By Mike Aoki
I recently had a conversation with Brad Sellors, Managing Director at InfiniteKM, regarding knowledge management systems (KMS), consistency and compliance. Here are our questions and answers. Note, Brad’s responses have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Why is the issue of compliance important for contact centers? Contact centers need to provide accurate information to their customers. That is especially true for industries such as banking and insurance, which are heavily regulated. Contact center Agents need the most accurate and up to date information. Otherwise, a lot of damage - to the company and the client - can be caused by Agents who misread or omit important information when responding to clients.
How can a knowledge management system help Agents be compliant? Being able to quickly search for the right knowledge article equips Agents with the right answers. To maintain that informational accuracy, you should also set up an authorization/review process so, key documents are routinely reviewed by the right stakeholders.
How can you ensure Agents actually understand the information? You can create online quizzes to test for understanding. So when an Agent arrives for their shift, they can review new information updates, pass the quiz and help their customers. This can all be done via the knowledge management platform.
How can you measure and track compliance? Some knowledge management systems can track who is clicking on daily compliance updates. For example, Agents can track what they previously reviewed to see if they missed any updates while on vacation. Team Leaders can track which Agents still need to review daily updates, while Managers can track which Team Leader groups are up to date. You can even make it mandatory for employees to review certain information on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis so, your organization stays in compliance with external regulations.
How does this help a company operating in a highly regulated industry? Depending upon the jurisdiction, auditors and regulators may require proof that Agents are familiar with the applicable rules. Some knowledge management systems produce reports showing which Agents have reviewed the information and passed the quiz.
We have talked about compliance. Now, how does this ensure consistency? Think of a manufacturer who sells through franchised dealerships. A common challenge is having dealer staff giving different answers than head office Agents. Now imagine both head office and dealers have access to the same knowledge database. So, they both give consistent answers to educate their customers. On top of that, knowledge articles can be tagged for different job types. So, a dealer salesperson can read an article on the customer benefits of an accessory product. Meanwhile, their dealer service technician can see how to install it for the customer. To build on that, each dealer - as well as head office - have their own reporting tools. So, they can track which dealerships review updates and which ones do not. Dealers can see which of their employees are up to date and which ones need a reminder. That ensures consistency.
Can customers access this knowledge database for consistent answers? If a knowledge management system allows you to control access to information by job type, you can also use this system to share certain answers with customers. For example, if a customer searches your website for “extended warranty” information, they get a description of how it works and what it covers. On the other hand, if a contact center Agent searches for “extended warranty”, their search also brings up how to process a customer’s warranty claim. Being able to tag knowledge articles by job type saves you the cost of designing a separate database for customer accessible information.
Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc., a Canadian training company that helps contact centers improve their sales and customer retention results. A call center expert, Mike serves on the Advisory Council of the Greater Toronto Area Contact Center association, and was Master of Ceremonies for their 2012-2014 and 2016 Annual Conferences. He was also chosen as one of the “Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leaders on Twitter” for 2014, 2015 and 2016.