Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Power of Knowledge

Your contact center agents must be available and equipped with the knowledge they need to handle customer issues quickly and efficiently.

However, with the explosion of new channels such as Internet, social media, and mobile computing, many companies lack the tools and processes required to empower their employees to deliver great customer experience.

Organizations struggle with static, siloed knowledge systems that not only provide redundant, often inaccurate information, but are costly to maintain.

Companies that have invested in creating a Powerful State of Knowledge are delivering great customer experiences, which translate into sustainable growth and profitability.

To achieve powerful state of knowledge, companies must be able to:

1. Establish a single knowledge base. Consolidate your knowledge into one single source of truth and make it available to agents and customers across your web site, mobile, and social channels. Tie knowledge to analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to present valuable content and address information gaps. This new level of visibility makes it easy for agents to:
  • Update knowledge
  • Identify potential customer issues
  • Provide fast, accurate resolution
If you become driven by market demand for enhanced self-help services and internal demand for efficient productivity improvements, you can transform your customer and employee support systems, taking your existing separate knowledge repositories and establishing one central cross-channel knowledge base. This solution will help to raise efficiency and reduce the cost-per-call of your agents, and it will also improve the quality of the customer support you provide to your customers.

2. Social media has evolved knowledge management from static data residing in a structured database to dynamic, unstructured data created in every social interaction. As a result, you must monitor customers’ social conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to analyze sentiment and prioritize and respond to service issues.

3. Not many organizations are using traditional knowledge base technology. Instead, many are attempting to embrace the chaos that Big Data, social media, and the move to the cloud create, yet they still face challenges bringing it all together to make the most out of the information.

Unified indexing and insight technology enables just that - tapping into full knowledge ecosystems and providing support agents, employees and customers with contextually relevant information. This unprecedented access to actionable insight has helped companies achieve dramatic results, such as a 30%+ reduction in case resolution time, 10%+ increase in customer self-service satisfaction and more.

The need to make the most of organizational knowledge, to get as much value from it as possible is greater now than ever before. Organizations of all sizes are finding themselves with overwhelming amounts of information, often locked away in silos--different systems, different departments, different geographies and different data types, making it impossible to connect the dots and make sense of critical business information.

Traditional KM initiatives have considered knowledge a transferable commodity that can be stored in a system of record and used mechanically. Yet, in reality, knowledge goes beyond data and information, and is personal and contextual.

Data is factual information measurements, statistics, or facts. In and of itself, data provides limited value. It must be organized into information before it can be interpreted. Information is data in context organized, categorized or condensed. Knowledge is a human capability to process information to make decisions and take action.

The building blocks of knowledge are everywhere, fragmented, complex, unstructured, and often outside the systems of record (in the cloud, in social media, etc.). The key is to bring it all together, and presenting it in context to users.

Unified indexing and insight technology is the way that forward thinking companies access knowledge and experts. The technology brings content into context--assembling fragments of structured and unstructured information on demand and presenting it, in context, to users.

Designed for the enterprise, unified indexing and insight technology is built to bring together data from heterogeneous systems (e.g. email, databases, CRM, ERP, social media, etc.), locations (cloud and on-premise), and varied data formats of business today, It securely crawls those sources, unifies the information in a central index, normalizes information and performs mash-ups on demand.

The technology can be context-aware, relying on the situation of the user to anticipate and proactively offer enriched, usable content directly related to the situation at hand such as solutions, articles, experts, etc. from across the vast and growing ecosystem.

Best Practices for a Higher Return on Knowledge

Bringing relevant content to your agents and customers will increase productivity, create happier employees and drive higher customer satisfaction. Follow these best practices to achieve a higher return on knowledge:

1. Consolidate the knowledge ecosystem. Bring together information from enterprise systems, data sources, employee and customer social networks, social media, etc. Connect overwhelming amount of enterprise and social information.

2. Connect people to knowledge in context. Connect users to the information they need, no matter where it resides, within their context and in real-time.

3. Connect people to experts in context. Connect the people associated with the contextually relevant content to assist in solving a case, answer a key challenge or provide additional insight to a particular situation.

4. Personalize information access. Present employees and customers with information and people connections that are relevant, no matter where they are, and no matter what they are working on.

Investing in the creation of a powerful state of knowledge builds a defensible advantage in delivering great customer experiences. Those experiences lead to sustainable growth and profitability by driving customer acquisition, customer retention, and operational efficiency.

Service and support agents can solve cases faster. No longer do agents need to search across multiple systems or waste time trying to find the right answer or someone who knows the answer. They will have relevant information about the customer or case at hand right at their fingertips: suggested solutions, recommended knowledge base articles, similar cases, experts who can help, virtual communication timelines, etc.

Customers can solve complex challenges on their own. Logging in to customer self-service, customers will see a personalized and relevant view of information form the entire knowledge ecosystem (from inside or outside your company) intuitively presented so that they can solve their own challenges.

