Your support agents may not be sharing knowledge—here’s why
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
Your agents’ knowledge is invaluable to your team’s performance and yet, they may feel reluctant to share that information with the rest of the team. What do we mean by sharing knowledge?
One of your agents is a product expert in billing. He writes an FAQ or a how-to guide with helpful tips for solving a payment issue and publishes it in a central place, the knowledge base, where every agent has viewing privileges. By making his experience accessible for any support team member at any time or place, the agent is knowledge sharing.
Knowledge sharing has several advantages (faster access to articles that help customers, up-to-date information, etc.), but still, your team isn’t necessarily on board. We’ve listed out a few reasons why your agents may not be sharing knowledge:
Agents don’t have time
Agents may feel it’s too time-consuming to write an article about a recent customer issue they faced and how they solved it– especially if support tickets are piling up and they still need to accomplish certain tasks during the week.
When another agent comes along with the same issue and doesn’t know how to solve it, they’ll have to figure out a solution from scratch; wasting time, money, and energy on something that already has a workable solution.
The fix: Gather the team and create a set of ambitious objectives and key results (OKRs), a goal-setting technique that will help the team commit, focus, and track what matters most (in this case it’s knowledge sharing). With OKRs the team can stay aligned towards your objective and hold themselves accountable to reach set goals. After choosing a few OKRs, take the next step: carve out a certain amount of time each week or month where agents focus on creating content for the knowledge base. Support leaders can go into analytics dashboards and pick out times when support volume is low. Make it a team-wide knowledge sharing marathon for an hour or so.
When managers provide the team dedicated time to prioritize knowledge sharing, agents can better manage their daily workloads to accomplish their content goals.
They don’t know how to share or access knowledge
If agents were hired during busier quarters they might not have been trained in sharing and accessing knowledge. In these scenarios, agents may want to share knowledge and benefit from others’ expertise, but don’t know how to contribute or access this information.
The fix: Organize regular training sessions or webinars on the best ways for employees to pass on their expertise. Get technical and show them how to best use your knowledge-sharing platform and which types of content adds the most value to the team. Make these pieces of training available through your organization’s internal knowledge base so anyone can watch whenever’s convenient.
Once agents learn how to effectively share information, the information that was once siloed will become available to all agents. This will enable the team to do more to help customers and the company succeed by sharing the right resources.
There’s no official knowledge-sharing platform
How can agents share information if they don’t have one accessible, updated source for knowledge?
The fix: Start by enlisting an owner for a knowledge-sharing strategy. You may want to choose a support team member who believes in the benefits and can convince top management of the need for a knowledge-sharing platform. Have the owner and support team gather and organize all the content they have in one place so it’s available to everyone - this is the first step towards building a knowledge-sharing strategy.
You can and should go back to your customer journey map to understand customers’ knowledge gaps, see whether you have content to address their gaps, and if not, come up with content ideas. When reexamining the customer journey map, find out customers’ most common questions and which pages are most popular based on site traffic. Here's a quick reminder on how to create an effective customer journey map.
After taking stock of existing content and gaps within the customer journey map, group content into buckets so when everything is published, agents can go right to the correct category and find what they need. Finally, choose a knowledge management software that meets the support organization’s needs (easily accessible for agents, intuitive, promotes team collaboration, fits within budget, and helps agents stay consistent in their replies).
By building out a knowledge sharing platform, agents will have one organized place to contribute and access how-to articles or common issues so they can deliver fast, consistent replies. This also prevents customers from receiving inaccurate information from different team members.
Some aren’t convinced of the importance of knowledge sharing
Agents usually have full days resolving tickets in their queues especially during rushes, so even if they know how to share knowledge, it can fall to the bottom of their list. Your agents may even feel they can get along without sharing knowledge for the most part.
The fix: Support leaders can demonstrate why knowledge sharing is an important part of the support team’s goals and present a unified push for the practice. Give agents realistic scenarios where a knowledge base would help them become more efficient at their jobs. Or, share examples of how other companies used the strategy to help agents answer tickets faster with more accurate responses, have more time for VIP customers, and contribute towards meeting team goals.
Support leaders can also share their experiences with knowledge sharing and how it helped them succeed. Emphasize that this is a team effort. Everyone regardless of their role will create and share knowledge and everyone is responsible for making the practice successful.
Agents are unsure of their knowledge
Support team members may feel reluctant to share their knowledge if they fear they’ll accidentally share the wrong information or that their knowledge is outdated or irrelevant. Especially for new team members, it may feel intimidating for agents to share their experiences or provide a new process for a support issue. They may feel they’re still learning and can’t contribute as much now.
The fix: Encourage knowledge sharing from the moment agents onboard and get the entire team involved so they can teach each other best practices. Provide feedback early and often so that if employees are unsure or have questions they can move forward with confidence. Continuously review or update training every so often and set up a process where agents speak to support leaders for ideas, tips, and feedback.
Stress that their knowledge could help the team discover new ideas for refining the CX, meet goals such as improving first-response time, and learn new strategies from top performers so they’re always striving towards great customer support.
Improve agents’ performance with knowledge sharing
Whether it’s because they don’t have time, it’s not a priority, there’s confusion around content creation, or they are unsure of their knowledge, support leaders can address these roadblocks and realign the team on knowledge sharing goals.
Start by making content creation as easy as possible. Emphasize the reason your team is spending resources on knowledge sharing and train agents on best practices. Once support leaders get agents to start sharing knowledge, team members can deliver faster, more consistent support, understand their customers better, and continuously improve their performance.