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Nov 09, 2018

5 Reasons Integrated Agent Knowledge is Essential for Customer Case Management

happy agent managing customer support cases with integrated knowledge management

For years, the desire to cut costs drove many companies to want to decrease their interactions with customers – but now, brands recognize that more engagement is a good thing. And new channels allow consumers and brands to interact in different ways than ever before.

But with more and more engagement, efficiency and accuracy matter more than ever. Your front-line agents are your brand ambassadors, and you need to be able to rely on them to provide quick, consistent, correct resolutions to your customers.

The benefits go far beyond handling contacts more efficiently – Aberdeen research found that companies that optimize the agent desktop improve customer retention by 44% and increase positive word-of-mouth from their customers by 70%.

One of the most powerful ways to optimize your agent desktop experience is to embed valuable knowledge tools directly into their workflow, and here are five reasons why:

1. Give agents quick access to answers

Knowledge management and knowledge transfer are often pain points within contact centers. Agents deal with a variety of customer questions and issues on a daily basis, and there's no worse feeling than not knowing the answer. Without integrated knowledge, agents must either memorize answers to any question they receive, go look it up in a different system (or physical binder), or escalate to a manager. All of these lead to longer resolution times and customer frustration.

But by improving the delivery of contextual knowledge, you can reduce agents' response time by 20% to 80%. Not only does this increase their own confidence, competence, and satisfaction, it's a better experience for your customers. In fact, Aberdeen research found that 100% of best-in-class companies make relevant knowledgebase articles available via the agent desktop. Clearly, integrated agent knowledge is a necessary element in any contact center optimization initiative.

Delivering contextual knowledge speeds up agent response time by up to 80%.

2. Shorten training and build agent confidence

When new agents join your team, how do they get up to speed on everything they need to know? How long do you spend on training? And once they're on the floor, how long until they truly reach productivity?

The traditional approach to training can take several weeks, even months, to complete. But if your agent desktop offers contextual guidance and integrated knowledge articles, this time frame can be significantly shortened. Instead of spending weeks training agents on the vast volumes of information they need to know about products, policies, and resolution processes, train them to use the tools within their case management system instead. We've seen that contextual agent guidance results in a 50% reduction in agent training time and helps new staff reach productivity in less than two weeks.

3. Streamline agent workflow

Smart agent desktop solutions are able to read incoming emails or chats from customers and make an educated guess as to the product and reason code. From there, the agent can confirm or change those codes – and the system can auto-query the knowledgebase using the same information and pop up answers right in the case workflow. Alternatively, the agent can begin with a query and have the correct product and reason codes auto-populate into the case from there.

These AI- and machine learning-driven process enhancements may seem simple, but can shave valuable time off agents' AHT. And by allowing them to get to the correct answer more quickly, you increase first contact resolution and improve CX.

Combining machine learning and integrated knowledge can reduce average handle time and improve first contact resolution.

4. Guide agents' conversations

Not only can integrated knowledge allow agents to seamlessly find answers as they handle cases, organizations can use it to prompt agents to ask customers additional questions or seek out more information. Although we don't recommend scripting agents, it is helpful to offer suggestions as to what agents should do next.

An additional way to provide agent guidance is by embedding contextual customer information, such as address and interaction history, as well as recommended next best actions, along the sidebar of the case screen. Suggesting actions to agents enables them to keep the conversation on track without sounding scripted.

5. Keep messaging consistent

Despite all your best efforts, mistakes are bound to happen – but that doesn't mean you can't take steps to improve the accuracy and consistency of agent responses. Forty-four percent of customers have received an incorrect answer from a contact center agent, but integrated knowledge and agent guidance can drive that number down by ensuring all agents have access to the most up-to-date information.

The beauty of a holistic approach to knowledge management is that the same knowledgebase that's embedded in the agent desktop can be used within customer self-service interfaces and any internal-facing systems for store associates or other employees. This ensures that, no matter what channel the customer chooses to interact in, and no matter who they end up speaking with (be it a self-service chatbot or a human member of your staff), the response they receive will be consistent and accurate.

As brands everywhere seek to increase their customer engagement, powering efficient, consistent agent interactions has never been more valuable. Is your current contact center technology struggling to keep up? If so, connect with the customer engagement experts at Astute to build a solution that fits your objectives.

 

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