Management effort, organizations have seen:
1. 35% reduction in the time that it takes to train a new customer support representative
Starting a new job is always stressful. Being able to find the right answers to customer questions gives new employees confidence to excel. Gartner’s 35% number probably varies depending on the complexity of the product, but clearly Knowledge Management reduces the ramp-up time for customer support employees. As a part of rolling out a new Knowledge Management process, one of the tasks should be to interview employees to understand what was the hardest part of starting their new job. Very often “finding stuff” will appear at the top of their list.
2. 25% headcount shift away from low-value calls due to self-service knowledge search
The time your customer support representatives have is a fixed commodity. The more their time can be shifted from mundane tasks to activities valuable to the company, the better. Having a solid Knowledge Management system allows the customer support team to focus on customers that are either in danger of leaving or those that bring the most value to the company. The point of a Knowledge Management system project for customer service is not to shrink headcount, but to make it most effective. In many instances, interactions between representatives and at-risk or high-value customers should increase.
3. 40% reduction in talk time in a support center
Talk time can be a drain on your support representatives, and an irritation for your customers. Of course, talk time alone is a statistic that doesn’t tell you much about the satisfaction of your customers. If talk time is focused on spending cycles searching for answers, there is obviously a knowledge management issue that needs to be addressed. Overall, though average interaction time between representatives and customers should decrease.
Developing a Knowledge Management system for your customer service organization can be an arduous task. Having great technology like Salesforce’s Service Cloud is one piece in a puzzle that includes evaluating current knowledge problems and cataloging sources of knowledge. A great place to start building a Knowledge Management strategy is by downloading our eBook, Salesforce Service Cloud as a Knowledge-Centered Support Machine. The Knowledge Management-Customer Service puzzle is not one that can be solved by technology alone.