6 Ways Knowledge Management Drastically Improves B2B Customer Service
More than 80% of B2B buyers today expect a customer experience on par with B2C experiences. And if they don’t get the customer service experience they are looking for, they will likely take their business elsewhere.
Rising customer expectations are only one factor. Enterprise customer service departments are under pressure from other directions, too. Products and services are growing increasingly complex, and manufacturing competition is intensifying. On top of that, customer interactions are spread across more channels than ever before.
That’s why effective knowledge management is vital in today’s manufacturing landscape. Success depends on the right combination of knowledge base management and information management for customer service. Bottom-line results are made by implementing best practices in knowledge management strategies.
B2B customer expectations are rising, and so are their demands
B2B customers today are increasingly informed and discerning. They have higher expectations of B2B customer service agents. They want faster response times and personalized support. Most of all, they want their issues to be resolved immediately.
This high sense of urgency puts greater pressure on B2B customer service departments. They need to deliver high-quality service consistently. As customer needs grow and evolve, the customer experience needs to adapt too.
Companies that don’t meet these demands may jeopardize their business relationships. B2B customers are ready to switch suppliers to gain a better experience.
B2B products and services are growing in complexity
Rapid innovation and a rising pace of technological advancements lead to better products and services. But they also increase complexity in what B2B companies are selling.
That means customer inquiries are also more complex, making them more challenging to solve. For that reason, B2B customer service representatives need to possess up-to-date knowledge and expertise. They need access to accurate and comprehensive knowledge management systems.
Digital transformation is creating new B2B customer service challenges
A few years ago, B2B decision-makers used an average of five channels to interact with suppliers. Today, the average number of channels has doubled to 10. That dramatic shift has created new challenges for customer service departments.
For example, B2B customers are now more likely to communicate via video conference or web chat rather than meeting in person. But they still expect the same seamless experience across all touchpoints.
Customer service departments must now navigate more channels and tools. Knowledge management strategies must adapt to keep pace.
Inadequate knowledge management directly impacts the bottom line
Without effective knowledge management, B2B customer service suffers. Customer issues aren’t resolved in a timely fashion. This leads to inefficiencies, a heavier workload for support teams, and frustrated customers.
As customer satisfaction drops, customer loyalty suffers. This causes increased churn as dissatisfied customers turn to competitors. The lost revenue can significantly impact a company’s bottom line.
Stories about poor customer service spread rapidly on social media. They can even go viral and tarnish a company’s brand reputation. That can hamper efforts to strengthen existing relationships. Attracting new clients by word-of-mouth can become more complex too.
6 ways knowledge management helps provide better B2B customer service
1. Shorter resolution times and higher resolution rates
With effective knowledge management strategies, customer service representatives can access information more easily. This reduces the workload on support teams, making it more likely they will resolve issues at the first contact. Plus, it takes less time. Having that contextual knowledge readily available reduces the time to answer by 20% to 80%.
2. Greater customer satisfaction and increased loyalty
B2B customer service departments with well-managed knowledge systems help increase customer retention. That’s because customers are more satisfied when they get quicker and more accurate support. That has a halo effect on loyalty, too. Happy customers are less likely to switch to the competition. And they are more likely to maintain long-term business relationships. They are also more likely to recommend the company to their network. That can help drive business growth and profitability.
3. Improved cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
Customer service agents who have more knowledge at their fingertips will offer more solutions to their B2B customers. They gain a greater understanding of the needs of individual customers. They also develop a more in-depth knowledge of their company’s full range of products and services. They can identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities and provide personalized recommendations. That leads to higher revenue as well as greater customer satisfaction.
4. Streamlined onboarding and training processes
When new hires can easily access a comprehensive knowledge base, it flattens their learning curve. This allows new B2B customer service representatives to get up to speed faster and provide better quality service from day one. It also streamlines training efforts and keeps existing employees in the loop.
5. Increased productivity for remote and hybrid workers
Good knowledge management enhances the capabilities of remote workers. They can access a complete knowledge base of the company’s products and services from anywhere. This boosts productivity and makes remote workers more effective.
6. Enhanced collaboration across teams
Effective knowledge management facilitates easy access to information. B2B customer service agents can collaborate with product managers and other team members. Having one central knowledge repository makes the entire process simpler. Users can create, share, and update articles and documentation. Employees can share insights and learn from each other’s experiences. This also improves customer service quality.
5 strategies for improving knowledge management in B2B customer service
1. Create a central repository for knowledge
Establish a central repository for your company’s knowledge to give B2B customer service agents access to all the information they need. Go through the data discovery process to identify where all of your documentation lives. This might require in-depth discovery efforts. Use the results to build your central knowledge base. Make sure it offers a user-friendly interface with advanced search capabilities.
2. Encourage employees to share their expertise
To build a better knowledge base, offer rewards or recognition to team members who contribute. Incentivize employees to input their knowledge. This fosters a culture of continuous sharing. It also creates a more knowledgeable and effective customer support team.
3. Establish regular training and development programs
Implement regular training programs to keep your customer service teams engaged and informed. All customer service agents should be trained in knowledge management methodology. This includes how to create documentation, access it, and review it. Ensure employees have everything they need to provide the best support to B2B customers.
4. Regularly review and revise your knowledge base
To keep your knowledge base up-to-date, it’s important to make changes as needed. Articles and information should be checked for relevance and redundancy. Information should be updated to reflect any changes in products, services, or policies. Knowledge management leaders should establish guidelines for updating and organizing the content. They can also use this review process to improve the knowledge management system.
5. Consistently optimize using data-driven insights
Use data-driven insights to refine your knowledge management strategies. Monitor and analyze performance metrics. This may include response times, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores. Assessing these metrics can help you identify opportunities for improvement. This helps ensure that your knowledge management system remains relevant and effective.
Effective knowledge management is the key to quality B2B customer service
The success of B2B customer service departments hinges on effective knowledge management strategies. Businesses that invest in knowledge base management can transform their B2B customer service departments.
Resolution times and rates improve. Customer satisfaction and loyalty increases. Cross-selling and upselling opportunities add additional revenue streams. The overall effect positively impacts a company’s bottom line.
Businesses can drive more than just customer satisfaction by investing in information management for customer service. B2B companies prioritizing knowledge management can set themselves apart in the competitive landscape. They can build long-lasting business relationships that drive long-term profitability and growth by providing exceptional enterprise customer service.