global_knowledge_base_social_customer_serviceWhen was the last time you asked yourself, “how is the social service software I use helping my team’s productivity?” If you’re managing a social customer service team, having client facing resources readily available and easily accessible for your team is essential in ensuring speedy response and handle times.

I’m Krysta Gahagen and, in a past life, I managed social care and engagement for a fast-paced and rapidly growing startup. In that role, I realized that I needed a repository of relevant resources that was always at my fingertips and the built-in knowledge base was one of many reasons I chose Sparkcentral to help me take my team’s social customer service to the next level. Fast forward a few years and here I am, a product marketing manager at Sparkcentral, and passionate about our latest release – the global knowledge base, functionality built to help drive agent productivity.

Our brand values

Sparkcentral is built to improve your customers’ service experiences by enabling your agents to fully resolve support issues in channel and to increase their productivity with a workflow built just for them. What makes our workflow unique and built for customer service teams is that we provide agents with access to contextual information that enables them to respond to customers in a personal and informed way.

We offer routing and prioritization functionality that gets the right message to the right agent in real time, and now (pay attention because this is super important) we make it easier for them to access the information needed to reach customer support issue resolution.

The global knowledge base

Social media is a living and ever-changing medium and you need to be able to keep up with the ebbs and flows of trending topics, your brand’s marketing campaigns and any crises or unexpected disruptions. Simply knowing what your social customer service team is up against isn’t enough; you must arm your agents with the information they need to deliver the best quality of care. And this, my friends, is where Sparkcentral’s new global knowledge base comes into play….

At its most basic, the knowledge base is a way for teams to share needed and often referenced information in a centralized place. Customer service gents can use the knowledge base resources to provide customers with information and get responses to them quickly. What separates Sparkcentral’s new knowledge base from the rest is that it is customizable and built to make your team more productive than ever. Instead of taking a “one size fits all” approach, we built it to support use cases specific to social care needs.

Social customer service can be broken down into serving three types of use cases: ongoing service needs (i.e., shipping updates for retail businesses, flight status for airlines, etc), planned events and campaigns (i.e., marketing campaigns, product launches, known outages, etc), and unplanned events (i.e., crises, weather issues, delays, etc). Therefore it makes sense to have a knowledge base that surfaces relevant customer facing information to your agents in the same way. The Sparkcentral knowledge base makes it easy for teams and managers to access information related to these use cases and make adjustments as needed.

  • Ongoing

Ongoing content includes the resources that are used consistently by your team and do not often change. For example, an airline might add a snippet like, “I will share your kudos with the flight crew,” or a financial services company could provide a link to download their app. Short-term resources are resources that are not enduring or everlasting for your brand but are going to be frequently referenced for a certain amount of time.

  • Planned

Marketing campaigns, seasonal promotions and sales are great examples of what is considered a short-term planned resource in the knowledge base. As a T-Mobile customer, I’ve been participating in their weekly Tuesday giveaways and see a lot of my fellow customers reaching out with questions about that or the new iPhone – both great examples of planned resources. For an airline, customer service managers can set up planned resources around news such as announcing a new flight destination or a flight sale.

  • Unplanned

Include references and resources in the knowledge base that can be used during times of crisis. Incidents and escalations frequently rear their ugly heads without warning on social media. Airlines have emergency protocol and IROPs procedures which can be added to your knowledge base in advance but updated and customized quickly during a crisis. If your brand experiences a security breach (the kind of thing which I would never, ever wish on any company), you have to get your team access to the right messaging and resources so they can guide customers through a time of great uncertainty. Your managers need a way to quickly distribute and share resources pertaining to moments of crisis and your knowledge base should enable this.

Customer Service Knowledge BaseKnowledge base best practices

The knowledge base is most effective when it includes the most heavily used resources like links, snippets and longer form articles. This means that teams using a forum or that have extensive existing resources can benefit from paring down those resources to the ones that will be most frequently used on social. If you’re like me and want to add every resource your team might need, the knowledge base is organized so resources exist in an easy to access format with search functionality built in, so there isn’t a limit on what your knowledge base contains.

I’ll even share a secret with you – the first place I looked when deciding which resources either needed to be added or updated was reporting. If you look at what the inbound conversations are about and where your team is struggling to provide amazing outbound resolution, you’ll have a very clear idea of where to get started.

In addition to the resources you add to your knowledge base, we’ve included the option to create a personal collection of resources. This feature allows agents to save their frequently used responses and the replies they want to use again in the future – all without disrupting the rest of the resources used by your team. The personal collection is a favorite with agents who use Sparkcentral to support their customers, since it’s so easy to use like the rest of the knowledge base, but also personalized just for them!

The knowledge base works well for all social care teams, but particularly for those that have multiple departments working together or those whose agents work remotely. The knowledge base is tailored to surface information that agents can use to improve response time and quality. It’s also really easy to manage from an administrator’s standpoint!

What’s the impact of having a knowledge base built this way?

The value of delivering effortless customer service is clear and CEB Contact Center research shows that customers are 4x more likely to become disloyal after a service interaction that places the burden of work on them to get an issue resolved. Part of providing low-effort customer service over social is making this easy not only for your customers but for your agents as well. Setting up and utilizing the knowledge base according to the use cases and best practices identified above will aid in improving response times and the quality of those responses, increasing agent happiness and delivering an amazing customer experience.

Have comments, questions or want to learn more about the Sparkcentral Global Knowledge base? We’d love to hear from you, let’s chat!

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