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Planning for Adaptive Customer Support. KMWorld October 2008 ...

Planning for Adaptive Customer Support. KMWorld October 2008

Your Customers Can Search, but do they Find? KMWorld May 2008

Dynamic Knowledge Management: Key to Better Web Self-Service. KM World April 2008

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KMWorld Articles KMWorld Articles Document Transcript

  • conversational knowledge. While this mayrequire a significant “rewiring” of how yourcall center agents handle customer calls, arobust knowledge infrastructure willempower them to accomplish this withoutadditional overhead.2. Understand your knowledge cover-age ratio. Knowledge coverage is anotherfactor to consider when planning to roll outself-service. Simply stated, how many of theknown issues with your products have well-documented solutions? As noted in theexample above, most customers may searchtwice on your self-service website, but eachattempted search that fails will reduce theirconfidence in self-resolving their issue.By studying coverage closely, you’llincrease the chance that your customers willsucceed in resolving their issues via self-serv-ice. With a robust knowledge managementinfrastructure, your organization can becomeproactive in closing those gaps by analyzingreports that identify areas where customerswere not successful in finding a resolution.Understanding this coverage ratio, and proac-tivelydevelopingknowledgetocovermoreres-olutions, will substantially increase successrates on self-service.3. Enable content vitality. A final factoris putting in place a knowledge infrastructurethat enables knowledge vitality, or freshness,through deeply integrated processes. Know-ledge is ever-evolving. Unlike productmanuals, which are typically tailored to astatic state, your customers’ experiencesare dynamic and ever-changing. Your self-service knowledge should reflect the bestresolutions of this cumulative set of customerexperiences.The best way to capture these experi-ences is through integrating systems andprocesses throughout your customer lifecy-cle management approach. The right know-ledge management infrastructure will enablethis content vitality by empowering bothyour customers and employees to participatein real-time knowledge improvements.Yourempowered employees should be able tomodify knowledge on issues as they evolve,giving your organization the ability topresent the best knowledge options to yourcustomers in real time.A Dynamic Environment is theUltimate GoalWhen considering self-service, it isimportant to remember that customer-cen-tric knowledge is not created just by yourorganization. It intimately involves yourcustomer in a constantly evolving ecosys-tem. To improve your customers’chances offinding the right knowledge, at the righttime, the three focus areas above shouldserve as foundation blocks for your knowl-edge management solution. TKNOVA, a Consona CRM solution, maximizes the valueof every interaction throughout the customer lifecycle.Built on an adaptive search and knowledge managementplatform, KNOVA’s suite of applications integrates withCRM implementations to help companies increase rev-enues, reduce service costs and improve customer satis-faction. Industry leaders including AOL, Ford, HP, Novell,McAfee and H&R Block rely on KNOVA’s award-winningservice resolution management applications to power anintelligent customer experience on their websites andwithin their contact centers. For more information, visitwww.knova.com.Dynamic KnowledgeManagementKey to Better Web Self-ServiceWe’ve all experienced it—a product thatwe’vecome to rely on suddenlymalfunctions.Afterattempting to troubleshoot the issue our-selves, our next instinct is to search for a solu-tion on the product’s website. If we’re lucky,we’ll arrive at a resolution, successfully“deflecting” a call into the product company’scall center. All too often, however, the web-site fails to get us to that resolution. We maytry searching the site again, maybe with a dif-ferent set of keywords, but we probably won’ttry a third time.At that point the product company facestwo residual problems. First, we may head off“ontothecloud”toseeifanInternetsearchcanproduce a solution, one that is outside the con-trol of the product company. Or, we’ll call thecompany, thereby creating an exponentialincreaseinthecostofhandlingthatissue.Bothsuboptimal directions are often the result ofinadequate knowledge availability for self-service users.Many companies struggle to understandthat self-service technology can onlyachieve its optimal benefits when it enablesa dynamic ecosystem of knowledge man-agement. We can’t find knowledge if it isout of context, out of date or just not avail-able. To get the most out of your knowledgeinfrastructure, all three of these issues needto be addressed:1. Build knowledge that is in the contextof your customer. Many organizationsincorrectly assume that publishing productmanuals, and similar formal descriptive docu-mentation, to the Web will enable their cus-tomerstosolvetheirownproblems.Whilethismay work in some instances, most productmanualsaren’tconstructedtoresolvecustomerissues. In other words, the context of theknowledge is incorrect.Building knowledge in the context of thecustomer starts by understanding the ques-tions they ask and keywords they use whenthey search for solutions. This process startsin your call center and extends to your web-site. In your call center, customer queriesneed to be captured in the actual “voice ofthe customer.” This point of contact is where“conversational knowledge” is created.Much of your success with self-service willbe your organization’s ability to developApril 2008S10 KMWorldNitin Badjatia hasbeen a technologyconsultant, bankerand businessstrategist for the last18 years. At KNOVA,he’s responsible forconstructing tailoredservice resolutionmanagementsolutions for KNOVAcustomers. Badjatiajoined KNOVA in2004 through a merger with ServiceWareTechnologies. Read more from him at his weblog“Thought Stream” www.nitinbadjatia.com.Nitin BadjatiaBy Nitin Badjatia, Enterprise Solutions Architect, KNOVA“Self-servicetechnology can onlyachieve its optimalbenefits when itenables a dynamicecosystem ofknowledgemanagement.”
