Managing Knowledge in complex telecommunications call center environment
“In a call or contact center environment I can see two distinct types of knowledge; the knowledge that is utilized and leveraged in providing service to customers and the knowledge that is generated through the operation and execution of the call/contact center services. In the first case most call/contact center are very poorly structured and designed to manage the knowledge they utilize in providing service. In the majority of center the agent requires 3 or more windows open on their desktop to access the different systems where the information resides. I have personally seen center where agents have 15 or more windows open! According to Gardner one of the fastest growing sectors within the call/contact center, ICT space is that of agent tools and analytics. Old approaches of building in-house systems, screen scrapes and in- house intranets have helped the centers but don’t solve the problem as knowledge management and maintenance cause the information to become stale or duplicated. The real solution must lie with the development and deployment of an enterprise knowledgebase. This is a single repository of organizational knowledge which is available not just to the call center, but to the broader organization. This is not and cannot simply be a call center initiative as you must engage the Subject Matter Experts and Subject Matter Owners throughout the organization. These are the individuals who can identify the current knowledge and define the review cycles approvals and work flows required to maintain this knowledge. Call and Contact centers provide data, tons of data and all of this information can become knowledge in the right hands…that is to say in the hands of someone with the detailed and in-depth knowledge of the contact center industry and who is an expert on the technologies being employed. Your call or contact center is the canary in the mine, it is your early warning system. But this only will work when you can understand the information and knowledge generated. The key elements will not always be the same for each organization and will vary based upon the companies goals, objectives and customer base. The first step in this understanding process must be Service management. This has both internal and external components. Internally it encompasses Service Level, Speed of Answer, Abandon Rate, Blockage, Handle Time, First Contact Resolution, schedule adherence and other quantitative measures. In addition we need the qualitative measures: Quality Assurance, Customer satisfaction, Employee satisfaction, Repurchase, life-time value etc. All of these metrics need to be established in a spreadsheet or database to the the key elements can be tracked and managed going forward. By employing forecasts and charting activity and shift in the KPI’s over time the inter connectivity between and among these metrics becomes clear and it is possible to identify the key knowledge factors for your particular organization.