At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major airline transitioned its customer support staff and many other members of the organization to work from home (WFH). In a remote work arrangement, digital tools such as a knowledge base became critical for problem resolutions, maintaining consistent service levels, and serving as a knowledge repository.
The knowledge base contained articles outlining key processes, procedures, and information, such as the latest campaign offers, for assisting members of the client’s loyalty program to ensure members received accurate information and had a consistent experience. Our business focuses mainly on caring for the customers by ensuring that all issues, challenges, or concerns that they raise to us are resolved. Ensuring that our agents have easy access to relevant and up-to-date information increases the chance of resolving our customers’ concerns in a timely manner, which in turn increases customer satisfaction. Additionally, having a centralized repository not only ensures proper resolution, it also means that information we give are consistent and are according to TTEC and client standards.
However, associates that supported certain sectors within the loyalty program such as business rewards and refunds/ticket reissues were not required or trained to use the InQuire knowledge base. In fact, a content audit revealed that many of the agents deemed the knowledge base unnecessary and cumbersome.
Prior to working from home, the agents could rely on team leaders and subject matter experts to provide fast answers and support in person. The remote working arrangement, however, made it more challenging for the support team to identify agents who were struggling with certain calls or procedures. It was imperative that all agents in the loyalty program utilized the knowledge base to avoid a lag in service as agents searched for information or potentially provided outdated information, and other risks.
We launched a multi-step approach to increase utilization of the knowledge base and gain employee buy-in. We set out to improve the knowledge base by streamlining and optimizing the user experience, such as by reducing the number of knowledge articles that needed to be opened in order to locate key information and increasing the searchability of the articles. Additionally, more than 1,000 hours were spent scrubbing, modifying, and creating new articles.
Other initiatives were rolled out to get associates invested in using the knowledge base during the pandemic. Those initiatives included:
- Request Form – Launched to encourage users to help strengthen inQuire documents by gathering user suggestions on what keywords or modifications can be added to improve the user experience. Users who gave their suggestions were recognized during the town hall meetings.
- Town Hall Sessions – A monthly session to get real-time feedback on what insights the users might have about inQuire. This was also a channel where top users were recognized and inQuire updates were given. Each session closed with a question-and-answer portion.
- inQuiz – A weekly quiz where agents could win prizes. This was mainly done to help reinforce learnings from the barrage of COVID-19 updates and briefings that were uploaded, especially during the start of the quarantine.
- Champions – Several associates were invited to receive training for the knowledge base and provide first-hand testimonials on how it improved their work experience.
- Open forums – To get answers directly from the client about any updates or changes, especially during the pandemic, executives were encouraged to attend the forums as opposed to only the inQuire team. This motivated users to be more open in asking questions. The forums also served as an avenue for users to ask questions that they were not able to raise during the client town hall sessions.
We were greatly successful in maintaining high knowledge base utilization rates and reinforcing the platform as the one true source of knowledge for the entire loyalty program. The most recent data show that over a six-month period, 92% of associates on average were active inQuire users; the login rate was at 90%, and team lead utilization was at 100%.
In addition, the knowledge base reinforcements helped agents maintain or even exceed their excellent performance after shifting to a WFH arrangement. Over a three-month period, email resolution time (ERT) and first call resolution (FCR) remained steady at 98% and average handle time (AHT) decreased by about 12 seconds.
After completing the training, agents—and the client—were highly appreciative of the knowledge base tool and efforts to make the transition to working from home as smooth as possible:
"For me, the benefits of having inQuire during WFH is that I found a lot of answers to my questions even without asking my colleague or my supervisor. As long as I have inQuire available, I'm confident enough to handle the Member's query." – Vincent M., Business Rewards Agent
"I was able to resolve most of the Members' queries because of using inQuire and relied on it most of the time. Even if I was in a WFH environment, I was able to resolve the Member's concerns in a fast, efficient, and reliable manner." – Josephine M., Business Rewards Agent
“I continue to be impressed by all the improvements we have seen over the past 12 months- both in the actual content and the way it is displayed…This year has been full of challenges and it is amazing how this program has been able to not only continue, but also lift through these challenging times.” – Cassandra K., Service Delivery Manager (client)
Reinforcing knowledge base utilization helped ensure that the associates were set up for success in a work-from-home environment, that Operations would meet their KPIs, and that the information used by associates was regularly updated and that loyalty members received a consistent experience.
We’re also continuing to improve the knowledge base with new features and functionalities, such as new reporting features that will help determine which inQuire processes associates are challenged with or have already mastered to deliver a positive customer experience and better program performance.