Knowledge is Power
According to experts, the customer experience (CX) is the single most exciting opportunity for businesses in 2020, with some predicting that companies which earn $1 billion annually can earn $775 million more within three years of investing in customer experience.
In line with this, demand for systems which expedite and enrich customer engagement as an enabler of the customer experience, has also increased.
But delivering a good CX is far from straightforward. According to Gartner, while 81% of companies acknowledge they’ll compete on the quality of the CX in the near future, many are unable to deliver what is required to meet or exceed customer expectations.
Mind the gap
Of course, curating a customer-focused culture, prioritising service levels and investing in technology are givens, but for companies with complex products, even the best CRM systems are likely to fall short of fostering high quality engagement and satisfaction.
Consider this example of a large consumer electrical brand, dealing with an inbound customer query about a faulty item. The process of ascertaining the problem and locating the faulty part, along with associated warranty details and potential recalls, and then mapping these against the customer’s profile, is complex. It’s likely to extend beyond the capabilities of a CRM system, particularly if the customer expectation is for an immediate response.
Depth and speed
In order to address this, many aftermarket and service teams rely on more in-depth, resolution-orientated Knowledge Management systems to fix problems, resolve queries and ensure a positive, seamless customer experience. Knowledge Management systems converge all relevant data and insights from across product and service teams, both internally and in some cases, from suppliers’ databases, in order to rapidly resolve queries effectively. This might be via a member of the team, or a self-service model.
Customer engagement = profitability
When integrated with CRM, this capability equips companies with a means of tangibly enhancing the customer experience, as not only can a technical product query be resolved, the resolution priority level can be set. In the consumer electronics example, the model or part required might be out of warranty, but through viewing this information in the context of the customer profile, which highlights their history as a loyal, profitable customer, a considered, appropriate response can be provided. In this case, that might mean that a part is issued free of charge as a means of nurturing the relationship and opening up a conversation about a new sale.
This is particularly important when you consider the direct and proven correlation between customer engagement and profitability, with reports suggesting that companies who improve engagement can increase cross-sell revenue by 22%, up-sell revenue by 38% and order size by up to 85%.
And customer engagement does not necessarily mean speaking one-on-one with a customer. Today, most customers are very satisfied when they can resolve their own questions via customer self-help knowledge tools. This fact is great for business, since the average cost of a support ticket according to MetricNet is $15.56. Great knowledge bases deflect expensive tickets and actually improve customer satisfaction.
A commitment to CX
But while Knowledge Management might appear to be a panacea for companies with complex products, many such systems fail in their first 12 months. Why? Typically, projects fail to deliver ROI because of a lack of commitment or consideration for necessary organisational cultural change, in particular the absence of incentives for staff to consistently update the system, and a lack of measurement from which to track activity.
As Gartner outlines, Knowledge Management is a discipline which outlines an integrated approach to managing an enterprise’s knowledge assets, underpinned by technology. Therefore, any Knowledge Management system is only as good as the owner’s commitment to updating it. Simply put, if they are neglected then they fail, resulted in wasted investment, unfulfilled SLAs and a missed opportunity to provide a superior customer experience.
In light of this challenge, and to maximise the value companies derive from Knowledge Management, our team recommends three critical steps when deploying a system. First and foremost, is the creation of a knowledge sharing culture, led by the executive team, and reiterated across business units and departments. It has to be viewed as a priority in the same way as sales targets or talent management strategies are, otherwise it will inevitably slide.
As part of this, many companies appoint a dedicated Knowledge Management leader to ensure goals are continually monitored and progress is measured, and that employees are incentivised to update the system in real-time.
Becoming a CX leader
For service-orientated organisations, ensuring the best possible customer experience means not only getting closer to customers, but providing the right knowledge and resolutions to them at the right time. Deploying and maintaining a Knowledge Management system in conjunction with CRM, not only represents best practice, but in a society where customer loyalty is in decline and CX is everything, will set you ahead of competitors and carve out increased market share.
Top tips for company-wide Knowledge Management adoption
- Instill a CX culture, led from the executive team, and ensure employees understand the ultimate goal of Knowledge Management
- Appoint a dedicated leader responsible for managing, maintaining and measuring Knowledge Management
- Set clear objectives, incentives and metrics for staff when it comes to updating the Knowledge Management system – and continually review these to avoid bottlenecks
For more information on how Avolin can help bring you the power of knowledge, please contact [email protected].