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Knowledge Management Best Practices

Many customer engagement digital transformation projects have failed because customer service organizations have focused on installing the pipes (digital channels) but not what flows through them (knowledge – answers, advice, content).

In a recent report, Gartner iterates the importance of knowledge in improving the overall customer experience. According to the report, there are 7 best practices to improve knowledge management in the enterprise that will ultimately improve CX.

Know the 7 knowledge management best practices from Gartner, and the way businesses can achieve them, from eGain.

Best practice #1: Implement Outside-In Design Thinking

Recommendation: Design thinking doesn’t focus on solving a problem — it focuses on achieving a goal. It requires an outside-in approach where user experiences are designed by empathizing with the user’s situation. This approach improves user experience and therefore, customer experience.

How to execute the best practice

Businesses need to consumer innovation quickly. They need to be agile in implementation – Focus on adoption, make quick changes based on feedback, and ensure advocacy. The way to do it is through free pilots done in the production environment with real use cases and results from the real implementation. Something like eGain Innovation in 30 Days for knowledge.

  • A free no-commitment 4-week pilot
  • Identify high value/high impact use cases
  • Design the solution
  • Implement the use
  • Put it into production
  • Check the output, then commit

Best practice #2: Consolidating Customer-Facing and Agent-Facing Knowledge Bases

Recommendation: Organizations deploy multiple knowledge bases and create islands of knowledge. According to Gartner, enterprises that undertake enterprise-wide knowledge consolidation projects can lower knowledge management application maintenance costs by 15% to 40%. It will improve the speed of knowledge being authored and released to multiple channels, shorten the time of the training of machine learning or the natural language processing engine, and increase the accuracy rate of the content. For organizations that may find it difficult to consolidate all knowledge to a single knowledge management system, Gartner recommends system federation—establish a single, “logical” content hub where all relevant content is available over the appropriate API(s) among a rationalized number of systems.

How to execute the best practice

We have been advocating a knowledge hub approach for a long time, with a tiered approach to knowledge management. A Knowledge Hub allows organizations to plug in various knowledge sources and the system federates content from all across to deliver contextual and relevant knowledge across channels and touchpoints.

Depending on the content stored in various Knowledge Bases, the Knowledge Hub can be employed to operationalize a consolidation strategy that works best for that organization.

  • Migrate immediately what is essential content, migrate over time the important but not very frequently used content, and have a federation strategy for content that is required infrequently.

Best practice #3: Intelligent Search

Recommendation: Enhance search by leveraging semantic analytics and natural language processing capabilities.

Digital commerce, web self-service, content presentation sites, and mobile apps depend on the drill-down capability of search to make information swiftly retrievable from vast repositories. Gartner recommends that application leaders develop maps of what must be searched, and the search goals of customers and employees, as part of the preparation phase of the search projects.

How to execute the best practice

Search should be able to take the user down to the right answer.

  • eGain Search uses a set of powerful technologies to understand the user’s intent – Personalization, Intent inference, search learning, NLU, metadata, indexes – and return accurate search
  • Each layer of technology can be tuned to adapt to specific needs of the customer and data

Best practice #4: Guided Experience

Recommendation: In industries, such as media and communications, where troubleshooting can be difficult to tackle, and banking, where process flows such as “account creation” can be quite complex, a guided approach can greatly simplify things, for both employees and customers.

How to execute the best practice

eGain’s Inference AI Reasoning engine is a pioneer in guidance. The AI reasoning capability should be configurable to support different types of customer experiences and handle most scenarios in an enterprise. The guidance engine takes users via a dialog through a set of steps or to diagnose a problem, or to a decision, and in ensuring compliance.

Best practice #5: Virtual Customer Assistants or Conversational AI

Recommendation: Businesses should consider use of a conversational AI such as VCA or chatbot to provide customers with “shortcuts” to the right information. This avoids the need to navigate complex websites or mobile apps, makes use of the conversational nature of a messaging channel, and reduces the need to contact customer service over live and expensive channels.

Good virtual assistants (or virtual customer assistants, as Gartner calls them) rely on knowledge repositories and natural language processing (NLP) technologies.

How to execute the best practice

The VCAs need to be able to answer broad questions as well as go deep. And they need to be connected with other channels for a unified, connected customer experience. Our virtual customer assistants are

  • Not just conversational interfaces
  • Capable of solving real problems
  • Connected with other channels including live agents, enabling handoffs from bot to agents and back
  • Contextual
  • Also available as Virtual Agent Assistants, that is, for customer service agents in contact centers

Best practice #6: Content Contextualization

Recommendation: Provide targeted, relevant content across all channels of interaction. Personalization is now a strategic imperative. Personalized, relevant, and contextual information can save lots of time for customers. Customers also expect organizations to know them and communications to be tailored to their specific context.

How to execute the best practice

Once your content is consolidated (look at best practice #2), all knowledge is now sitting in a central Knowledge Hub. This single-sourced knowledge now has to be used in context, across devices, touchpoints, locations, as needed. Contextualized content can be presented based on user profile and current need and delivered to personalized portals.

Best practice #7: SEO

Recommendation: Select knowledge solutions, customer and partner community solutions with search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities. In addition, an active community environment will help. Active communities generate a large depth and breadth of variety and scale of knowledge.

How to execute the best practice

A living, breathing knowledge hub for your various audiences also needs to be discoverable on the Web, and to Google. This is done through friendly URLs, relevant content, and all the SEO best practices that Google cares for.

Best practices spell success

Proven best practices combined with a mature technology can get incredible improvements in CX and employee experience for the business. Look at these:

  • A leading telco improved FCR by 37% and NPS by 30 points, while speeding up agent time-to-competency by 50% across 10,000 agents and even 600 retail stores.
  • A large HCM provider and BPO company saw an immediate 70% adoption of its eGain knowledge system when it had targeted to reach 40% adoption.
  • Leading North American telco reduced average handle time (AHT) by 17% and incoming calls by 19% with omnichannel knowledge.
  • Payroll and human capital management software provider’s employees saw improvements all around — 60% in confidence in answer, 35% in finding the right answer, 62% in consistency of answers, and 67% in time to answer with eGain Knowledge.