Salesforce Knowledge accelerates the customer experience

Community for customers, partners and users: Part 3 of 5

Nov 12, 2020
Business applications Salesforce

Knowledge is power, and it is never truer than in customer service. When your organization can address customer issues in the best way possible every time, then you are upping the quality of your customer service interactions and, in the process, delighting your customers.

Everyone remembers that agent you got on the phone who seemed to be able to answer any question you threw at him or her. That interaction plays a major role in the customer experience and can leave a lasting positive impression on your brand.

Having the best possible answer is key—but the value of that answer multiplies when you can make that knowledge consistent across your organization and in your self-service applications. When you can consistently respond to customer issues with the best possible answers, you optimize the customer experience. By putting in place Salesforce Knowledge, you can accomplish this with just a week or two commitment in setting it up.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste

If you do not have a knowledge base in place now or even an FAQ, then you might be losing massively on opportunity cost. Here is why: imagine that you have agents independently researching the same issue for a given category of requests at different times. They are reinventing the wheel each time and creating incredible waste.

Imagine also that the consistency of research is different—some agents might give different answers to the same issue, some better, some worse, and possibly at times, some incorrect. Somewhere in your organization, an agent created the perfect, best-practice answer to the question. The rest have suboptimal responses that they wasted time researching or reused repeatedly.

The Knowledge platform

Many organizations suffer from a lack of a knowledge platform—a central place where agents know that if they have a great answer to a problem, they have a facility to share that with the rest of the team. Many organizations start with an FAQ—a flat document that is continuously added to and modified. It is a blunt instrument but a great start to organize the best responses.

However, clearly, it has its limitations. When you have a real knowledge platform like Salesforce Knowledge, you can set up a proactive knowledge attainment process. For example:

  • Agents can submit knowledge articles to document the best answers.
  • Articles can be reviewed and approved for publishing using various access and approval processes.
  • The articles can then be appropriately indexed to be highly searchable.

Using Salesforce artificial intelligence capabilities, knowledge articles can be suggested in the customer service agent console based on keywords, adding even more productivity gains.

Extending Knowledge to your customers

Knowledge can be exposed to your customers through your customer portal (using Salesforce Experience Cloud for instance). Customers can then self-service their needs by searching for knowledge articles or interacting with a chatbot to query for help. Again, the best responses can be presented to the customer immediately, efficiently and without any live person interaction.

When extending Knowledge to your customers, keep in mind that there are often key differences between using Knowledge for your internal agents and how your customers may interact with it—the internal agent’s Knowledge articles typically being a superset of the customer’s article.

In addition, the approval processes may be entirely different. Internal articles may go through an internal committee to review and approve, while customer-facing articles may go through a community forum leader. Some even go so far as to allow anyone to publish articles but reserve the right to take down anything that doesn’t meet established standards.

An immediate return on investment (ROI)

Salesforce Knowledge often has an incredibly quick ROI, because it rapidly improves the quality and consistency of customer-facing responses. This results in hard benefits: improved time to resolution, increased resolution on first response and case deflection, because customers can self-service themselves with the best answers.

On top of that, Salesforce Knowledge is relatively straightforward to implement. Getting started is easy. Look to the Knowledge Centered Service (KCS) standard for inspiration and guidance on best practices. As you institute more best practices, the set-up becomes more complex but is still straightforward. RSM has done many KCS standard implementations of Knowledge; requiring no more than a week or two commitment and pays off quickly.