Are Support Systems Way Off-Base? Web 2.0 Technology Leaves Many Companies' Knowledge Base Systems in the Dust

Article excerpt

Contact center agents have to handle a lot of data--and have to funnel it fast to handle customer requests. A knowledge base (KB) can act as a crystal ball to solve issues, but one industry analyst says it's not enough in the developing space of knowledge management (KM).

In a recent Service & Support Professionals Association (SSPA) survey, 30 percent of respondents claimed to have an internally developed agent KB system, while an additional 19 percent reported using the KB capabilities in an existing CRM system. John Ragsdale, vice president of research for the SSPA, says these results are shocking. "The conclusions are a huge 'a-ha!' moment for me," he admits. "People were responding that they couldn't find the content they need. Now I understand why everyone is having this issue: So many are still storing knowledge bases on CRM systems." Ragsdale argues that companies are far too reliant on CRM knowledge bases. KBs included for free with CRM software, he says, are not an ideal solution for large amounts of data because they do not support complex data categorization, search and retrieval, automated maintenance options, or concept-level analysis. Ragsdale says that the CRM knowledge bases are a good start, but a poor long-term strategy: After one to two years, companies should invest in a more specialized system. Vendors offering agent-facing KB solutions include ATG, Help-stream, InQuira, Kaidara, Kana, Knova, RightNow Technologies, and Talisma (now an nGenera company).

Ragsdale says that many companies are building new search technology atop an old knowledge base to better find content in the system. "That's a good work around for the problem," he says. …