Magazine article CRM Magazine

10 Signs Your Search Engine's Stalling: Are Your Agents Compensating for Search Engine Incompetence? Then It's Time to Take a Hard Look at Your Knowledge Management Strategy

Magazine article CRM Magazine

10 Signs Your Search Engine's Stalling: Are Your Agents Compensating for Search Engine Incompetence? Then It's Time to Take a Hard Look at Your Knowledge Management Strategy

Article excerpt

If you want to make knowledge management work for your agents, rather than the reverse, take a look at what's really going on as customer interactions unfold in the contact center. At KANA, we make a point of it--seeing how agents search for answers keeps us focused on designing good solutions. And actually, we're very impressed by what some agents do to compensate for the insufficiencies of their KM tools. Unfortunately, these acrobatics are a sure sign that your search engine is stalling--a direct path to inconsistent service and, ultimately, agent and customer attrition.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in your contact center, take it as a call to action: your search engine needs a tune-up!

1. QUERYING WITH MAGIC COOKIES

If your agents are memorizing document IDs or using some other "magic" unrelated to natural search queries to find content, "Houston, your search has a problem."

2. OFF-ROADING TO GOOGLE

If your agents are proudly (or surreptitiously) resorting to Google to get answers, take a hard look at your search tools. Google is good. But if your search engine can't outperform a generic Web search engine--given it has a much tighter domain of content and context, and can be tuned to your goals--you can do better.

3. GAMING LEARNING

Today's search engines are "smart." No doubt--click-stream feedback is a powerful tool for improving search relevance. But, if agents are expending time repeatedly running the same search and clicking on the "right" document to force it to the top of the results list, your search engine isn't learning--it has a learning disability. Search engines shouldn't have to be gamed.

4. USING CLIFF NOTES

We've seen agents use everything from note cards to the backs of their hands to scribble titles and key phrases for frequently utilized content. If your over-achievers have taken to cliff-noting content to prime their searches, the search engine ain't working.

5. PAPER CHASING

Are your agents printing out content, littering their cubes with hard copy? That's just another form of cliff-noting. Using functioning search is easier than a paper chase--not to mention more reliable.

6. DOING THE LINK TANGO

Badly tuned search engines tend to "fixate" on certain content, especially content with lots of links to other content. Smart agents often take advantage of this tendency to click through on anchor articles and then ricochet through the link structure to find the actual content they need. If your agents are doing the 'link tango' for information, you know your agents are great--your search, kaput. …

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