The Growing Demand for Self-Service Is Altering the Future of Knowledge Management

iStock-580115322_girl smiling at laptop_resized.pngIn the customer service environment, knowledge management (KM) is the systematic management of an organization's information assets, including the efficient handling and distribution of information and data resources residing within, and often outside, an enterprise.


The purpose of these efforts is to create and augment value to the customer and meet the tactical and strategic corporate goals to improve overall customer service. In the past, good KM may have been as simple as offering well-trained telephone agents the ability to tap into databases or KM systems to assist customers.

However, in the digital, multichannel customer engagement world of today, the evolving and more astute customer base has higher expectations, as well as a strong desire to do things themselves via self-service applications. Therefore, the mission of an enterprise KM system today is less about what an enterprise can do for its customers, and more about what the business can enable them to do for themselves.

Furthermore, among the Millennials and younger generations, the image of self-service has improved a great deal and reached a level of acceptability and even preference never before experienced in the marketplace.

Ovum research confirms that company-offered self-service channel evaluation is becoming a business differentiator today, which is affecting the buying and business selection processes of a growing number of customers. Our study1 found that the most popular self-service options expected by today’s customers seeking a company with which to do business are frequently asked questions (FAQs), customer forums, and video tutorials which are sought by 75%, 52% and 47% of surveyed customers, respectively. Those leaders are followed by social media (25%) and blog posts (20%). We believe that these self-service applications—which allow customers to tap into knowledge on their own—will not only help customers in accessing product and service knowledge, but also support live agents in assisting customers more effectively.

It should also be noted that in addition to peer-to-peer sharing and collaboration, customer forums or “communities,” as they are sometimes called, provide an effective way for customer engagement management to monitor trending customer issues and sentiments. However, communities should not be set up and then forgotten. Constant monitoring often enables management to mitigate a common KM problem—“You don’t know what you don’t know.” It is often surprising how big issues can be turned into smaller issues, or even totally eliminated, by tracking communities on the corporate website.

Effective and well-designed KM systems, long known to be a major pillar of effective customer service, will continue to be an important instrument in customer engagement long into the future. KM is continuing to be enhanced and raised to new levels of prominence as it increasingly becomes supported by a digital, self-service, multichannel approach to reactive and proactive customer care via new and emerging technologies and applications. As customer engagement technology advances with the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and “bots” in the contact center and across the enterprise, a strong KM system will be an essential ingredient in the formula leading to the optimization of successful customer engagement.

 

1Ovum, The Advancement of Self-Service Solutions in Customer Engagement, April 2017

 

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