It is important to recognize that a knowledge base can help achieve multiple corporate goals.
Posted Feb 16, 2004
Part one of this article, "Getting the Most out of a Knowledge Base," discusses how companies can use a knowledge base as a valuable tool for more than one user group--from help desk and service/support representatives to customers--thereby increasing its value and delivering a greater return on investment. It is just as important is to recognize that a knowledge base can help achieve multiple corporate goals. Here, I'd like to address a few of the objectives a knowledge base can help meet.
A knowledge base deployed as a self-service solution provides a cost-effective way to retain and disseminate information about your customers, products, and services. In doing so you're managing customers more effectively and giving them the tools they need to manage their relationship with you. By creating a self-service solution, customers can address routine queries on their own, which will free up customer support representatives to address more complex issues.
The relative change in the volume of inbound contacts to a contact center reduces overall operating costs in terms of technology and its TCO, headcount, recruiting, and training. The average cost per inbound telephone call is $33, the average cost per inbound email is $10, and the average cost per average online-chat session is $8, according to a Forrester Research report. We find that on average, a knowledge base deflects 30 percent of inbound contacts, which can save an organization a substantial amount of money.
Additionally, as customers become acquainted with the benefits of the knowledge base deployed as a self-service solution, usage will increase and customers will contact the company directly less and less. Finally, the costs of recruiting and maintaining a large customer support organization run high, and by decreasing the number of customer support representatives necessary to support a growing customer base, recruiting and training becomes less of a burden.
By deploying a knowledge base the efficiency of a company's support staff at responding to inquiries should increase, improving satisfaction and allowing the support group to scale more efficiently as the customer base grows. Scaling to meet growth is a huge challenge, and to meet customer expectations of excellent support, self-service solutions must first empower them to help themselves, and second, enable trained support reps to use the same tools to find answers to customer's questions more quickly. This increase in efficiency of the in-house support team improves response times, therefore lowering costs and pleasing customers.
With a knowledge base, customers won't be forced to make lengthy phone calls or receive delayed or inaccurate information. They can find answers to their questions on their time schedule, not on yours. Quick, flexible problem resolution is a critical success factor in long-term customer satisfaction. Given that most customers typically ask the same questions, a well-documented knowledge base can immediately satisfy many of the answers customers are looking for.
Companies with a multinational customer base have customers who might find it difficult to access customer support hotlines during standard business hours. Offering an always-accessible knowledge base enables them to find answers at their convenience. Many customers, no matter their location, also encounter slow response times from customer support representatives, either over the phone, through online chat, or by email. The knowledge base works well as a tool to enable your support reps to improve response times and get customers answers to their questions more quickly. The overall effect of a knowledge base can help to improve the customer relationship and increase the customer retention.
A knowledge base solution can be used internally as a valuable resource. Colleagues can leverage a knowledge base to prevent duplication of work, promote best practices, and ensure that there's no single point of knowledge loss. In addition, by tracking and documenting employee/customer interaction, a knowledge base serves as a legacy of your company's relationship with your customers, preventing data loss when employees switch jobs or leave the company. With time and use, the value of the knowledge increases.
By monitoring the questions your customers ask and tracking requested information, companies can turn customer service into a strategic asset. This means more than just a simple report on how many customers have asked a question, or how many times people come to your Web site. Companies can gain valuable insight into their customer base, creating opportunities for product/service improvement and new market development.
Never underestimate the power of knowledge. In many cases deploying knowledge base can help you achieve multiple goals and will assuredly increase in value as it's used more and more by internal and external users looking for information and answers.
About the Author
Alex Kazerani, CEO of KnowledgeBase Solutions, knows that a knowledge base is the key to unlocking the power of your corporate knowledge.
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