Knowledge management

KM + Training = Super-Workforce

The Challenge

Knowledge is power but in reality, enterprises are knowledge-challenged with employees spending 20% or more of their time, looking for it to do their day-to-day jobs. Nowhere is the knowledge challenge more acute than in the customer contact center.

  • Customers say that the lack of agent knowledgeability is the #1 impediment to getting good service (Source: Forrester survey).
  • Contact center agents point to the same knowledge challenge with their tools being the biggest barrier to delivering good service (Source: eGain survey).

Training can help but it is not cheap, with US companies spending $92.3B in 2021 (Source: Training Magazine). Here is why the agent knowledge problem has become more daunting.

  • Traditional training programs have been disrupted by the pandemic and hybrid work models, with 75% of agents still working remote. These agents have no next cube to walk over to for answers.
  • Humans retain only 25% of new information they learn just after two days, according to the forgetting curve theory of Hermann Ebbinghaus. In fact, research by the University of Waterloo found that it is a mere 2-3% after 30 days!
  • Today’s contact center agents are millennials and Gen Z with short attention spans—12 and 8 seconds respectively (Source: Sparks and Honey). They would rather just learn on the job.
  • Agent attrition continues to be very high. This compounds the training challenge since L&D organizations have to start from Ground Zero with a constantly recurring stream of new agents.
  • It is hard to teach situational knowhow, i.e., understand and solve a customer problem or provide them advice, based on a specific situation. This knowhow tends to be more tacit, requiring a way to guide agents step by step on what to say and do in the course of such customer interactions. Living “guided lives,” where they use GPS devices for driving or robot advisors for financial management, today’s agents are looking for that kind of guidance in their day-to-day work.

The Solution

The answer to addressing this formidable new training challenge is a modern knowledge management (KM) system deployed as a hub that unifies and orchestrates the following building blocks:

  • Content management
  • Personalization
  • Intent inference, powered by ML
  • Search methods for findability
  • AI reasoning for conversational and process guidance
  • Knowledge analytics for optimization

The knowledge hub eliminates silos, while serving as a trusted source of right answers and expertise, delivering them at the point of work, customer interactions, in this case. Leading organizations are already leveraging the hub, transforming the experiences of customers and employees such as:

  • Leading telco improved First-Contact Resolution (FCR) by 37%, while reducing training time by 50% across 10,000+ agents and 600 retail stores.
  • Health insurance company reduced agent training time by 33% and sustained agent performance even when 2000 of them had to go remote overnight when Covid hit.

With the knowledge hub complementing training, your contact center agents will become super-agents and all your employees will become super-employees!

Originally published in Association of Talent and Development TD magazine January 2023

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