A great customer experience is the foundation of a company’s reputation and is essential to build a positive public image. Whether it’s help with something specific like how to create an electronic signature or more general information about products and services, customers are likely to need a broad range of support. Knowledge is the essential component in getting this right.
But why is knowledge important in customer service? Whatever your customers need, a good customer experience rests on well trained agents, and excellent content. Knowledge is essential, whether customers access help through self-service or via an agent.
But self-service, in particular, needs to offer customers the broadest and most complete range in terms of help center articles and FAQs. This might involve signposting customers to a useful article on the ideal consultant proposal template or covering the most basic questions that arise for new customers.
Let’s look at exactly what we mean by knowledge-centered support and some of the top KCS benefits.
What is knowledge-centered support?
Knowledge-centered support (KCS) at its most basic means gathering, storing and making accessible documentation, in the form of knowledge-based articles. These articles can then be used by both employees and clientele.
It means that customers can get the majority of the information they seek by reading articles containing high quality content. This content covers everything from products and specifications, to technical help such as how to reduce PDF size.
Helping customers in this way has obvious advantages in terms of support staff workload, and time investment. But running your customer support along knowledge-centered support principles can be hugely advantageous in many other ways.
Why is knowledge important in customer service?
The key problem when offering customer support is that the demands on the service can become unmanageable. Agents get overwhelmed by the volume of customer requests, and are stretched in terms of their knowledge on specific or technical topics.
This is problematic, as failure in providing this service, perceived or real, can give a negative impression of the business.
Giving your support team access to quality knowledge-based content, which they can use to help customers, has an impact on reducing support tickets and increasing customer satisfaction. It also saves a great deal of time.
Some examples of KCS
Any business can utilize KCS methodology. But it’s particularly advantageous for firms and organizations whose activities tend to be complex, varied, and information generating.
For example, a health organization will have a clientele who naturally have questions to ask, and may need detailed information. However, this information is likely to be similar for most clients, and won’t need an individual support team member to explain every aspect. Therefore after an initial conversation to cover anything particular to that individual patient or client, it would make sense to signpost articles on treatments, services, and FAQs.
Likewise, IT service agents working for technology companies can direct customers to content that answers the majority of technical questions.
5 key KCS benefits
The benefits of knowledge-centered support are not confined to the impact on customer care itself or staff workload. It’s an approach that can have a positive effect on many aspects of a business; from how a business is promoted, to cost, and getting new staff up to speed. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Speed and time
A hardworking support agent can streamline their day and speed up customer queries, with one click. That’s all it takes to send the customer a help center article with a full explanation or description of the area they are interested in. In this way, an agent doesn’t spend precious time explaining in detail, often multiple times to multiple customers, the same topic.
This gives the agent more time to answer customer requests. Not only is this approach faster, but the customer can also absorb the information at their own pace. This makes better use of both the employee’s and the customer’s time.
2. Efficiency and cost
Knowledge-centered support lends itself particularly to self-service. 81% of customers expect to access information and get answers without having to wait for an agent to be available. Self-service also has the added advantage of being more efficient and considerably lower in cost than paying a dedicated staff to answer queries.
But these efficiency and cost advantages rely heavily on the quality of the documentation and articles available. If these are of the right standard and are comprehensive enough to meet customer needs, self-service powered by KCS can make economic sense and relieve pressure on staffing, especially in smaller businesses.
3. Consistency and reliability
Your customers want answers quickly, at a time that suits them. Having a KCS self-service approach is particularly advantageous for an international customer base. Being able to reliably get answers and access to informative and comprehensive content at any hour of the day or night, means satisfied customers.
Another huge advantage of a KCS approach is that it avoids inconsistencies even when not a self-service model. Support team members will be directing customers to the same content as their colleagues, and this avoids confusion or differing interpretations of information or guidance.
Because of this, customers come away with an impression of a highly coherent, professional, and reliable business, with a clear communication strategy.
Lastly, businesses that invest in a mobile help center offer their valued customers even greater flexibility and convenience. This is a valuable way of impressing and connecting with your consumer base.
Image sourced from financesonline.com
4. Growth and promotion
Delivering information and answers through articles means that consumers spend more time browsing your help center. It’s a great way to promote your goods and services, especially if you optimize your articles with keywords. This results in higher web traffic and potential growth for your enterprise.
Knowledge-based articles can also be used to create social media content, which again, raises the business’s profile and presence and generates leads.
In addition, if harvested and used wisely, the data generated by these interactions can provide valuable insights for marketing sales departments. Knowing what questions customers have, what information they habitually look for and which products and services are most frequently viewed, is useful information. These insights can help steer future changes and developments within the business and create growth.
5. Team building and onboarding
Knowledge-centered support also helps when new support team staff are hired. Instead of team members having to go through extensive training, a light approach to training can be taken. New agents have access to huge pools of knowledge via articles and other content.
This means new staff members can be onboarded far more quickly, and can work with confidence however new to the role and business they might be.
Knowledge-centered support best practices
So, the question is, how do you begin to focus on knowledge-centered support principles and above all a great KCS team?
Well, begin with the fundamentals, the starting point for most customer contact; refresh your help center design. Make sure customers can access your team and the resources in the best, most user-friendly manner possible.
Next, it’s time to set goals. These will of course vary from individual business to business.
What do you want your support team to achieve in the short, medium and long term? Ask yourself, what areas does your knowledge base need to cover first of all? What are the main operations and goods that customers have traditionally had the most queries regarding. Is there any historic data you can mine that might shed light on this?
Prepare and research
Do your homework. Look at the KCS of similar companies; what is covered in their help centers? What are the bulk of their articles about? What are their key features?
Talk to your team. What input do they have about previous experience in fielding customer requests? This information will help you choose the focus of your knowledge base. It will also help team members feel part of the process.
The right tools
Make sure articles are user friendly, grammatically correct, up to date and have good visuals. The higher the quality, the more customers will be satisfied with what they read.
Finally, give your team what they need to make a success of your knowledge-centered support.
Make sure they are well-trained for any eventuality, that they have good guidance notes, and that they’re familiar with the help center articles they will direct customers to. This is essential for your customer support to succeed.
KCS for building a great customer support team
Knowledge-centered support can revolutionize a support team and service, saving them from being bogged down by time consuming one-to-one interactions and lengthy response times. Your team can instead become expert facilitators, guiding customers to high quality documentation. Customers can find answers to their questions, gain expert guidance and even access visuals and step by step instructions.
Looking at all the KCS benefits, whether you choose to go for self-service or a blend of support team members and self-service. It’s hard to see how the old models of customer service can compete on flexibility, efficiency, cost and above all quality.
With right support from Lotus Themes you can put knowledge-centered support at the heart of your business and revolutionize your customer service.