Knowledge Management Tools: What They Are and How They Improve Customer Service

September 15, 2022
Knowledge Management Tools
You’ve probably heard that knowledge management tools help you organize your company’s data into a central source of information that keeps everyone on the same page, especially when it comes to customer service. But what, exactly, are these tools, and why is it so important for your organization to invest in them?

In this post, we explain what knowledge or information management tools are, how to use them to improve customer service, and what you should look for in knowledge management software. Let’s get started!

The Purpose of Knowledge Management System Tools

The digital revolution has brought many improvements to how organizations run their businesses. However, like any change management initiative, it’s also created challenges like:

  • More complex software and technology
  • Rising customer demands and expectations
  • Obstacles to adopting new processes and tools

Enterprise knowledge management applications offer an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, retrieving, and sharing information assets so employees can better accomplish tasks, handle customer support situations, and get their job done efficiently. Managed assets can include everything from text documents and presentations to audio and video files and images.

Knowledge management systems share common traits with content management, but there are critical differences:

  • Content management solutions offer scalable frameworks to create, store, and publish content across multiple channels. But they don’t help employees or customers find the right content when they need it.
  • Knowledge management systems fill in the gap with features like conversational and process guidance, access, analytics, and much more.

What knowledge management delivers that content management cannot is “findability.” It’s particularly valuable in contact centers, unleashing business value at the all-important “moment of truth” in customer interactions.

The Different Types of Knowledge Management Tools

Knowledge management’s practical approach to collecting wide-ranging knowledge from across your organization can lead to better internal processes, increased performance, and opportunities for innovation.

Different knowledge management tools focus on different knowledge types and create efficiencies in different parts of your business. The five most common types of knowledge management tools are:

Knowledge bases or content repositories

A knowledge base is a storehouse for all your organization’s data and makes information easily accessible across multiple channels and touchpoints. Knowledge base tools or software support the creation, maintenance, and distribution of stored knowledge base articles and other materials.

A good knowledge base provides users, including contact center agents and customers, with uniform answers they can locate through multiple search methods. This ensures customers and agents are receiving timely, consistent, and accurate knowledge no matter who they speak to or which automated solution they use.

Content management systems

Content management systems are software applications that help users create, edit, collaborate on, publish, and store digital content. Features include approval processes, version tracking, and tagging and classifying information. They’re a cost-effective and efficient tool for creating and organizing information, but, as mentioned earlier, they don’t improve findability. So unless you couple them with a knowledge management system, your employee and customer experiences won’t be as satisfying.

Search

A knowledge base is a searchable directory of information or content about your products and services and how customers or clients can use them. It can include answers and guidance on topics like:

  1. Technical issues with software
  2. Answers to FAQs
  3. How-to instructions
  4. Orders, tracking, and returns
  5. Account information

Unfortunately, some knowledge management tools have less-than-stellar search functions. Effective search:

  • Is powered by AI
  • Allows searching by topics and relevance
  • Includes auto-suggestions

It also offers flexible search options, either allowing users to choose which mode they want to use or assigning one according to the user’s expertise level. Search options include keywords, natural language, federated, FAQ, AI-guided, and topic tree browsing.

Aside from helping people find answers fast, an intelligent search tool can help boost customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction.

Artificial intelligence

AI provides the mechanisms that enable machines to acquire, process, and use knowledge to unlock knowledge and perform tasks. As the volume of structured and unstructured data continues to grow, organizations will need increasingly intelligent solutions to uncover the knowledge contained within their data. AI will continue to play a critical role in extracting knowledge from data and providing insights on how to process it to enhance decision-making.

AI and natural language processing-enabled bots allow you to create automated assistants that can answer FAQs and ensure customers get consistent information 24/7. NLP also helps automated systems understand a customer’s question and the context of the conversation.

Authoring tools

Creating information is integral to knowledge management. However, the less time spent creating or authoring that content, the more time employees have to focus on other work. Authoring tools are pre-programmed software that you can use for everything from creating print documents to projecting to an audience.

Many authoring tools require little to no technical ability, while others are used by specialists to create highly customized content like simulations, gamification, or adaptive learning experiences.

Analytics

Content and user analytics give you insight into:

  • Frequently viewed pages and channels
  • Search effectiveness
  • Which knowledge base articles are being used
  • What users are searching for
  • If agents and customers are finding helpful answers to their issues
  • Gaps in content.

The best knowledge management analytics tool features attractive and intuitive dashboards, real-time and historical reports, and insights for quick action.

Why Knowledge Management Tools are Critical to Customer Service

Customer service without knowledge has often been compared to flying blind, posing great risks to both agent and customer experiences. It often leads to repeat calls, increased service costs, and customer churn. That’s why knowledge management tools are so crucial to delivering customers the exceptional experiences they demand and deserve.

When DHL, one of the world’s leading logistics groups, was looking for a way to increase customer satisfaction, they turned to KMS for help. The company wanted a knowledge management solution that could integrate with its existing systems while speeding access to accurate information during agent-customer interactions.

DHL chose KMS Lighthouse’s AI-driven solution to provide its organization with a more streamlined approach to data management and retrieval. KMSLH also helped the company cut agent training time in half, reduce customer call duration, and lower average holding times. And the results didn’t end there. KMSLH also contributed to:

  • A rise in customer satisfaction
  • Improved first call resolutions
  • Reduced training curve for new agents on products, procedures, and rates

DHL’s success with knowledge management software shows that giving your customers access to a knowledge base improves their overall experience and empowers them by putting solutions directly into their hands.

Enterprises that offer satisfying customer experiences typically see:

  • A 16% premium on their products and services.
  • Increased customer loyalty.
  • Customer investment in additional products and services.

A comprehensive knowledge base can give your organization a competitive edge while easing pressure on your support team. Best of all, it gives your customers what they increasingly say they’re looking for: the ability to help themselves. Of course, they also want easy and quick access to that help.

Using knowledge management techniques like knowledge mapping and best-practice sharing can transform the way your company does business, helping it:

  • Create better products and services.
  • Develop better business strategies.
  • Increase operational efficiency.
  • Recognize market trends early on.
  • Boost revenue.
  • Make the most of its collective intellectual capital.

One of the most challenging problems a company faces is the overwhelming amount of information it has at its disposal. An effective knowledge management tool can make finding, sharing, and retaining knowledge easier while providing users with a single source of truth they can access quickly and reliably.