  • technology must be robust enough to inter-pret the keywords and present results thatcontain similar terms or concepts. Suchcontextualized results reflect a knowledgemanagement approach to enterprise search.By returning results that have concepts thatare common to the query, your customer’schances of a speedy resolution increasesubstantially.That search box must also understandthat many queries are best answered byinvoking a process, not just returning searchresults. For example a customer may initi-ate a request that asks for “password reset.”Instead of returning a set of results, thesearch box should understand the purposeof that query, and spawn the password resetprocess, or resolution wizard. As with con-textualized search, speed to resolution is thereal key to success.When the query submitted into thesearch box is considered too broad, whichis often the case with single-word queries,the underlying technology can improvespeed to resolution by not only providingthe best possible content, but also by topi-cal categorization of relevant content. Con-tent that is clustered, acting as a filter,reduces the result set and improves thespeed to resolution.Successful Search Depends onRobust ContentEven the most dynamic search technol-ogy is dependent on a robust set of contentsources. Your customers can’t find contentthat isn’t reachable. Often overlooked whenconsidering search technology, contentultimately makes the search experiencedynamic and productive for your customers.Simply exposing product manuals, techni-cal notes and formally authored content toa search engine is not sufficient. Dynamiccontent management involves an ongoinganalysis of customer queries to better under-stand where content gaps exist and aligningcontent management processes to help closethose gaps.By enabling a true knowledge manage-ment-driven search process, customer sup-port administrators should be empowered toanalyze search query data and proactivelyfocus on developing new content, or improv-ing existing content, to increase the numberof successful resolutions for customers.The goal for your customers is findingthe right answer. The goal for your organi-zation should be providing that right answerin a fast, accurate and consistent mannerthrough a dynamic knowledge managementprocess. By integrating a robust enterprisesearch with a proactive content creation andmaintenance process, you’ll be able todeliver on the customer’s expectation offinding the right answers quickly.KNOVA, a Consona CRM solution, maximizes the valueof every interaction throughout the customer lifecycle.Built on an adaptive search and knowledge managementplatform, KNOVA’s suite of applications integrates withCRM implementations to help companies increase rev-enues, reduce service costs and improve customer satis-faction. Industry leaders including AOL, Ford, HP, Novell,McAfee and H&R Block rely on KNOVA’s award-winningservice resolution management applications to power anintelligent customer experience on their websites andwithin their contact centers. For more information, visitwww.knova.com.Your Customers CanSearch, But Do They Find?Oftentimes when customers come to yourwebsite, they are there to find an answer toan issue—a resolution to a problem. Manycompanies seem to think that attaching a ro-bust search engine to a content source isenough to do the trick.But companies that consider customerself-service a strategic asset see thatinbound customer exception in a differentlight. They realize that customers don’t wantto search for the best result; rather they wantto find a resolution, and find it quickly. Itmay state the obvious, but it is important tonote that, while issue resolution must incor-porate a robust search technology, that tech-nology must also be intelligent enough tointerpret the underlying meaning of the cus-tomer query. Furthermore, a holistic view ofissue resolution also considers the nature ofthe content that customers are presented,and empowers your organization to proac-tively monitor and perfect the resolutionspresented to customers.That simple text entry box, which usu-ally is prominently displayed on every pageof your website, has a daunting task. Whena customer enters a search term, typicallyno more than two to three words, that boxmust launch a query into available contentsources to find the right answer as quicklyand efficiently as possible. On a typicalwebsite, the underlying enterprise searchengine scours your content sources, andpresents the best possible documents thatreflect the queried terms. This is not muchdifferent than popular Web search tools.Customers are left to fend for themselvesand interpret which query result actuallyprovides the best possible resolution to theirrequest. In today’s competitive environ-ment, leaving customers to fend for them-selves is not enough.Understanding theCustomer’s QueryFor leading customer-service organiza-tions, that text entry box needs to be smartenough to interpret the purpose of the cus-tomer query. In some instances, queryterms are not exact matches to terms withinyour content. In these cases, the underlyingMay 2008S22 KMWorldNitin Badjatia hasbeen a technologyconsultant, bankerand businessstrategist for the last18 years. At KNOVA,he’s responsible forconstructing tailoredservice resolutionmanagementsolutions for KNOVAcustomers. Badjatiajoined KNOVA in2004 through a merger with ServiceWareTechnologies. Read more from him at his weblog,“Thought Stream”, www.nitinbadjatia.com.Nitin BadjatiaBy Nitin Badjatia, Enterprise Solutions Architect, KNOVA“Customersdon’t want tosearch for the bestresult; rather theywant to find aresolution, and findit quickly.”
