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Contact Center Knowledge Management: How to Select Vendors

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Knowledge management (KM) is the brain behind contact center customer service, without which customer service will be clueless. While KM has been around for a while, it’s experiencing a resurgence due to technology innovation, the evolution of best practices for success, and transformational success stories.
Modern Knowledge
Modern knowledge is much more than data and basic information such as FAQs. In the context of contact centers, this also includes conversational (next best thing to say) and process know-how (next best thing to do) surfaced at the point of customer interaction.
Beyond answering simple customer queries like “Where is my order?” with self-service automation, it can guide agents through a customer conversation with situational expertise for questions like “This is my financial situation. How do you improve my creditworthiness?” This self-service automation democratizes expertise, and makes all contact center agents as good as the best ones. It can enable any agent to handle any customer query, even making capabilities like routing less important.
Why the Demand?
Per Gartner, “The limitations of basic customer service chatbots to offer meaningful self-service containment is causing organizations to revisit their underlying knowledge management practices and systems.
Demand for customer service knowledge management systems continues to grow alongside the need to offer seamless customer service experiences.”
Moreover, the following trends are also driving demand:
  • Over 75% of contact center agents are still fully or partially remote. Walking over to the next cube for answers is not even an option for most agents, requiring modern knowledge guidance for them to succeed.
  • Traditional training and onboarding programs have been disrupted heavily by the pandemic.
  • On average, the human brain retains only about 2%-3% of new information we learn a month later. Contact centers cannot keep agents on a perpetual training treadmill. This area is where knowledge guidance can help.
  • Millennial and Gen Z agents, who constitute most of the agent workforce today, have an exceedingly small attention span. They prefer on-the-job training with GPS-like navigational help and hate traditional training programs. Knowledge guidance is a must-have for this demographic group.


Technology Building Blocks
There has been a lot of confusion around what KM technology is—with different vendors coming at it from different angles. Modern KM needs to have the following building blocks, all unified into a common platform for success:
  • Content management and profiled content access
  • Intent inference, refined by ML
  • Search methods
  • Conversational and process guidance with reasoning
  • Personalization
  • Analytics
  • Pre-integrations with leading CRM, content management, and call center infrastructure systems


Beyond technology, consider the vendor’s domain expertise, adoption and engagement model, implementation, support, education, managed services, ecosystem, and success at scale.
Want to learn more? Read the Gartner Market Guide for Customer Service Knowledge Management Systems to get going.