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December 20, 2022

Knowledge management will help you avoid information silos in your contact centre 

The contact centre is where relationships are built with customers – its where customers can be converted into advocates for your brand. 

Consistent, accurate and up to date Information helps customer facing agents make informed decisions quickly when dealing with your customers. However, the information will probably be saved in multiple systems and is unlikely to be connected. This results in information silos and prevents critical knowledge sharing. 

In this blog we will explain what an information silo is? We’ll also look at why information silos happen and steps you can take to prevent them. 

What is an information silo? 

Information silos hold data in a standalone, enclosed space. There may be a few cases where information needs to be siloed e.g., for security reasons, but in most cases, siloed information within a contact centre does more damage than good. When the contact centre is disconnected from the rest of the workplace due to silos, agents will fail to get an understanding of: 

  • The various stages of the customer or client journey 
  • Customer preferences and which channels they use 
  • The kind of language your customers are expecting 

How do information silos occur? 

For many reasons, but they can be categorised into these broad areas: 

Cultural 

  • Competition between departments can cause employees to keep data from each other, rather than working together.  
  • There is little to no communication or collaboration between departments. And because no one has awareness into each other’s efforts or needs, they don’t bother sharing information. 
  • Employees store their information separately because they do not understand how or why it might benefit another department.  

Organisational 

  • Especially in large organisations, data silos can stem from a hierarchy separated by many layers of management and specialised staff. Managers are unaware of other departments’ priorities and objectives and don’t see knowledge sharing as necessary to their efforts.  
  • Many organisations have vertical structures for managing people that rely on hierarchies and authority to push direction from the top-down. Processes, however, do not flow vertically but horizontally across functions and departments as they deliver value to customers.  
  • The pandemic and the rise of remote and hybrid working have led to a wide range of newly disparate teams. These teams can create an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to the flow of knowledge, making silos even worse. 

Technical 

  • Lack of integration between software platforms is a leading cause of silos within contact centres as they continue to rely on legacy systems that lack integration capabilities. These systems hold back innovation and prevent companies from upgrading their customer service experience. 
  • In an organisation, it is widespread practice for different departments to use a wide range of applications. A department may simply not have access to a useful app from another department because it was not bought specifically for them 

Contact centre challenges created by information silos 

Agent Frustration 

When information is not readily available in the contact centre it can result in faulty decision-making based on inaccurate or out-of-date data. This could lead to agent frustration and result in missed deadlines, misplaced priorities, or an outright failure to achieve business goals.  

Inconsistent or negative experiences for customers 

Suppose you have multiple teams engaging with customers, such as marketing, sales, and support. If you do not share information to create one integrated approach or share insight into a specific customers’ needs and pain points, the customer experience becomes difficult and fragmented.  

Duplication of effort  

"Siloed, inaccessible knowledge creates operational risk and leads to duplication of effort” say APQC. Imagine your call centre has an issue experienced by more than one department. Agents are working hard to solve the problem, but thanks to the silo effect, they do not communicate with each other. More time is wasted by separate teams trying to solve the same problem when they could have been collaborating to reach a resolution much faster. 

Missed opportunities for innovation 

Knowledge sharing fosters innovation by giving customer facing teams access to insights and conclusions they may not have otherwise. 

How knowledge management can you break down information silos? 

Establish a sole source of truth for knowledge 

It is crucial you centralise information into one accessible system. Look for a knowledge management platform like KnowledgeIQ that integrates with tools your agents use daily—such as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or chat platform — so they can access knowledge in the flow of work rather than toggling between multiple platforms. 

Establish clear workflows 

Make sure staff know where, when, and how to share information. The more you streamline the knowledge-sharing experience and make it relevant to their efforts, the more likely staff will use this solution. 

Encourage a culture of departmental collaboration 

Customer facing staff should feel comfortable working with other teams and departments to solve problems and meet customers’ needs. Encourage inter-departmental collaboration by fostering those working relationships and giving the entire workforce access to a place where they can easily add, update, or request information from each other. 

Measure progress 

The only way to figure out how well your silo-breaking attempts are working is by measuring progress. To ensure a successful knowledge management implementation, set clear goals, figure out which metrics you will use to measure performance, and get buy-in from the entire organisation. 

The contact centre has a negative reputation for being a “cost centre” within businesses. However, as organisations become increasingly focused on the importance of customer experience for growth, the contact centre has increasingly more value than ever.  

Do not leave your contact centre out in the cold. Remove the silos and start discovering the benefits of a knowledge management system.  Knowledge IQ  will give ownership and confidence to everyone by centralising your sources of information and content creation.  

Want to find out more on how KnowledgeIQ can help you bring together and retain your organisations knowledge. Request a discussion with of our experienced team members today or download or brochure for more information. 

Article written by Toby Milner

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