Any job you have will require you to learn something; whether it is a new process, a new piece of information or a new skill in its entirety. This can be difficult without the right support and the whole picture. Providing the right support and advice for Live Chat Experts is part of my role as Knowledge Manager at The Chat Shop. We know that no two clients are the same and this could not be any clearer than in the information agents must understand when we start working together.
Effectively handling the information we receive is crucial for us to fully understand their business, services and clients. To manage this information effectively, we use an internal Knowledge Base (KB), and as part of my role I collate the information on each client into an effective, resourceful and accessible space. The whole KB is actually a collection of individual Knowledge Bases - one for each and every client.
The KB serves as the main information centre for agents, in all aspects of their career with The Chat Shop. It is an ever changing, ever developing space that enables our team to be an extension of our client’s team. It isn’t just myself that’s involved in managing the KB. Our Operations Director, Account Managers, Clients, Team Managers, Team Leaders and Agents all play important roles. The KB is a premium tool that requires our commitment...our commitment to maintaining it as an efficient and powerful tool.
Combining an organised Knowledge Base with agents who excel at providing high quality chats using their unique personalities enables us to provide the best service in the market, resulting in a 98% customer satisfaction rating.
At The Chat Shop, our Live Chat Experts work on multiple clients at once, providing a different kind of service and using a different knowledge set for every client. This might seem like an impossible task but this level of information management and dissemination is made possible by the Knowledge Base.
Our agents can work up to three concurrent chats from any client on their team, while keeping the highest standards of chat quality, conversion and satisfaction.
Key to success
In business, knowledge can be one of the biggest keys to success. Knowledge has to be applied correctly however, and with the right agents and a powerful Knowledge Base, which we know we have, the end product is superb service. Agents are trained to effectively utilise the vast source of information that they are provided.
Providing quality responses in 32 seconds and 98% customer satisfaction isn’t an easy job. With new clients and new information from existing clients being added daily - it can be an even more daunting task. This is why the KB’s main objective is to effectively show the information that agents need when they need it. The technology must make the information easily accessible and our people and processes must make sure that information remains up to date. This helps to provide an outcome that is positive for all involved, for the customer, who gets an excellent service; the agent, who is motivated by having the opportunity to excel at their job; and our clients, who are confident in the knowledge that we can represent them effectively.
"The Knowledge of all things is possible" - Da Vinci
The KB we use is an internal one, and can be compared to an intranet system. The benefit of a KB is that rather than just a collection of files displayed in folder upon folder layout, the KB can be designed to suit the exact needs of the agents and that particular client.
Information can be stored as simple text or can be expressed interactively to become more engaging. You may think a KB is just a place to store FAQs but it’s far from that. While our KB does contain some basic FAQs on all of our clients, this is not all that is in there. Our KB is comprised of two main types of pages; client pages and dashboards.
A client page contains all relevant information points required, consisting of: tables, matrices, updates, a client specific EIM structure, rss feeds and the latest client updates. All of this is structured in a design that makes the information usable and navigationable. The more information we have on a client, the more information agents can draw on when completing a chat, meaning they are less likely to be ‘caught out’ if an uncommon question comes up.
The dashboards are slightly different and vary in content but look to provide agents with a snapshot of important links, basic chat stats, tips and top-level information they may need at a glance.
The core idea is that the KB is a premium tool we have developed over time so we can collect a vast amount of key information that allows us to represent all of our clients as if it was them doing the chats themselves. It provides the knowledge and understanding for agents to become an extension of our clients’ teams.
Keeping it organised
With no limit on how much information can be added to the KB, it is important that when new information comes in, it is added in a way that keeps it clear and structured. We have set processes for when a new client joins us. Once we have received the information we need from them a new page is created and populated. Our Knowledge Base includes over 200 points of information per client.
The page will be used for training purposes, so that all agents have a full understanding of the content before we go live on the client’s website. This enables the agents to get used to the information as well as request any other information they think they may find helpful for offering a better service.
Our KB is regularly updated, not just from a technical perspective (more on that in a sec), but also to reflect client updates. Agents need the most up-to-date marketing and product details in order to effectively service customers and sell.
When we receive a new update from a client, myself and the Team Leader will make sure that it is added to the most effective part of the client’s Knowledge Base. We’ll also notify the relevant team of the update, via Slack and email, to make sure they are aware of and understand the addition.
This process happens on a daily basis and means the KB is developing at a healthy rate; information in the KB must always be relevant.
The Knowledge Base is completely different now to when I first joined The Chat Shop in 2013. As the number of clients and employees have grown, new approaches have had to be adopted so the knowledge remains clear cut and accessible. In this time we have seen a few redesigns of the KB. This is needed so the KB can still serve its purpose to the agents who form the center of our business. The technology has had to evolve as quickly as the information contained in it.
"I am still learning" - Michelangelo
The reason that the Knowledge Base evolves is simply that it has to. We grow with our clients; as their needs change the KB allows us to adapt with them and creates an environment in which we continuously excel on their behalf. We want to constantly improve our service too; we haven’t settled at 32 second response times and 98% customer satisfaction.
A lot of the information contained in our KB is requested by our team. Our agents want to have a full picture of the company they are chatting on behalf of, so that they truly can be an extension of their team. These proactive steps allow the ongoing maintenance, development and improvement of the KB so it can be an even more effective, competent and powerful tool.
The amount of client information we possess is testament to our commitment to continue providing outstanding service. The data is deserving of a space that both acknowledges the importance of the contents and its need to be structured in a presentable manner...culminating in exceptional service. The success that we provide our clients with is established by the KB and is excelled by our Live Chat Experts, delivering high quality conversations.
If you're interested in finding out what all of this knowledge allows us to achieve, check out our How we can help page. An in-depth Knowledge Base fuels our sales enablement and customer service greatness.