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Knowledge Management Software: What is it, Why is it Important, and What to Look for

Knowledge management is normally defined as the process of creating, using, sharing, and managing the information in an organization. What is knowledge management software? Know the answers.

All about knowledge management software

  1. Knowledge management software: What is it?
  2. Knowledge management software: Why is it important?
  3. Knowledge management software: The benefits
  4. Knowledge management software: The ingredients
  5. Knowledge management software from eGain: The success stories
  6. What to watch for while selecting a knowledge management software

1. Knowledge management software: What is it?

Knowledge management (KM) software makes it easy to capture, curate, deliver, and optimize knowledge with automation and human augmentation. It automates customer self-service and augments customer service agents, helping them solve customer problems and provide advice. With the right technology, process, people, and culture, knowledge management software can deliver transformational benefits for any business.

2. Knowledge management software: Why is it important?

Once upon a time, when customers called for service and support, contact center agents would go through reams of documents to find the answer needle in the content haystack or run over to the next cube to ask a colleague to bail them out. The result? Poor customer experience and high levels of agent stress and burnout.

Fast forward to 2021. Would you believe if we told you that 64% of agents say they do not have modern knowledge management system to guide them to answers and they still pore through documents or chase colleagues or struggle with basic search to get answers? This is the sad truth, according to a major survey of contact center agents conducted by BenchmarkPortal in May 2022. This is like car drivers still looking at paper maps to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B instead of using a GPS. No wonder agent churn is still 30% to 50%, depending on whom you ask, and CX improvements have been minimal, if any, looking at measurements such as the Forrester CX Index.

Here is what experts like Gartner have to say:

Knowledge management is the #1 technology for enhancing the three main customer service perspectives of operational performance, customer experience, and employee experience.

September 2021, Gartner

Common mistake of CX leaders: Knowledge is an underemphasized aspect of experience design and demands a higher prioritization.

3. Knowledge management software: The benefits

Agent experience (AX)

Experiences are like a chain. When contact center agents do not have a good experience, customers won’t have good experience either.

  • Per Gartner, 84% of contact center agents hate their desktop tools.

In an agent-only survey, conducted by BenchmarkPortal on our behalf in May 2022,

  • 63% of agents said their customer queries are getting more complex and, at the same time,
  • 64% of them do not have modern knowledge management software to guide them to answers.
  • 49% struggle with multiple systems to find answers, not a good recipe for great AX and therefore CX.

Business experience (BX)

Businesses have poured technology, people, and process investments into improving CX over decades but their efforts have barely moved the needle. KM software can help move their stalled CX initiatives forward again and it can simultaneously elevate AX as well since agents will find it easier to help customers when they get guided to answers by modern knowledge management. This improves operational metrics such as FCR, AHT, and others. Moreover, eGain offers a unique, risk-free, adoption model for KM, where businesses can try it out with expert guidance for success at no charge for a month before committing to an investment.

Customer experience (CX)

At the end of the day, customers contact service organizations to get answers. If they don’t get them, their experience is stymied no matter how courteous and empathetic the agent might have been and how many communication channels the business might have been supporting. On the flip side, if your customer service system—whether through self-service or through a contact center—can help the customer effectively, efficiently, and consistently, you can truly move the needle on CX.  Metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer loyalty, and repeat business will reach new heights. The one technology that can lift all these metrics at once is KM software.

4. Knowledge management software: The ingredients

Thinking that modern knowledge management software is just one capability such as content management or a chatbot or a search tool is one of the reasons why many KM initiatives have failed to deliver on their promise. If you want to succeed at an enterprise scale, you should take a hub approach to KM software. The knowledge hub includes all essential ingredients needed for modern KM at scale.

The eGain Knowledge Hub is a single harmonized platform for managing knowledge. It includes all the required building blocks for modern KM, including content management, profiled content access, natural language processing, intent inference, personalization, search methods, conversational assistance, process guidance, and knowledge analytics in one platform. Powered by AI and ML, the hub is consistently informed by 360-context from the eGain Conversation Hub™ and 360-insights from the eGain Analytics Hub™.

eGain takes a whole-product approach, offering not only technology but also an end-to-end solution for easy adoption, implementation, support, managed services to operate and optimize the solution, rich API library to build, extend, or integrate, and massively open education services (starting with the Knowledge Academy), a partner ecosystem, and a marketplace for complementary add-ons.

5. Knowledge management software from eGain: The success stories

Blue-chip leaders with high CX maturity have been investing in eGain KM software with stunning results in transforming CX, AX, and BX.

