There are a lot of Knowledge Management systems on the market.  Why should you consider a specialist Customer Service Knowledge Management system?  The short answer is because built for purpose Customer Service Knowledge Management (CSKM) systems are configured so your staff can find answers to any customer enquiry – fast.

While standard Document Management systems’ search function is generally slow and clunky and then they simply direct the user to a document – if it is the right document they then need to scroll and read through until they find the right answer to the customer’s questions.  All this while the customer is waiting.

With a Customer Service Knowledge Management system, your staff no longer need to put customers on hold while they search through a product, policy or process document because a CSKM systems’ fast search will take them directly to the answer to the question – there should not be any scrolling and little reading necessary.  It’s all about how it is configured and Purpose built CSKM systems have all their special features targeted at getting “the perfect answer – quickly”.

Standard Knowledge Management (KM) systems that simply store and share organisational knowledge in the form of documents and files are fine for non-customer service environments. They are fine for Lawyers, for example, who need to review an entire case or fully understand legislation. In fact, most organisations who just want one central place to store their files or policy documents etc will find a document management system adequate because they do not need “fast answers”.

IT Departments often want a different knowledge system because they need to “take a ticket” and then collaborate to achieve the right answer. IT professionals are also used to researching to get the answer to their problems.  Neither collaboration or research are acceptable for customer service areas – they need “fast answers”.

Taking time to find an answer to a customer’s question, will not only affect customer satisfaction it also effects company costs. Every second an agent spends looking for an answer in a document is costing the organisation more money.  Imagine the additional costs if the customer is put on hold or is forced to call back because they didn’t get the right answer the first time.  A good CSKM system should reduce Average Call Handling times by at least 15% and pay for itself three times over – and that isn’t even considering the cost savings from the increased speed to competency, reduced induction training, reduction in handoffs and improved compliance.

In addition to these internal cost savings and improvements in customer satisfaction and retention, purpose-built Customer Service Knowledge Management systems also deliver the answers directly to the customer via the website, chat, email and CRM in “customer friendly answers” – not long commercially written PDFs.  The cost and customer service benefits of a purpose-built system are magnified once a company considers these benefits.

It has been traditionally difficult for customer service professionals to explain the difference between Knowledge Management and Customer Service Knowledge Management and as a result, they have had to settle for a system which suits the rest of the organisation but fails to deliver on the most important need of their area “Fast Answers”. Customer Service professionals need to better engage with Management and Heads of IT so they can effectively explain the opportunity cost of a one size fits all approach to Knowledge Management.

My tip is concentrate on “fast answers” to significantly increase Customer Satisfaction, reduce costs, increase compliance and increase engagement.