Employees can stop reinventing the wheel. When every employee can access relevant information, locate experts across the enterprise, and know what does and does not exist, they can finally stop reinventing the wheel.

Galaxy Consulting has 16 years experience in this area. We have done this for few companies and we can do the same for you.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Personalization in Content Management

Content personalization in content management makes your users' experience more rewarding. Content personalization targets specific content to specific people. One simple example is showing code samples to developers and whitepapers to business users.

Segment Your Users

The first step to delivering a personalized customer experience is to segment your visitors so you can present them with what’s most relevant to them.

Any good personalization strategy starts with a fundamental understanding of your customer’s behavior, needs and goals. Upfront research goes a long way to building out the personas and having the insight from which to develop an approach to personalization. This may already be gathered through ongoing customer insight or voice of the customer programs, or be more ad hoc and project based. Regardless of the approach, be sure that any approach to personalization is grounded in a solid understanding of your users.

The next step in the process is to define the audience goals and objectives so you can know if the personalization efforts are successful. These may include top-line key performance indicators such as conversion rate or online sales, or be more specific to the personalization scenarios (i.e. landing page bounce rate). Try to be specific as possible and ensure that your measures of success directly relate to the areas of focus for your personalization efforts impact.

Personalize Your Content

In order to provide personalized content, it is necessary to determine which content is most effective for each audience segment. This content mapping process can be done alongside the audience segmentation model to ensure you have the right content for the right user at the right stage. If we use the business users and developers example from above, we can personalize the home page for the developers segment to talk about things related to the technology and how it can be extended while we serve business users with information related to how they can achieve their goals using this solution.

The biggest mistake organizations make with personalization is thinking too big and getting overwhelmed before they even start. It is exhausting to even start thinking about how to deliver the right message to the right person at every single interaction. Starting with a few specific personalization scenarios can help you more rapidly adopt the processes and technology and see what works on a small scale before expanding.

Here are a few example rules-based scenarios for an insurance company:
  • If a user in a specific region of the United States visits the site, show them regionally specific rates and agent information.
  • If a user has shown a specific interest in a vehicle, show images and offers that include that vehicle.
  • If a user is an existing customer (as identified through specific site actions or e-mail campaigns) feature tools and content that help them maintain their relationship with you.
  • If a user has already subscribed to the newsletter, replace the subscribe to newsletter call-out with a different offer or high value piece of content.
As you begin to think about the overall customer journey and digital experience, this list of scenarios is going to be far more detailed. However, it should not be more complicated than is necessary to accomplish the organizational goal of making it easier for audience segments to achieve their objectives while having the best possible user experience.

The process of content mapping and scenario planning will inevitably surface holes in the inventory of your existing content. Obviously, they will need to be filled. This will require some combination of recreating existing content for different audiences in addition to generating some which is completely new. Not to mention the ongoing process of updating and managing these content variations based on what’s working and what’s not.

Personalization in CMS

It would help to develop a content model and taxonomy for your CMS that is aligned to your audience segmentation approach. By tagging content appropriately you can often automate many areas of personalization. For example, display all white papers from a specific vertical industry.

Regardless of what tool is used to manage all of this complexity, it will require custom configuration. Some systems are naturally more user friendly than others but none of them come out of the box knowing your audience segments, content mapping, and scenarios. All of this information, once determined and defined, will need to be entered to the system.

Rules-based configuration is the most common type of work you’ll do with a CMS which is literally going through a series of "If, Then" statements to tell the CMS what content to show to what users. It’s important to have someone inside your organization or agency partner that owns the product strategy for personalization and can ensure it is consistently applied and within the best practices for that specific platform.

Sitefinity content management system has a simple interface for defining segments through various criteria such as where the visitor came from, what they searched for, their location, duration of their visit, etc. You can define custom criteria and have any combination of AND/OR criteria to define your segments.

Testing Your Personalization

Once your audience and content plans are sorted out and the technology is configured, it is time to test the experience from the perspective of each segment and scenarios within segments. You should test each variation on multiple browsers and mobile devices.

Some CMS allow to impersonate to test your results. For example, Sitefinity allows you to impersonate any segment and preview the customer experience on any device with the help of the mobile device emulators. This way you can be sure how your website looks like for every audience on any device.

Measure the Results

After you’ve segmented your audiences, personalized their experience and checked how your website/portal/CMS is presented for different audiences on different devices you should see the results of your work. They can be measured by the conversions and other website KPIs for the different segments compared to the default presentation for non-segmented visitors or to the KPIs prior to the personalization. Measuring will help you iterate and improve the results further.

Going forward it will be possible to revise previous assumptions with new information which is substantially more valid. Using the built-in analytics within your CMS or third party analytics, you’ll be able to watch how each segment interacts with the personalized content and if it was effective.

Galaxy Consulting successfully implemented content personalization for few clients. We can do the same for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.