Knowledge Management 101: The Art of Keeping Consistent

Part of the challenge of customer service and support, particularly over multiple channels, is making sure all the information across channels and within the knowledge base is consistent.

Nothing makes customers blow their stacks faster than hearing two different answers to the same question. It gets worse if an agent then replies, “Well, that was the old way and that last CSR was wrong.”

Aside from needing to do a little more coaching on what to say (and not say) to customers, this highlights an area that can cause customers to think you as a company don’t know what you’re doing. I expect you would feel the same way if (and when) it has happened to you.

Inconsistancy can come from the use of multiple knowledgebases, each of which was created when a new channel was opened, a new product was launched, or a new branch was opened. At the time it seems like a good idea but in the long run you wind up with all these silos that really need to have the same information but updating everything so it matches has become an impossible job.

A best practice is to centralize the knowledge base and integrate every channel into it. Really it makes much more sense because you will have the same question come in on every channel and every one needs the same answer anyway.

And, granted, while a new product launch can make complaint volume spike, that doesn’t mean it needs its own set of solutions separate from the others. Eventually all the bugs will get worked out and everything will get easier except keeping up with all the information.

Another best practice is to emphasize using the knowledge base but not to print articles out to keep at a desk. After awhile, that piece of information may change, but if CSRs don’t realize it, then the old answer sitting at the desk is the one that gets used. And the CSRs won’t realize because, hey, they aren’t looking at the knowledge base.

The days of not having the computing or programming power to do this consolidation/ centralization are long over. A must have for your new customer support solution is a searchable knowledge base and the will to use it.

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