What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is basically the collaboration between all divisions of an organization, and can be thought of in terms of the adage, created once, used by many. One of the most frequently cited explanations comes from research firm Gartner Group which defines knowledge management as, “A discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise's information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously uncaptured expertise and experience in individual workers."

In the contact center, call agents need access to myriad sources of information that might be contained in several databases. Internet sites, mobile and social media also face similar challenges in sorting information overload.

For call agents, the integration of various channels, databases and services means that agents spend less time trying to access customer and product information from disparate silos and can instead turn to a centralized system.

On the Internet, chat can be used alongside knowledge management tools. Such solutions can alert agents to issues such as customer availability, product and shipping status queries, Web site technical problems, and transaction histories. By connecting to the contact center, knowledge management solutions can connect Internet users to agents who can view chat sessions and access tools such as scripts, or can escalate responses as needed. Co-browsing with a user on a Web site can also mitigate issues, and often reassures customer that their inquiries are handled in a personalized manner as expeditiously as possible.

Knowledge management tools are also being increasingly deployed in connection with social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. By connecting agents to these sites, there is a convenience factor of connecting customers to the channel they are using, and offers a real time response to customer issues, which often come in the form of complaints.

The payoffs of using knowledge management include improved first call accuracy, reduced average handle call times, decreased customer churn, less agent training time, lower operational costs, increased loyalty and offering valuable customer insight.