The work of call center agents is quite challenging. They not only have to constantly deal with customer complaints, but also maintain equanimity in every situation. Stress can build-up to dangerous levels due to a constant influx of calls and emails, which takes a toll on the productivity of operators, adversely impacting their customer interaction.
Further, there are times when responding to clients takes longer than expected as agents aren’t able to find answers quickly. They have to go through a number of files to resolve customer queries, which again leaves both the agents and customers dissatisfied and frustrated.
This is a common problem many call centers face. Here it’s essential to understand the cause of this problem. It’s mainly because of unorganized business knowledge that is scattered across folders.
What Is the Solution?
Embracing knowledge management is key to addressing this issue. You need to create an online knowledge base that acts as a central repository of information where your agents can look up for answers. You can also provide its access to your clients and empower them with self-help, so that they can resolve all trivial issues at their end, without the need to contact your operators.
Despite having several ways to interact with customers (chatbots, email, social media, etc.), giving them an option to reach out to representatives over the phone still has benefits that are difficult to replicate.
Phone calls offer avenues for customers to express themselves freely and clearly communicate the issues they’re having. This gives them assurance that they’re understood and that the solutions recommended are specific to their circumstance. Hearing a human voice in the other line also helps agents to communicate with empathy.
The most important thing is to have the right balance. Instead of only focussing on building a large call center, you can use a self-service knowledge base to answer common questions of your customers. This empowers them to find a solution on their own, while drastically reducing the workload of your agents and helping them solve problems faster. Conversely, agents can use the knowledge base to offer accurate and faster responses to customers as well.
Speaking of problems, let’s look at exactly how a knowledge base helps call center agents solve customer questions faster:
#1 Addresses Issues at the Initial Stage
A knowledge base prevents a problem from becoming a bigger problem. What this essentially means is that customers can search through the knowledge base to find answers to their questions instantly. This stops questions from converting into bigger problems, by solving them then and there. This also means that customers don’t have to reach out to a support executive for every other question when they have a self-service knowledge base at their disposal.
In fact, a well-written knowledge base or FAQ answers common questions proactively. You can create a bank of common questions, around your product, billing cycle, services, etc., and display them on your FAQ homepage. Offering answers to questions customers might typically ask is a win-win both for your clients and support staff. Since customers will be able to resolve queries on their own, it will keep them satisfied and at the same time, keep the load of tickets off the shoulders of your support staff.
#2 Helps You Identify the Problem Accurately
Identifying the problem correctly is the first step in resolving a customer query. While this may be an intuitive process for trained and experienced call center professionals with the call center software, it’s not so straightforward for new employees. That’s when a knowledge base simplifies the process. Agents can understand customer queries better by doing a quick search in the knowledge base using the key terms that customers used to describe their problems.
A knowledge base automatically suggests various help articles on a topic, and all agents have to do is figure out the correct article. Agents have to use good judgment in choosing the correct article, but just the fact that they have the relevant information handy greatly reduces the chances of giving incorrect responses.
#3 Reduces Call Hold Time
Agents putting customers on hold every time to confirm a simple request or offer some detailed information is what annoys most customers. In this regard, a knowledge base helps operators to not only offer accurate responses but also reduce the call hold time – a common cause of concern for most call center managers.
When agents have a full-fledged knowledge base, they do not have to consult a supervisor for procedural information or get inputs from other colleagues. Instead, they can simply search the knowledge base and get instant answers. They do not have to put customers on hold for long because they can access information right away, at the click of a mouse, using the firm’s knowledge base.
#4 Enables You to Standardize Responses to Avoid Legal Hassles
One of the major areas of concerns, especially for a call center is that it becomes incredibly difficult to track the quality of an agent’s responses. With more than a thousand calls happening daily, ensuring that every agent offers proper responses becomes a daunting task. In this regard, a call center knowledge base can be an extremely useful tool that helps agents to standardize their responses and meet compliance requirements.
You can do this by creating canned responses and storing them in your knowledge base that can be accessed by authorized agents, as they interact with customers. While this ensures that agents, unintentionally, do not give out misleading information to customers, it also helps in saving operators’ time in thinking about a suitable response.
#5 Offers Concrete Solutions to Customers
The biggest disappointment for customers is when they get information, it would be practically useless or irrelevant. This results in clients repeatedly calling support staff simply to tell their stories, without any hope of a quick resolution. It is a tedious task that only ends up in customers discontinuing a company’s product or service.
On the other hand, updating the existing knowledge base content is a simple and quick process. It offers agents the latest information about a product or service. With the help of such a tool, support agents can ensure that they provide accurate responses. In fact, they can share links to full-length articles with customers, so that they can refer to the content anytime they want to.
In such a case, the fault does not always lie with support agents. At times even experienced agents might not have the latest information about a product such as a feature update or a new design change. Therefore, they end up giving misleading answers to customers.
#6 Helps You Create New Help Articles
A knowledge base can be used by support agents not just for finding information, but also as a tool to take down notes regarding customer queries. It can help agents record the questions of customers during a live call. These notes can be directly recorded as a draft article and pushed to technical authors so that it can be further worked upon and published as a full-length help article.
It can be updated continuously based on the queries of customers. Agents can refer to this internal knowledge repository any time to get accurate answers. Problem-solving becomes easy, and solutions are offered faster.
With a knowledge base software tool, agents can solve problems faster and more effectively. While the tips mentioned above are some of the main benefits of a knowledge base, you can use the tool in innovative ways to help support agents. For instance, you can create ready-reckoners such as procedural guides, checklists, canned responses, etc., which agents can quickly refer to. You can use the knowledge base for various things right from customer support to knowledge management – the possibilities are limitless.
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