Why You Need to Finally Kill your Knowledge Base

Remember driving before we had GPS navigation? In the past when you were planning a road trip, you would get out an atlas or all the paper maps you might need. Then you’d sit down at the kitchen table to map out your route, figure out where you were going to stop, and estimate how long the trip might take. It was an inefficient and potentially error-prone method but using paper maps for navigation was an essential part of traveling the open road and getting to your destination. Without it, you would be flying blind. 

Those days when we all used paper maps for navigation weren’t actually that long ago, but today these formerly-indispensable tools seem like quaint anachronisms because of the advent—and obvious benefit—of turn-by-turn GPS navigation. 

In the contact center world, we’re all very familiar with the CX version of a printed road atlas: the knowledge base. It is a standard practice to give our agents on the floor this in-depth resource that is meant to contain instructions to guide agents through how to correctly handle every customer interaction they might encounter. But in giving our agents a knowledge base, aren’t we essentially giving them a huge stack of paper maps? Isn’t a knowledge base, just like a paper map, also an inefficient and potentially error-prone tool? And doesn’t the utility and ease of GPS navigation suggest that there’s a much better way? 

The Inefficiency of Search/Read/Interpret 

Let’s consider the disadvantages of using a paper map. Your first step in using a map is to figure out where you are on the map and where you want to go. And then it’s up to you to interpret the best way to get there. 

You’ll likely have to take extra time along the way to stop and consult the map to determine your next turn or to ensure you’re still on the right path. Similarly, with a knowledge base, agents are forced to waste a lot of time searching to find the answer they need, reading that answer, and then interpreting how to proceed based on what they read—just to determine the correct next step or to validate that they’re doing the job correctly. And while they’re doing this, they’re likely putting callers on hold or just giving them dead air. Their quality score drops as the seconds tick away. 

Further reading: 4 Simple Solutions For Optimal Contact Center Performance

Road Work Ahead 

If new roads are built or old roads are under construction, a paper map is unlikely to contain updated information, sending you in the wrong direction and costing you further time in delays or at least preventing you from taking advantage of new, better roads. 

In your contact center, when changes to certain processes are made, many agents may forget about those changes or they may be unaware of them entirely. Some agents will try to account for the change by writing a reminder on a sticky note and sticking it to their monitor (which also won’t solve the problem). Either way, agents end up giving customers inaccurate information which may force the customer to call back and which will result in poor customer service. 

Less is More 

Another advantage of GPS over paper maps is actually the lack of information it gives you. With a paper map, every town, road, or point of interest that isn’t on the most direct route is unnecessary for our trip and only obfuscates the most efficient way to get there. With GPS, you get the information you need when you need it without other extraneous information. 

In a call center, the most effective way to guide an agent is to give them only the information they need to solve the current customer’s issue at the time they need it instead of all the information they might need, which just slows them down. 

The Ultimate Driving Experience 

Today, the benefits of using GPS navigation are so clear that many of us now use it for getting across town or for traveling routes we know well—situations for which we would never have used a map before—simply because driving is a more pleasant experience if you don’t have to worry about directions and you can just focus on getting there safely. 

Imagine if you could give your agents a similar experience by eliminating the inefficient and stress-inducing knowledge base and replacing it with tools that eliminate stress and confusion and let them focus on delivering great customer service.

See how Vistio works today! 

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