  • Behemoth US government agency deflected up to 70% of incoming calls to virtual assistance, reduced case handling time by 25%, and elevated agent engagement to 92%, beating their industry benchmark of 67%!
  • Leading health insurance company reduced agent training time by 33% and sustained agent performance even when their 2000+ agents had to go remote overnight when COVID hit.
  • Leading telco improved First-Contact Resolution(FCR) by 37% while reducing training time by 50% across 10,000+ agents and 600 retail associates and improving Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 30 points.
  • Global bank improved FCR from 70% to 95%, while reducing agent training time from 10 weeks to 4 weeks while being compliant with regulations.

You can find more here.

6. Knowledge management software: What to watch for

The directive has descended from the CxO suite—thou shalt implement KM and it all has to happen yesterday!

Selecting KM software is complicated and challenging—so many choices, vendors, who say, “We, too,” and everyone claiming to solve world hunger. How do you pick the right solution provider, succeed in your initiative, and avoid holding the bag, when all is said and done?

Here are some traps to watch out for as you set out to achieve your seemingly impossible mission.

1. Features checklist

It is one thing for someone to say they know how to run, but it’s another thing for that person to be Usain Bolt! The same logic applies to product capabilities. Look under the checklist hood and make sure that the vendor offers deep capabilities in KM. Of course, you may want to make an educated compromise if the vendor shows strength in some areas important to you, even if they are less than the best in a particular domain. One approach you could take, if you are the quantitative type, is to score vendors in specific criteria, place weights for the criteria, and go with a weighted score to make your decision.

2. Copycat marketing

Thanks to the web, marketing elements such as messaging, collateral, videos, event themes, and content topics are all in the public domain. Many vendors simply cut and paste from others. No wonder your eyes glaze over when you consume all this information, and you have a difficult time figuring out which is real news, and which is fake news.

As an example, when knowledge management vendors say, “We too,” ask if they have deep capabilities for all the building blocks needed for successful KM that we had covered earlier. Plus do they have a proven knowledge and AI methodology and can they demonstrate at-scale client success?

3. Hidden costs 

As you get into pricing negotiations, check what capabilities are included in the pricing and which require add-on products and services (and $$) from the vendor and its partners. Otherwise, you might get electrocuted by sticker shock! Also, watch out for traps such as avoidance of contractual SLAs and service credits, capping of service credits, and exorbitant storage costs.

4. Disconnected capabilities 

One of the biggest problem areas for CX and AX (agent experience) is the disconnected “dots” of capabilities, data, business rules, and content. Customers are forced to repeat information as they go from channel to channel, from one agent to another, or from one session to another, a huge deterrent to good CX. Agents face the same challenge on the other side where they have to navigate an average of 8 to 9 application windows, per Gartner, when the irate customer is on the line, and try to connect the dots on the fly.

It’s no wonder CX has been stuck in a sorry plateau. Meanwhile, agent churn remains high at 30% to 45% (Source: Quality Assurance and Training Connection), and per Gartner, a whopping 84% of agents think that their desktop tools do not help them resolve customer problems.

As you look for solution alternatives, go with a knowledge hub and a conversation hub that unify, digital-first omnichannel engagement solution that can connect the dots for the customer, the agent, and your business, while leveraging a common knowledge hub for consistent answers. Avoid point products as they create silos, plummeting CX and AX to new lows!

5. Lack of experience

While technology clearly matters, one of the other requirements for KM success is best practices. How many years of experience does the vendor have in KM? What are their customer success stories? Do they offer proven expertise and transformation services to fill the expertise gap you have in your organization? The last thing you want is having a vendor learn at your expense. Don’t roll the dice with KM novices!

6. Inability to scale

Requirements for enterprise scale and enterprise-class feature requirements are much more exacting than those for a small business deployment. Has the vendor delivered deployments at scale? What is the size of their average deployment and their biggest one?

7. Not delivering ROI

Ask the vendor how fast their solution can deliver ROI. Big-iron, toolkit vendors require you to invest a lot of time and money into building your KM application from scratch. Beware of vendors, who promise to solve world hunger in 5 years, while putting your wallet on a radical weight-loss plan!

Take AI to illustrate the point. Gartner says that it takes an average of 4 years for enterprises to get their AI solutions up and running, let alone get ROI from them! Questions to ask: What is the vendor’s approach to KM value creation? Do they have a quick value implementation methodology? What is the typical time to value? What ROI can they sign up for? Can they provide client success stories that demonstrate quick ROI?

Asking these questions will help you get past the hype and make the right vendor selection for your digital experience initiative.