Imagine a caller saying to an agent: “Do you work for the company or are you one of those outsourced customer service people?” Then the caller adds, “Because employees give the right answers but, the other ones don’t”. The use of an inflexible knowledge management system (KMS) is one of the biggest reasons for this misconception.
Knowledge is power, but only when you have access to it
Some systems fail to provide role based searches. So, a search for, “Warranty repairs” may retrieve information for tier one agents, but might also include tier two data, supervisor exceptions, and retail outlet return policies. Oftentimes, the client company may not want to share all of this data with a BPO, or cannot limit it to their BPO partner’s tier one needs, in which cases the client company will refuse access to any of it.
This forces outsourced agents to re-direct calls back to the client (which, frankly, completely defeats the purpose of outsourcing) or use crude “cut and paste” tip sheets created by their account manager to answer tier one questions.
Thankfully, there is a solution to this – set up client companies with a knowledge management system that enables role-based searches so that tier one agents can get the answers they need to help their customer.
When agents are only accessing the information that applies directly to their role, handle time improves and customer satisfaction increases because customers get the right answers, faster.
“Knowledge management systems can help unite offshore and onshore teams,” said Brad Sellors, Managing Director at InfiniteKM, a provider of KMSs. “Updates can be directed to specific groups, meaning that you can target specific queues or teams. The best systems can also ensure consistency, as they give both the onshore and offshore agents access to the same role-based searches instead of different knowledge bases.”
These benefits alone can make offshore teams as effective as onshore teams, which improves customer satisfaction scores and Net Promotor Score (NPS) results.
Consistency and compliance are the key
How can you be sure that onshore and offshore agents giving the same information to customers? Can you verify that in real-time? A good knowledge management system gives each area its own administration tools, so a BPO provider can verify if agents are accessing the right knowledge articles, just like their onshore counterparts.
In addition, a knowledge management system gives agents access to a daily knowledge home page or dashboard, which equips them with answers to the most urgent issues of the day, helping them feel properly prepared for their shift and ensuring consistency.
With the right knowledge management system in place, agents will actively review this homepage or dashboard because it makes their job easier, which also helps with employee engagement and helps them feel properly prepared and supported.
Engaged employees perform better
Another benefit of a great knowledge management system is increased employee engagement, while one of the biggest drawbacks for most of them is when they are more of a “one-way street”.
Typically, the marketing department pushes answers to front line agents via the knowledge database. However, agents cannot easily provide input on the quality of the answer or suggest additional questions based on customer feedback. A great knowledge management system has built in tools, enabling agents to provide feedback on specific articles and recommend new ones. Agents can also reach out to their supervisor for real time help via the system.
In addition, a knowledge management system should have an internal ticketing process for articles that lets agents provide suggestions on content, or highlight typos, for example. As a result, agents feel heard and empowered, which increases morale and employee engagement. It also helps to catch any potential problems early, since your front line often hears issues sooner than any other department.
Ultimately, I recommend that onshore and offshore contact centers and their clients look into the opportunities to implement a great knowledge management system, as the benefits are obvious. The right product can give companies the power to optimize staffing through role-based answers, increase compliance and consistency, and also improve employee engagement, so if you don’t have a good KMS in place already, it’s time to start thinking about it.