Knowledge management is an organizational approach that helps businesses collect, organize, share and use information to their advantage. For customer support, this data relates directly to customers and methods used to solve the issues they encounter. Information such as customer profiles, frequently used channels and effective troubleshooting techniques should be shared among agents and with other departments to provide quality service. The best way to employ knowledge management within a business is by using collaborative customer support software that gives each representative access to the same information. Then, a business can use this data for the benefit of its customers and its bottom line. Here are six ways knowledge management improves customer support and helps a business thrive:

Reduces repetition

Imagine a support team where each rep builds their own profile of a repeat customer every time they submit a ticket. In such a scenario, agents have to start from the beginning, collecting contact information, identify the product or service the customer purchased, any upgrades or add-ons and more. This requires the customer to repeat information they’ve already provided during the sales process and again during any other support queries they’ve had in the past.

With a knowledge management approach, such information is entered once and stored in a central database each rep has access to. This eliminates repetition for both customers and agents. Customers don’t have to spend time providing a business with the same information they’ve already given, and agents don’t have to type this data into a second, redundant record. They simply pull up the customer’s profile and amend the entry with any updated information, including the issue the agent is currently working on.

Increases first-contact resolution rates

Proper knowledge management provides agents with access to all the information they need to solve any customer support issue. This makes support reps more likely to provide solutions on the first attempt. They’re able to bypass excessive troubleshooting steps by looking at similar cases handled in the past. In addition, they can skip ineffective problem-solving techniques and head directly to one that works on the first try.

Sharing information also reduces the need to transfer customers to more experienced or knowledgeable agents, and means customers are rarely given incorrect or misleading advice. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, 70 percent of Americans are highly annoyed when they’re transferred to a customer support rep who either can’t help them or provides a wrong answer. Effective use of knowledge management eliminates both of these frustrations.

Improves self-support options

Accumulating information allows businesses to identify common questions among their customers. Support teams can use these frequent queries to create better self-service support options, designing clearer answers and making self-service support easier to navigate. They should start by establishing a list of frequently asked questions, then build a customer-facing hub of knowledge with tutorials and articles that are easy to find and comprehend.

Allows omnichannel visibility

Web-based customer support software lets businesses collect information from various channels into one central database. Companies can use social media comments, blog posts and forum reviews to get a better understanding of the concerns their customers have. This expands the knowledge-gathering process beyond what a support desk receives directly from customers, bringing information from resources support agents generally don’t encounter. They can then analyze which channels are most effective at relaying information back to their customers based on priority. For instance, customers should be made aware of a critical bug patch through direct email and not social media, where the message may not be seen in a timely manner.

Helps customer support teams be more proactive

The more a business understands its current tickets and customers, the better it can predict what questions will arise in the future from similar cases. This allows a support team to take a more proactive approach, anticipating incoming queries and communicating with customers on best practices and more before any issues arise. By communicating with customers before they actively seek support, a business positions itself as an ally and increases customer engagement.

Promotes collaboration

Collecting information goes beyond customer support. Knowledge management tells a support team, and by extension the rest of the business, the most common uses of its product or service. For instance, businesses selling software as a service can identify recurring issues with a particular upgrade or new technology. This tells developers what to improve in release updates. In a similar manner, knowing how customers use a particular product helps sales and marketing understand what benefits to promote. It also tells engineers and developers what to prioritize when designing future software. Without company-wide knowledge management in place, these benefits would not be realized.

Knowledge management is integral to the success of any customer support team. Maintaining a robust, accessible knowledge base of information not only helps agents address incoming tickets, but it also provides direction to businesses on how they should approach their customers and self-service support options.

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