  • timely editorial review to confirm thevalidity of new solutions.The adaptive organization also recognizesthat a great deal of knowledge resides outsideof the support organization. A dynamic trust-ed system can incorporate this externalknowledge—oftentimes marketing material,manuals and other formal documents—intoits results so that support personnel haveaccess to the best information that is avail-able. By enabling external communities,through forums, the adaptive organizationcan also capture a wealth of customer knowl-edge within the trusted system.Critical to the success of creating andmaintaining a trusted system is its ability tointegrate into the key applications that powera support organization.A flexible, trusted sys-tem should seamlessly integrate into incidentmanagement systems, CRM applications andWeb portals to allow for easy, in-processaccess to both obtain relevant knowledge andcreate new knowledge in a timely and effi-cient manner.Define an Adaptive ProcessA trusted system alone cannot enable anadaptive support environment. Along withimplementing a dynamic knowledge man-agement system, organizations often find aneed to rethink how support personnel han-dle rapid changes within their environment.A key theme that emerges is the idea oftraining to process, and not to products andfeatures. Traditional support organizationsspend significant amounts of time educat-ing both new hires and existing employeeson specific company products and features.In a dynamic environment, this training canbe obsolete within weeks, and can createan endless cycle of re-training.An adaptive organization doesn’t focussolely on product-oriented training: itrelies on the trusted system to continuous-ly generate and provide new and reliableknowledge to support personnel as theyneed it. Given this dynamic knowledgemanagement approach, support personnelcan rely on the process of interacting withthe trusted system to find the best possibleanswer, instead of having to memorize arapidly changing set of products and crite-ria. As new products, product revisions andacquisitions are absorbed by the company,support can be ready to handle thesechanges with the trusted system.Adaptive Customer SupportCustomer support is increasingly becom-ing the primary connection that customershave with their vendors. Even the mostdynamic organizations can look flat-footed ifsupport is ill-prepared to handle a broadarray of unplanned, unexpected supportrequests. By enabling a trusted systemthrough a powerful knowledge managementapplication, support can be prepared to han-dle a rapidly changing environment. Theadaptive customer support organization candrive customer satisfaction, improve keycontact center metrics and often drive prod-uct improvement cycles. TKNOVA, a Consona CRM solution, maximizes the valueof every interaction throughout the customer lifecycle.Built on an adaptive search and knowledge managementplatform, KNOVA’s suite of applications integrates withCRM implementations to help companies increase rev-enues, reduce service costs and improve customer satis-faction. Industry leaders including AOL, Ford, HP, Novelland H&R Block rely on KNOVA’s award-winning serviceresolution management applications to power an intelli-gent customer experience on their websites and withintheir contact centers. For more information, visitwww.knova.com.Planning for AdaptiveCustomer SupportWithacceleratingbusinesscycles,everypartof a company must be ready to adapt to a fluidbusiness environment. For the customer-sup-port organization, this often means being pre-pared to absorb corporate acquisitions, newproduct launches and incremental product en-hancements faster than anticipated.Gone are the days when companydevelopment cycles churned out new prod-ucts in a predictable rhythm, when corpo-rate growth was more organic than acquisi-tion-driven and support managers hadbudgets that grew in parallel to the top line.Support managers today must strugglewith a broad array of issues, often with lit-tle or no increase in manpower or budgets.A well-developed knowledge manage-ment strategy can enable a support managerto handle rapid changes, while continuing tooptimize resources and increase the influ-ence of support throughout the company. Aholistic approach to creating an adaptiveorganization takes into consideration bothtechnology and process challenges.Design a Trusted SystemThe heart of any successful customersupport organization is a trusted system—a common repository which holds the bestinformation available across the company.Most often this is a knowledge manage-ment application. Key factors to considerin establishing a trusted system include theability to author, manage and maintaincontent within the system, the ability toaggregate information from disparatesources throughout your organization andthe ability of the system to integrate thesystem into the core applications of yoursupport organization.The adaptive support organizationrecognizes that knowledge is created dur-ing every support interaction. Whether itis a simple search request that improvesthe intelligent search engine’s results, ora fresh set of procedures that leads to abetter break/fix solution, a trusted systemshould capture relevant knowledge dur-ing each interaction. Content creationwithin the trusted system requires arobust workflow process, allowing forOctober 2008S16 KMWorldBy Nitin Badjatia, Enterprise Solutions Architect, KNOVANitin Badjatia hasbeen a technologyconsultant, bankerand businessstrategist for the last18 years. At KNOVA,he’s responsible forconstructing tailoredservice resolutionmanagementsolutions for KNOVAcustomers. Badjatiajoined KNOVA in2004 through a merger with ServiceWareTechnologies. Read more from him at his weblog“Thought Stream” www.nitinbadjatia.com.Nitin Badjatia“A trusted systemshould capturerelevant knowledgeduring eachinteraction.”