Distributed Call Centers Knowledge Management Best Practices
What’s a Distributed Call Center?
Once limited to a single physical site, today’s call centers often distribute agents across multiple locations and devices. Using distributed call center agents helps businesses:
- Employ the best staff no matter where they are in the global talent pool
- Improve continuity by reducing location dependency
- Offer 24/7 support by employing agents in multiple time zones
A distributed call center’s benefits are clear, but success is only possible if all agents – no matter where they are located – have access to the same information. And if they want to deliver a consistent level of service, agents must share knowledge and work together to make sure that knowledge is helpful and current.
According to ClearAction Continuum’s Lynn Hunsaker, there are significant, measurable rewards when call center agents practice teamwork. Not only does it “…improve the agent experience, it improves the customer experience and ultimately leads to stronger customer loyalty and increase in ROI.”
Technology has helped make the successful distributed call center model work by:
- Analyzing calls, identifying training requirements, and sharing best practices as part of a regular improvement program
- Empowering agents with dashboards and data tools that make it possible to access real-time and historical information with one click
- Integrating CRM systems into the call center experience so agents have easy, automated access to a customer’s profile, purchasing history, preferences, and more
- Making it easy for management to pinpoint problem areas and target corrective training
- Unifying communications and collaboration so staff are able to make better decisions based on verified information
Distributed Workforce Management
Businesses must find ways to help customers have experiences
that border on the extraordinary. –Jim Iyoob, CCO Etech Global Services
Managing a distributed workforce depends on investing in the right technology, putting extra effort into team-building, encouraging collaboration, and setting specific expectations. The process goes far beyond offering customers a good experience.
What does that mean for managing agents working in distributed call centers? It means they must be given the tools to have smarter, more personalized interactions with customers. Here are three ways leadership can ensure that happens:
1. Keep knowledge relevant
There’s no glory in finding the “right” knowledge article that has outdated information. Feedback from agents and customers should be used to improve existing knowledge.
Subject matter experts should be identified and their knowledge tapped for newer, more applicable information. Agents should be encouraged to suggest changes to existing knowledge articles.
2. Use third-party tools for a better knowledge experience
As agents search your knowledge base for a solution, they should find the information most relevant to the current caller. For example, if a customer has a problem with a newly purchased Bluetooth speaker, the knowledge presented first should be on that specific model. If the customer’s issue is a more general one, agents should know which questions to ask to guide them to the next most relevant step.
3. Walk in your agents’ shoes
The more quickly agents can access useful information, the more successful they’ll be and the better experience the customer will have. Don’t make agents browse through multiple articles to find what they need. Instead, create smaller, easier references. Don’t forget to include knowledge gleaned from resolved tickets on similar issues.
Distributed Call Centers and Knowledge Management
Most organizations struggle with call center knowledge management and it’s easy to understand why. Up-to-date information on products, processes, policies, issues, and more must be collected, reviewed, and constantly revised. And the data from which that information is culled comes from many different users spread out across multiple locations.
Empowering your distributed call center agents with relevant and timely insights while keeping them informed of contact center best practices takes significant time and resources. But the resultant better customer experiences will drive revenue, growth, and superior agent productivity.
It’s one investment that’s always worth making.