Whether supported by web self-service, humans or bots, today’s customer experiences are made or broken on the knowledge that powers them. The last thing a business needs is for consumers to encounter an outdated online support center, interact with automation that conveys unsatisfactory answers or for employees to lack access to appropriate and accurate content when their customers need help.
Too often, these scenarios occur when knowledge is trapped in silos and is not easily searchable, available and digestible. As consumers increasingly embrace self-service options, brands must ensure their digital infrastructure and knowledge base proactively empowers customers and employees with trustworthy and actionable support.
Challenges to using knowledge effectively
Since knowledge isn’t static — always needing to be maintained, updated and kept relevant — automating it can be difficult. Without the right kind of management processes and a single source of truth, the wrong type of knowledge can be automated leading to frustrated customers who don’t receive the answers or help they desire. Translating this knowledge into multiple languages for organizations that serve a global customer base makes it even more complicated.
According to a recent MIT report (in partnership with Genesys), 78% of customer experience employees report their greatest frustration is having insufficient information to assist customers in the moment. This issue becomes even more problematic when customers interact with bots automated with incorrect or outdated content.
In many instances, knowledge is stretched across an organization and owned by various company departments and functions. Without one trustworthy, centrally accessible source, employees will have difficulty updating or creating new support materials.
This is why knowledge strategies should be customer-oriented instead of leaning on a company’s internal structure and processes. Consumers can’t distinguish between your sales, support or billing departments. All they see is a brand that is failing to equip them with the information they require.
It’s all about the intent
When people reach out digitally for support, their questions can be asked in many ways. It's crucial for automated support like voice and chatbots to quickly discern a customer’s intent and offer answers that align with their specific needs.
Say a customer calls a company needing help with payments. They can ask “Is my bill too high?” or “How do I get a better discount on my bill?”
While these questions were phrased differently, they will lead to the same answer. Automated support should be able to understand this intent and engage with the customer with greater precision to deliver a personalized and efficient digital experience.
But what if the customer asks, “Is my monthly payment too high?” Suddenly, the bot doesn’t quite understand this question or the intent behind it. The request is then escalated to a human agent and cannot be completed using self-service options.
When this situation occurs, data can still be captured to create smarter knowledge bases. Organizations will now have new insights they can use to personalize and refine engagements for the best customer outcomes.
Creating smarter search experiences with artificial intelligence (AI)
Having a searchable, centralized knowledge base, filled with rich media content and effective FAQs, is essential to helping customers quickly find the answers they are looking for. AI can make search functions smarter and more refined to customer needs by:
- Pre-populating questions in the search function: When a customer starts to type a question already have options automated on what you think they will be asking
- Suggesting full questions to recommend quality answers
- Providing structured and consistent answers at the first interaction
Automating purposeful intent, in words that a customer uses and knows, will create richer support experiences. These interactions will result in both a higher likelihood of providing a viable answer and customers feeling heard, seen and taken care of throughout their digital experience.
Orchestrating connected experiences across every channel
Great experiences aren’t just about understanding what the customer is asking; it’s also about knowing how and where someone started their journey and predicting where they want to go next. Preserving and transferring customer context across channel experiences informs the next consumer interaction and ensures AI, and human agents, can surface the most correct knowledge at the first point of contact.
Whether a consumer is reaching out on a mobile interface, web interface, phone or others automated support should be making predictions and classifying information to present the most relevant knowledge the customer requires.
When experiences are escalated to a human agent, there should be an immediate connection between the data gathered by automation and what the agent knows about the situation. If the customer tried to seek answers from a support document that didn’t meet their needs, the human agent shouldn’t send the customer back to that document.
Automation should be able to efficiently read clues from every customer interaction and decide what the best type of information is to present to each person. This type of powerful orchestration builds connected seamless experiences by layering the right data across all touchpoints to scale empathy and ensure every digital journey is the heart of the customer experience.