Knowledge management is a key ingredient of effective and successful customer service. But transforming information into knowledge is tough. As customer service needs steadily grow, many Salesforce Knowledge users find their specific contact center requirements outgrowing the tool’s features.
When and why should you switch to a solution specifically designed for customer service departments?
Why Companies Choose Salesforce Knowledge
Salesforce is the leader in CRM software and around 1 in 4 organizations in the United States use their CRM. Its knowledge module is included free in read-only mode which means every user can access articles.
That’s great but those articles still have to be created. This requires purchasing editor licenses for those who will be contributing or maintaining data.
You’ve Got the Salesforce Knowledge Base, Now What?
Before diving in, you need to define roles and rights for your customer service team. With Salesforce Knowledge, you have two basic options:
- Author (can create, change, maintain)
- Reader (read-only)
The apparent simplicity is actually the first challenge in a large call center environment. It’s easy to get approval for a few extra licenses because:
- Upfront costs are low
- The system is already in place
- No new vendors need to be evaluated
However, this license model creates a long term hurdle to collaboration, quality control and knowledge sharing. Why is that a problem?
"Organizations possess lots of data... siloed inside disconnected applications, and unavailable to employees at their moments of need" - Forrester | July 2018
Let’s say you have 50 people in your contact center. Will you have 50 editors? We hope not!
But you should have at least 40 contributors and ideally 50!
The people using your data the most and with their fingers on the pulse of customer issues need to be contributing. They are are exactly the employees best suited to provide valuable feedback and new articles to your knowledge base. Your editors are there for quality control and style.
Therefore, the seemingly small license issue is actually a long-term roadblock in customer support that limits agents from even leaving feedback.
Knowledge base article feedback and active agent participation are key requirements for quality control and continual improvement. While add-ons are available to leave feedback, they are limited and not highly rated.
5 Things Happen when Users Can’t Contribute Knowledge
What happens when management decides to only pay for a few author licenses?
- Feedback drops
- Agent buy-in decreases
- Contributions are routed via email, word documents, post it notes and more
- Article quality declines over time
- The editorial backlog increases
No single problem will immediately set off alarms or red flags. But together they will slowly drag your customer service quality down along with your KPIs.
Challenges in Salesforce Knowledge - The Cost of Free
For use in customer support scenarios, contact centers typically see a number of challenges as they grow including:
- Bottlenecks in article creation and improvement
- Lack of guided troubleshooting (decision trees)
- Difficulty creating custom editorial processes
- Sharing data externally (e.g. via social media, email, Facebook Messenger, chatbots)
- Chatbot integrations
- Limited attachment sizes
- Automatic document review dates
- Not possible to assign documents to multiple categories
Salesforce Knowledge is a great place to start with knowledge management, particularly for smaller customer service departments already using the CRM and without a large volume of data. It also provides an excellent basis for switching to another tool later on.
“Salesforce Knowledge was fine as a starting point, but when you need a professional knowledge base, talk to Unymira.”
Time to launch is short and the product is already integrated with your CRM. But when it’s time to scale up or deploy it to hundreds or even thousands of agents, you’ll get more power from an integrated solution like USU Knowledge Management.
Its focus on customer support use cases and maturity over many years of development make it the best tool for the job.
Finally, it enables support departments to take control to shape and customize the knowledge base to their needs instead of relying on admins and product support.
It’s Not You It’s Me - Salesforce Integrations to the Rescue
According to Salesforce, 88% of their users have at least one third-party app installed and 89% of the Fortune 100 uses them. The AppExchange is not merely an add-on or extra. It is a cornerstone of the Salesforce platform with over 150,000 unique customers and the leading SaaS marketplace in the world.
Integrations enable you to combine the most powerful tools for each business need in a single platform and interface. That means sales gets the best CRM on the market and customer support gets the best knowledge base for their needs.
“It’s just been six weeks, but the impact is being felt. Primarily, we see a much faster turnaround on production of knowledge. Documents initiated by the editorial team members now reach publication quickly. We have also been able to reduce the cycle time required for document review with Knowledge Center’s automated workflows.” - ResMed
Migration is Easier than you Think
While the “m word” is often feared, coming from Salesforce Knowledge makes life easy. Article types are clearly structured as well as data fields. This means mapping them to a new system is considerably easier than importing a mix of Word documents, text files and PDFs which is often the case for those starting from scratch.
Once your documents and fields are mapped, a migration script can be created and run by the vendor’s implementation team and everything brought into the new system.
Carmen began her career at USU in 2016 first at their European headquarters and now in the United States. She graduated from California State University and has lived in Australia, Germany and America. She currently lives in Boston and is focused on knowledge management, particularly in the Salesforce ecosystem.