14 Practical Techniques to Improve Knowledge Management


Our panel of experts recommend a number of techniques to improve knowledge management, while also boosting the customer and advisor experience.

1. Involve Advisors in Content Creation

Your frontline advisors know your processes and how to simplify your content better than anyone else. So, we want our high-performing advisors to be working with members of the team that have good journalistic skills to create our knowledge articles.

Also, by letting advisors and employees across the business contribute to the knowledge base you can:

A thumbnail picture of Laura Bassett

Laura Bassett

  • Create a knowledge culture, which can help to improve learning and development
  • Ensure consistency of information across all channels
  • Empower your advisors by giving them a directly impactful role
  • Gain insight to the flow of knowledge in your organization

Also, according to NICE inContact research, many businesses have greatly increased advisor engagement by involving them in knowledge creation. Attrition rates have also improved, while job satisfaction has increased by as much as 10-12%.

Thanks to Laura Bassett at NICE inContact

2. Centralize Your Knowledge Content

A simple truth about most advisors is that if they can find a faster way to do their job, they will. This means that if a company lacks a good knowledge base and a centralized place to store responses, advisors will create their own individual documents with common responses so they don’t have to type them from scratch a hundred times a day.

If a company lacks a good knowledge base and a centralized place to store responses, advisors will create their own individual documents with common responses so they don’t have to type them from scratch a hundred times a day.

Kudos to them for the effort at efficiency, right? The only problem with this approach is that customers don’t receive a consistent message from support.

Whether it’s in one consolidated, shared document or a knowledge base, it’s important to centralize this content and do away with these disparate sources.

3. Capture What Advisors Are Asking

A significant amount of supervisor time in contact centres is spent answering agent questions. These questions may be asked in person, or for distributed or remote teams, via Instant Messenger, Slack, or other collaboration tools.

Advisors will ideally be trained to query that knowledge base before reaching out to a supervisor for help.

Answering these questions more than once is a huge waste of time. The answers should be stored in a knowledge base that has the ability to make some information customer-facing and some internal-facing only.

Then, advisors will ideally be trained to query that knowledge base before reaching out to a supervisor for help.

Also, for those of us doing live quality monitoring or who have screen recording available, be sure to check that advisors are searching the knowledge base as part of their troubleshooting process.

4. Track These Two Metrics to Gauge Success

While there are likely a variety of metrics to track when it comes to knowledge management, there are a couple I’d focus on.

First, look at those articles that are either searched for or accessed most often. This will be interesting to compare with your top contact drivers. On the flipside, you may find that certain articles are never used, and these could be removed.

A thumbnail photo of Jeremy Watkin

Jeremy Watkin

A second metric to look at is the success rate where customers indicate that an article solved their problem — or didn’t solve their problem. This metric shows how many contacts are prevented because of the knowledge base.

Multiply this number by cost per contact to quantify the amount of money saved by having an up-to-date knowledge base. This is useful in ROI (return on investment) discussions when justifying the cost of the time spent on knowledge management or perhaps budgeting for a better tool for knowledge management.

Thanks to Jeremy Watkin at 8×8

5. Appoint a Knowledge Manager

There needs to be a strategy in how you organize your knowledge and it can be good to appoint a knowledge manager to manage this process, gathering statistics regarding the effectiveness of knowledge articles and actively maintaining the knowledge base.

Ideally, the manager will use knowledge ratings or other metrics within the knowledge base to identify items that are not being used to great effect. They then have a big decision to make: does this knowledge article need to be updated or deleted?

The manager will use knowledge ratings or other metrics within the knowledge base to identify items that are not being used to great effect.

All the information from within your knowledge base needs to be easily managed – one-click publishing, unpublishing, updating, sending for approval, etc. And a track record of these actions will help to keep the system clean in an efficient way.

Important alerts also need to be set to keep the information updated (this is especially important for legal approvals, regulations, contract changes etc.).

6. Create a Proper Review Process for Each New Knowledge Article

A knowledge base is enriched with its users’ input and there is always information that can be added to it, no matter how well you design it.

Advisors should not only use the knowledge provided to them by their employer, they should also generate it and contribute to the knowledge base.

Whenever a new item is generated, a well-designed workflow should be automatically launched to ensure the proper review and approvals process for this information to be used by other advisors.

7. Use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to Improve Your Search Function

With decision-tree-based or drop-down lists you need to train advisors specifically in the use of the knowledge base, and they need to memorize how it is built in order to find the information when they need it.

A thumbnail photo of Adrian Wright

Adrian Wright

With a search based on natural language, an advisor does not need to know how the decision tree is built or which of the drop-down options suits best their query. They can simply type (or say) what they need to find, in their own words, and the smart search engine will deliver results by looking in document titles, texts and quality.

Full-text NLP-based search makes the experience of finding necessary information easy, and relevant results should be delivered with minimal effort.

Thanks to Adrian Wright at Altitude Software

8. Write Knowledge Articles in the Customer’s Language

Organizations are so used to using their own internal jargon that they can often provide advisors with knowledge that confuses the customer. Instead, we want to talk to customers on their own level, which is why knowledge articles should be written in their “language”.

A thumbnail picture of Anand Subramaniam

Anand Subramaniam

With this in mind, when it comes to knowledge management, it is important to first understand what questions are being asked by the customer and in what language they ask those questions.

