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When Outdated Systems no Longer Meet Requirements in Online Retail Contact Centre

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What happens when legacy systems used for documenting key processes no longer meet the requirements of a fast evolving contact centre environment? 

This was the challenge faced by call centre operator Serco and Online retailer Shop Direct. With 6 contact centres handling thousands of customer queries every day and over 1500 different processes to follow, contact centre agents were struggling to keep track. The constraints of a legacy system were also felt by management, being unable to track and measure the interactions with the customer.  Here are some of the challenges identified:

Process Documentation Captured in Spreadsheets

Issues with the legacy system included the fact that all process documentation was captured in a series of Excel documents. The format meant that contact centre agents would have to access the relevant process document and assimilate the whole process before being able to respond to queries.

Time-consuming Training and Cross Training

This meant the learning curve for new staff and cross training of existing staff was time-consuming and resource intensive. It also meant the range of enquiries such as refunds, deliveries, promotions and credit account queries were harder to handle, even for experienced agents.

Lack of Management Information and Reporting

With existing systems, management information was lacking. There was no audit trail on what information had been accessed by each agent. It was not possible to track how agents navigated the available information or which of the information was used most frequently.  The absence of tracking data made it difficult for managers to prioritise staff training and development of process information.

Inability to Proactively Distribute Relevant Information

With available information only being accessed through Excel files and no ability to track usage it was not possible to proactively direct the most relevant information to agents.  Neither could supervisors or managers gain any confirmation that the most relevant information has been read and assimilated by agents, until now.

Processes Mapped to Decision Trees

With this range of challenges Serco and Shop Direct worked with KPS to investigate and develop a solution.  A key requirement was the ability to use existing sources of information while creating a structured work-flow for contact centre agents. Enabling agents to follow processes step by step through guided decision trees allows agents to focus on the customer interaction while relying on relevant information and guidance being presented as each service interaction develops.

Solution Developed and Live in 3 Months

Working together, KPS, Serco and Shop Direct managed to implement a solution in 3 months. Roll-out was swift with a days training before agents were using the system to handle live enquiries.

To learn more about how the knowledge management system was implemented for the contact centre, download our Case Study:

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Customer Service – Which Channels are Trending?

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What are the key trends when customers choose service channel? Working with ContactBabel the contract centre research specialist we have collected information about service channel choice by industry segment.

It may be no surprise that agent based telephone customer service is still the number one channel used by customers. But with overall share of telephone based customer service reducing, which channels do customers choose instead and why? 

Although it may seem difficult for beleaguered customer contact professionals to juggle service levels across five or six different channels, the multichannel revolution has only just begun.

At the most basic, customers will choose to interact with a business through the channel which they believe best suits their requirements, which are usually quite generic regardless of the actual query.

Specifically, customers look for service experiences which are effective, quick, painless and cheap. The question is how best to deliver this across channels?

Service Channels Trends – Which Trend to Follow?

Self-service is found across most industries – there is often at least one function that self-service is suitable for, regardless of what a company actually does – but some sectors use it far more than others.

Some businesses are finding that web self-service is becoming more popular with their customers especially with the uptake of smart-phones which can provide customer services apps and allow web browsing on the move. What other trends did we discover?

Effective, Quick, Painless and Cheap – How do you deliver all at once?

If a channel does not meet these requirements to a significant extent, it is unlikely to succeed. The majority of customer interactions fall into one of two categories: those that are purely transactional and those that require dialogue (interactional):

Transactional Service

Service Interactions such as balance enquiries and travel information, require access to highly-structured business information, and non-automated transactions can require an agent to act simply as an ‘organic interface’ between the back office systems and the customer. Such communications may be dealt with effectively by self-service and increasingly are. Automation requires effective system integration but little work on content and knowledge management.

Interactional Service 

Interactions such as technical help desks, complex or multiple enquiries or where the customer requires reassurance and confirmation – require actual dialogue and discussion between the customer and the business’s representative.  For these investment in both systems and knowledge base is required. System will ensure the interaction is slick while investing in the knowledge base will ensure the interaction achieves the desired outcome for the customer.

