Right now, we’re right at the start of the AI revolution. AI, machine learning, automation, and deep learning has already come so far in such a little amount of time. If you think about what we’ve achieved in the last decade, it’s truly remarkable. We now have intelligent assistants in our homes, ‘smart’ everything, driverless vehicles, and much more. However, the leaps in the last decade could pale in comparison for what’s to come in the future. Some experts predict that the AI revolution will be on the scale of the industrial revolution. This means that the AI revolution will transform our lives and shape the future of civilizations.
So, how does all of this relate to AI-powered knowledge bases? How does it relate to customer service? This is what we’re going to be exploring in this article. Customer service is one area of business where AI and automation are making a huge impact. Customer service is inherently about serving people and meeting their needs and expectations. It’s sometimes about exceeding these expectations. Customer service has traditionally involved people (agents) as the players in delivering this service. Agents are still critically important today, if not more so. But this doesn’t mean AI doesn’t play a huge role in this space. AI can make better agents, and one way it does this is through AI-powered knowledge bases.
What Are AI-Powered Knowledge Bases?
The term is very self-explanatory – any knowledge base the business uses that is powered by AI. We’re focused on customer service and customer experiences here, so we’ll be focusing on the AI-powered knowledge bases that improve operations in this area.
In customer service jobs, agents often have to quickly search through relevant documentation to find a solution to the customer’s problem. This can be time-consuming and ineffective. The customer can become frustrated if they think the agent, they’re talking to is unknowledgeable or incompetent. It doesn’t inspire confidence in the product or brand.
An AI-powered knowledgebase can quickly search through the documentation by using keywords and phrases and deliver this straight to the agent.
Another area that this system excels is in unifying information. Many companies operate by having lots of different teams that are completely siloed. These teams have their own goals, management, systems, and ways of handling data. It can be difficult to share knowledge between teams in this system. With an AI-powered knowledge base, the information from all teams can be unified so that key information is easy to retrieve. This means that an agent will never have to put a customer on hold and say, “I’ll just contact X team for you to get the answer”. The agents will have immediate and direct access to the information they need to perform their job. Additionally, employees from other areas of the business will no longer experience frequent interruptions to their workday to answer queries from agents.
Chatbots are also another form of automation based on an AI-powered knowledge base. The chatbot has access to all key information and can access it smartly by using keywords and context.
The Benefits of AI-Powered Knowledge Bases
Accurate and Relevant Content
Agents or other customer service employees are always working with the latest information. The AI can prioritize more recent entries over older entries. Agents who have been with the business for a long time have accumulated lots of valuable knowledge about your business. They understand your customers well and know all the important things about your operation and products. However, businesses change quickly, especially in this digital age. What was true for many years might be false tomorrow. Without regular training, agents can default to using outdated information. This isn’t on purpose. The agents still believe this information to be true because it was true at one point.
AI can also play a crucial role in self-service content. AI can make these knowledge bases more optimized and relevant to customers, so customers are always presented with the most relevant content to their particular issue. An AI-powered knowledge base can also suggest new content that should be made based on common search terms or other customer data. Put simply, it can tell you where you need to improve as well as provide an improved service to customers. Sometimes we can struggle to see where content is missing because we are so close to our brand or product. You probably know exactly how to use your product because you built it and watched it mature. However, you need to find knowledge gaps and fill them in to deliver excellent customer experiences.
Improved Agent Onboarding
Agents train better with AI than without it. Training costs businesses huge amounts of money, both in the cost of the course and in employee downtime. You want your training to be as short as possible, but also be of excellent quality. You want your agents to be ready to confidently jump into their new roles once they finish training. You want minimal mistakes from your new agents. Unfortunately, to make this a reality it takes time. That is unless you use an AI-powered knowledge base to support your agent onboarding.
An AI-powered knowledge base can deliver relevant information to agents as they are doing their job. In training, this means that agents can get the information delivered right to them and simply use the information provided to solve customer issues. There’s no need for an agent to shadow a more experienced employee for several days or even weeks to get up to scratch on information relevant to every scenario. The AI has already done that.
