Dialing into Knowledge

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The telecom industry isn’t often known for its customer service, but The Carphone Warehouse (TCW), a European mobile-phone retailer, recently earned a Kana Summit Award in that category.

TCW, which has three contact centers serving 1,700 retail locations across nine countries, administers customer service according to five tenets, one of which is “The reputation of the whole company is in the hands of each individual.”

With that in mind, says Anne Wood, TCW’s head of knowledge management, the key is empowering agents with consistent and organized knowledge. TCW began using Kana for email management two years ago and then added Kana IQ for knowledge management. The solutions have helped improve service, but Wood says the success goes beyond tools. “You have to put a lot of effort into making them work,” she says. “And they don’t work if you don’t put the customer at the heart of it.”

Before deploying Kana IQ, TCW relied on an often-unstable home-grown system, which had become more of a dumping ground for resources than a cohesive outlet for customer support. In making the switch, Wood says she decided to completely rewrite the content, with the goal of establishing a consistent voice. It was an arduous task, she says, but necessary to enhance productivity and efficiency. She may have been right: Within a few weeks of cleaning up the knowledge base, agent productivity jumped by 39 percent.

TCW also overhauled its methodology, which Wood says has helped the three contact centers run more efficiently. The rate for first-time fixes, for example, jumped to 89 percent, partly due to the clean, cohesive, and correct knowledge now available to agents.

Even better? A self-help channel built on Kana technology will soon make much of that knowledge available for customers, too.

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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