Cost Saving or Service Improvements?

Self-service can provide huge cost savings to businesses. Some organisations, having seen this, perhaps got overexcited about the potential for cost savings, and implemented self-service too enthusiastically and sometimes inappropriately. The large number of poor customer experiences over the years with self-service would seem to suggest that this is still an issue. The question is how to avoid the pitfalls and achieve better service delivery at a reduced cost.

Together with ContactBabel we have created a comprehensive guide to multichannel service delivery packed with insights, industry data, recommendations and ideas for how to address the multichannel service delivery challenges faced by the customer contact industry.

This summary is just skimming the surface. For anyone facing the challenge of multichannel service delivery this comprehensive 95 page report is essential reading. Download your copy now:

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Knowledge Management Software for Accessing Multiple Content Formats

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A common need in contact centre operations that focus on providing detailed information and advice is READY ACCESS to the organisations knowledge base. However information being created and stored in many different formats make this challenging.

Recent projects working with contact centres in public health advice highlighted this issue.  The initial project brief included the statement:

 

“Empowering the advisers with the information they need is core to the implementation”

Leverage of existing information was possible through KPS – knowledge management software’s ability to index multiple formats of content such as websites, office and PDF documents held on file shares, in addition to in house SharePoint repositories. This meant that all existing information could easily be leveraged, with minimal set up time.

To learn more about how we helped a public advice contact centre improving access to its knowledge base, download our case study:

Accessing Content without Re-purposing or Reformatting

Longer documents did not require any rework as Universal Knowledge presents the best matching sections or ‘fragments’ of each document at the point of search, again significantly reducing deployment time. Using features of Universal Knowledge content was indexed and organised in ways that allows segments and paragraphs from longer documents to be presented individually.

More than a Search Tool

Not only would Universal Knowledge be able to search a wide variety of information sources, it also proved invaluable in the automatic ‘push’ of important information. The nature of the services delivered means constant evolving information needs to be made available to the advisers, as soon as possible.

Universal Knowledge’s ‘Hot Topics’ and ‘Required Reading’ features means that advisers are notified when new guidance is available. They can select a link to this information directly from their search homepage in addition to finding it by asking the system a question.

Ease of Use

With varying degrees of I.T. proficiency, it was also important that the knowledge tool was simple to use and required minimal training. Users of the system were quickly remarking on how easy it was to use and new advisers who came on board were able to quickly provide the required levels of service.  Feedback from users included:

“I find the KPS solution user friendly and the layout is very clear, not confusing”

“The KPS product is an incredibly useful tool, it helps me provide accurate information quickly which adds confidence to my call handling”

Styling of both the user interface and the content to match the required colours/ logos and presentation styles was also quickly achieved, through the use of style sheets and templates. Presenting the advisers with a simple and familiar interface was key to user adoption. With less than 10 days consultancy from KPS, the project went live.

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Knowledge Management delivers efficiencies in Public Health Contact Centres

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KPS Knowledge Management tool helps Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operator Serco manage and deliver multiple health related information services within a single contact center operation. The delivery of multiple services meant that agent information support is paramount to delivering quality advice and providing consistent messages to service users.

Serco manages and delivers multiple health related services within a single contact centre operation. The delivery of multiple services meant that there was a requirement for a wide range of ‘subject knowledge’ pertaining to these services to be readily available and accessible from one place.

With subjects ranging from sexual health to substance misuse it was clear that the knowledge management system had to be capable of understanding both the terms used and the context of the question being asked and to ensure it provided consistent and accurate information every time a search was undertaken.

Empowering Highly Trained Contact Centre Staff

The adviser skill set within the contact centre, differs to what you would find in a ‘typical’ call centre. The advisers are highly trained in dealing with complex queries from citizens who require tailored and bespoke information and advice across a broad spectrum of public health topics. Empowering the advisers with the information they needed was therefore core to the implementation of the knowledge management system.