An obvious benefit of AI-powered knowledge bases is that they significantly speed to business activities. Customers can enjoy faster service from agents who no longer have to look up each question if they don’t immediately know the answer. Customers don’t have to be put on hold while agents speak to other teams or search through documents.
With AI-powered knowledge bases, all agents have access to the same relevant, accurate, and detailed information. This means that they are all working with the same information and providing a consistent experience to customers. Consistency is key in businesses in 2020. Your customers are your customers for a reason, so you need to be consistent to keep it that way. Your customers should have the same experience no matter which agent they talk to or which platform they use to talk to your agents.
AI-Powered Knowledge Base Quick Guide
In this section, we’ll be talking about the key characteristics of an AI-powered knowledge base. Once you understand and familiarize yourself with these key characteristics, you’ll better understand what this type of solution will look like in your business.
- Connected – No more siloed information. Relevant service data from all teams must be connected. Your business will have to decide which content is relevant. The best way to do this is to talk to the customer service team to find out which teams they need to talk to the most and for what reasons.
- Context-driven – The AI-powered knowledge base must understand the context of all search queries and not just return results purely on keywords.
- Insightful – Gain valuable insights into the information to help make impactful business decisions about the future.
- Dynamic ranking – Rank knowledge base articles based on their relevance, both historical and current.
- Consistent and simple – If your self-service articles need to be updated, all connected information must be also updated to avoid inconsistencies. This can be done easily with drag and drop features within the AI powered knowledge base system.
Tips for Creating Your AI-Powered Knowledge Base
- Understand your customers. Before you can create relevant self-service articles or a system to deliver them, you need to understand who your customers are and what they want. Do this by creating customer personas. Once you have these, you can create content that’s relevant to these customers.
- Be proactive in identifying customer problems. It’s better to provide answers to emerging or potential problems than it is to wait for something to become a bigger issue. Customers hate not knowing. If you don’t provide an answer with your self-service system, you increase the chance that they will contact an agent and become frustrated if that’s not what they wanted to do.
- Structure content appropriately. This is important both for self-service customer articles and also for the AI-powered knowledge base articles that the customer service team will be using. Sometimes agents will be using the same articles as the customers can find through self-service. After all, not everyone tries to self-serve or not everyone understands it when they find it. However, sometimes this information will be different. When this is the case It’s equally crucial that the agent is provided with structured and relevant information that they can quickly navigate through, rather than just getting a text dump. When it comes to customer-focused self-service articles, they should be mapped based on customer behavior. What flow do customers follow? Create relevant headings and meaningful categories.
- Content must be up to date. Never implement a change without updating the knowledge base simultaneously. If you fail to do both at the same time, you risk confusing your customers and agents and leading to inaccurate information being shared. This will cause a break in consistency and lead to a worse experience for both customers and agents.
- Monitor and Improve. Your knowledge base should be constantly evolving and improving. Do detailed analysis and surveys to find out what works and what doesn’t. If your knowledge base powers your chatbot, find out whether customers actually like using your chatbot. Is it effective? Does it return relevant results? Or does it get confused easily and have trouble understanding context. Does your relevance ranking work? These are all crucial questions you should be continually asking to find where you can improve your knowledge base. Remember, it’s not static. It’s not something you create and then leave alone. It grows smarter as you grow smarter.
- Learn, learn, learn. For machine learning-based AI knowledge bases, the more interaction, the better. Interact with the chatbot or system as often as possible from the beginning so you can train it in how to find relevant results and become an expert on your company. Just like humans, learning requires repeated exposure to something. Practice makes perfect.
AI-powered knowledge bases have the potential to transform the way we do customer service. Customers stand to get more value from their interactions with your company, and as a result, they’ll have a better customer experience. Be innovative in this area and you’ll be rewarded with happy agents, happy customers, and increased profits.