To do this, mine transcripts of customer service conversations across different channels and then create answers in a language that customers will understand and in a voice that is consistent with your brand personality.

Thanks to Anand Subramaniam at eGain

9. Use Knowledge to Support Advisor Training

Within your knowledge base, you can store guides and other training materials to better support new recruits and their learning, all while speeding up their time to competence.

A thumbnail photo of Gunnar Aasen

Gunnar Aasen

Remember, today’s multichannel contact centres are complex beasts, and if new joiners are not properly guided and nurtured from the beginning, they can quickly become overwhelmed by the demands of their role.

So, get it right from the start by sharing insights to help new starters get to grips with their role, while you can also reduce complexity with standard interfaces and then build confidence with listening and speech analytics.

Thanks to Gunnar Aasen at Puzzel

10. Simplify Knowledge Base Content Where Possible

When it comes to sharing knowledge, some contact centres look to cover every possible scenario, which results in them forcing too much information into each knowledge article.

However, advisors don’t want to read through lots of information while on a call or handling a contact, as it’s difficult to provide good service by doing so.

With this in mind, it is better to just add the basic steps of performing the task, and advisors can then choose to look elsewhere if they need more information.

A thumbnail photo of Tim Kimber

Tim Kimber

We can then assess the effectiveness of how this piece of knowledge is being used through metrics in the knowledge base or by using to speech analytics to detect contacts in which it has been used.

If we choose this final option, we can go back to the call or screen recording and find out how easy it was for advisors to use and how well the information was received by the customer.

Thanks to Tim Kimber at NewVoiceMedia

11. Focus on Creating a Culture of Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge management is about getting the right knowledge to the right person at the right time. It needs to be swift and effective. This includes the creation of new, relevant knowledge, as well as the sharing and continual improvement of this information.

Ideally we want this knowledge sharing and continual improvement to be embedded in our culture, as knowledge is useless unless it’s created, shared and reused. A collaborative culture will encourage sharing of best practice.

To encourage this culture type you should consider:

A thumbnail photo of Nikki Quinn

Nikki Quinn

  • Planned Phases: This will help employees accept and embrace change, enabling you to analyse user adoption, adjust issues and learn from mistakes.
  • Reward & Recognition: Ability to drive learning and development through knowledge management will encourage and empower employees to learn.
  • Drivers: The knowledge base team needs to be clear on key business drivers, aims and desired objectives, and to assist employees with queries to ensure the initiative remains focused and on track.
  • Continual Improvement: Hold frequent debrief sessions to assess outcomes and areas for improvement.

Thanks to Nikki Quinn at Noble Systems

12. Use a Knowledge Base for Customer Self-Service

We have to make an assumption here because the training, support and advisor effectiveness realized from the utilization of a knowledge management database will only be as good as the content available and how easy it is for agents to consume this information.

A knowledge management database can take a lot of time and effort to develop to a point at which it becomes a powerful tool that agents and employees can trust and use to support customers.

Therefore, if we assume that the quality of content available within the knowledge management tool is of a high standard, it’s updated as and when changes occur and it’s easy for agents to use, anything that allows organizations to reduce time spent by customers and agents, improves quality of service and helps to resolve enquiries first time can lead to multiple organizational benefits.

A thumbnail photo of Darren Gracie

Darren Gracie

One example where knowledge management can be utilized within the contact centre to introduce improvement would be to enable customers to self-serve whilst they wait in queue and qualify their reason for contacting the firm.

If the customer journey is set up and is easy to use, integration with knowledge management can utilize the content available and automatically identify the best resolution/s based on the information entered or spoken and present these options to the agent when the call or messaging enquiry connects, helping the agent to become much more effective.

Artificial intelligence can listen to what the customer is saying or transcribe written text as and when it happens and before the agent has digested the information, the intent is understood and the agent is presented with the instructions on how to resolve the enquiry.

Thanks to Darren Gracie at GCI

13. Schedule Time to Focus on Knowledge Content

Knowledge management is only a part-time initiative and knowledge admins will likely put out fires and handle higher-priority issues throughout the day.

Therefore, knowledge management usually takes a back seat and begins to grow stale over time, affecting advisors’ and customers’ trust in the knowledge base.

Schedule time to focus on content and ensure that you set aside enough time so that you don’t end up copying and pasting older content into the knowledge base.

Manually updating the knowledge base can be a time-consuming task which may lead to advisor attrition as they can’t focus on the more complex elements of their roles.

So, schedule time to focus on content and ensure that you set aside enough time so that you don’t end up copying and pasting older content into the knowledge base, which can cause big problems down the line.

14. Become Proactive With Knowledge Suggestions

When advisors can’t find information, they transfer customers or put them on hold while they try and find the appropriate documents or ask for assistance from colleagues.

Unfortunately, some knowledge systems are still designed as a document repository, which is not helpful when answering customer queries.

A thumbnail photo of Juergen Tolksdorf

Juergen Tolksdorf

With this in mind, we need to manage knowledge so that it’s easy to access, focusing on optimizing the search function so that advisors can find the relevant information with ease.

To go one step further, we can install a sophisticated knowledge base that tracks conversations in real time. This means that knowledge articles will proactively pop up to help remove manual searches on behalf of the advisor and safely reduce their handling times.

Thanks to Juergen Tolksdorf at Genesys

For more from our panel of experts, read our articles:

Published On: 16th Sep 2019 - Last modified: 18th Sep 2019
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