Choosing the Knowledge Management Solution

The KPS knowledge management solution (Universal Knowledge) was chosen due to its ability to search and find relevant information at the touch of a button across a range of disparate sources, ranging from public facing websites to internally held information.  This information could be found and utilised within seconds. Being able to migrate the existing information from an in house system and supplement this with the vast number of other knowledge sources that are available, was a key benefit. Other benefits included:

“Information could be found and utilised within seconds”

“Existing information could easily be leveraged, with minimal set up time”

In addition, the intuitive nature of the systems “Natural Language Search” allows advisers to ask a question in their own words. The agent can use a single word keyword search, or a more complex question, and still find the best match: the application using the question keywords and ‘learning’ acquired from previous questions answered. This was a real benefit for users!

Learn more about how the system was implemented to deliver a turnkey solution for the contact centre operator, download our Case Study:

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Knowledge Management Software on G-Cloud

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KPS has been accepted as Crown Commercial Service (CSS) Supplier and by joining CSS KPS knowledge management software is now available on G-Cloud the UK Government platform for Cloud based delivery of public sector IT solutions.

By joining G-Cloud KPS offers enhanced value for UK Central and Local Government service delivery. The KPS G-Cloud Knowledge Management Software can be used across public sector services such as Health, Emergency Services and Education as well as for IT Service Management delivery across any public and not-for-profit organisation.

 

G-Cloud is Fully EU Compliant

The KPS G-Cloud solution is EU compliant providing access to knowledge management software at reduced time and cost for implementation and ongoing operation. Investing in improved technology allows public sector organisations to enhance service quality while reducing cost of delivery. With G-Cloud the implementation is simpler and requiring less up-front investment.

G-Cloud for Public Sector, Central and Local Government, Not-For-Profit

The Crown Commercial Service Supplier framework and G-Cloud is available to a wide range of organisations.  Key to the framework is that it will help CSS deliver savings for Government Organisations by identifying and selecting best value solutions. KPS is committed to the framework and to the support of improved service delivery for public sector organisations.

KPS knowledge management software is supporting public sector service delivery working with organisations in Health, Emergency Services, Local Government and Education. Knowledge Management Software enables effective delivery of information based services to internal and external customers and users.

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Inner Circle Guide – Self Service in Multi Channel Customer Service Delivery

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The multichannel revolution in customer service is not just about costs savings. There are real improvement opportunities in service delivery quality. 

Importantly customers are voting with their feet and will pursue the service channel and supplier that serve them best. Every customer service operator should ask:

“What are the trends and statistics for using self-serve in your industry?”

Working with CONTACTBABEL the contact centre industry expert, KPS has commissioned a report on how self-service is evolving.  Key findings in the report include user adoption trends by industry, growth applications for self service and key industry drivers behind the migration towards self service.

The Questions:

Working with our clients and other organisations in the contact centre industry we formulated a series of questions subsequently answered through contact centre industry expert CONTACTBABEL. The questions focus on understanding the opportunities, and challenges arising from a move towards self-service delivery:

– How do we engage team members who are concerned that self-service is being used to replace their jobs?

– How do we show to our board that self-service is more than just ‘nice to have’? What metrics should we focus on improving?

– How can we migrate customers from automated service to live service as required, while maintaining continuity?

– How can we manage the challenge of legacy systems where a lot of our information reside?

For each question the report details answers backed by industry data and research. Most importantly the report shows the trends on how self-service is being adopted across contact centre industries and which channels are preferred by customers.

How to Address the Challenges
Having clarified the industry trends the report goes on to examine technology and delivery options for each of the key channels. This includes detailed reviews with tips and recommendations for how to optimise service delivery across web, mobile web, Interactive Voice and social channels. This review include perspectives on how to integrate the delivery of customer service across multiple channels

Multichannel Customer Service is here to Stay

The report concludes that the growth rates and trends in customer service and contact centres are pointing towards multichannel delivery. The operators that integrate their delivery to offer a seamless interface will increase service quality and customer satisfaction while reducing delivery costs.

This summary is just skimming the surface. For anyone facing multichannel service delivery this comprehensive 95 page report is essential reading. Download your copy now:

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University of Ottawa Knowledge Management Software

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University of Ottawa Knowledge Management for Student Services

University of Ottawa (uOttawa) has over 42,000 students, 5,000 employees and 180,000 alumni and has a 97% employment rate for graduates. uOttawa uses the Talisma CRM system and as part of that solution has successfully deployed the KPS Knowledge Management product to enable students and staff to access information regarding student services, accommodation, transport and other general information of relevance to students and staff.

As uOttawa has the first and largest French immersion program among Canadian Universities, KPS’s ability to easily handle French and English languages was a major factor is selecting the KPS Knowledge Management solution.

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What do Local Councils and Financial Institutions have in Common?

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Local Councils and Large Financial Institutions such as Banks are not often brought together, unless you link them through the Icelandic Banking collapse a few years ago.  Seldom are the two linked with any commonalities so what is it that these two very different institutions have in common?  

Unfortunately the Lack of Trust and Poor Customers Services experiences can often link these two different sectors.

 

Lack of Trust & Poor Customer Service brings these sectors together

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that the level of trust in the financial services sector has declined immensely, this is particularly true of the Banking Sector.  Trust or trustworthiness is probably the single most important business asset a company has, especially today when there’s an accelerating pace of technical change, innovation, and economic turbulence.

Pressure to Improve Quality of Service

On top of that, there’s a tremendous increase in the power of social media and word of mouth and how that’s all feeding into the reputation economy. Local councils are also under pressure from Citizens for continually cutting services, particularly from front line services.  When front line services are squeezed so does the reputation that comes with a decline in service level offerings.  Being able to offer good services and having a good service level reputation helps to build trust.

Steps Financial Institutions can take to Rebuild Trust with Customers

There are two requirements for earning trust: intention and competence.  If I’m going to trust you, I have to view your intention as good; that you’re acting in my best interest.  I also have to view you as having the competence to carry this out.  If you have the best intentions in the world but you’re not competent enough for me to trust that you’ll execute well to deliver, then I surely will not get a positive customer experience.

Improving Service Agent Competence – A Matter of Knowledge

Competency and capability in service delivery is intrinsically linked to the knowledge made available to the service agent.  Relying on experienced agents with deep and rich experience is not always possible. Hence, a well organised and segmented knowledge base is a key tool for enhancing service delivery.  One way to achieve this quickly and efficiently is to introduce a knowledge management solution to index and organise existing knowledge at source.  This helps making relevant knowledge available to service agents in ways that ensures ongoing improvements in coverage and usability.

If you want to find out more about our knowledge management software, please contact us >>

 

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Sheffield City Council Knowledge Management Software

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Sheffield City Council Knowledge Management Software Solution for their Contact Centre

Sheffield City Council uses Knowledge Powered Solution’s Knowledge Management Software within their contact centre in order to allow their agents to be able to answer a call first time on a wide range of topics and subjects.

The system is embedded within the councils CRM system, thus gaining the benefits of an integrated approach to their information estate. The contact centre operates phone lines between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

They offer a variety of information about a diverse number of subjects from roads and transport to environment, business, tourism, housing, education and much more for the Citizens of Sheffield.

If you want to find out more about our knowledge management software, please contact us >>

 

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Contact 121 Knowledge Management Software

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Contact 1-2-1 Australia Knowledge Management Software for Business Process Outsourcing

Contact 1-2-1 is a flexible and affordable provider of full-service, multi-media contact and business process outsourcing (BPO) services which includes Knowledge Management Services, complete inbound customer care, inbound sales, outbound survey, and business processing solutions.

With both Australian and international clients, it is ranked as one of Australia’s top contact centre outsourcers.  One of the significant platforms that has contributed to Contact 1-2-1’s on-going success has been the use of the KPS Knowledge Management software within its Contact Centre Services for its Customers for the past decade.

Contact 1-2-1 has partnered with KPS over that time to provide world-class Knowledge Management Services to Contact 1-2-1 and its customers.

 

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