For organisations to be competitive, relying on product or price as a differentiator is no longer an effective strategy, especially in the medium to long term. These days it’s all about this intangible thing called ‘Customer Experience’ that sets your organisation apart.Leading IT research company, Gartner, defines customer experience as “the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products”.

That’s a pretty all-encompassing definition. The dilemma I see many organisations struggling with is where to start and how to make a meaningful impact when optimising customer experience must be woven right through every aspect of their business. Many seem to put in the “we’ll get around to it basket, just as soon as we’re on top of all these day to day interactions with our customers…”. Hang on a minute!

Ideqa believes the place to start is finding out what your customers want to know. (We’re assuming you have your product or service offer right, otherwise the customer experience is going to fall flat). A huge component of what determines if a customer has a good, average or bad experience with your organisation is how effectively and efficiently you are able to provide them with the knowledge they need from you.Typically this knowledge is split into two groups.

  • Knowledge specific to the customer. What is my account balance? How long does my contract have to run? What plan am I on?
  • Knowledge specific to your organisation. How do I change to a different plan? What’s your best deal on the new, bundled iPhone?

When you think about the interactions you have with organisations, how positively you perceived the experience has a lot to do with how easily you were able to get the information you wanted.

If you picked up the phone and made a call, how long did you spend being sorted by the Interactive Voice Response? When you got through to the agent was s/he able to answer your question or were you put you on hold for an age? When you went to the website could you quickly find the information you were after? How long did it take to get a (meaningful) response to your email?

Your customers will choose the channel that they want to interact with you through, and may, in fact, choose multiple channels. The ability to respond with easily accessible and relevant knowledge, irrespective of the channel, will greatly enhance the likelihood that the interaction is a positive one. To achieve this you need a robust Knowledge Base that can be infused across multiple channels to provide effortless, accurate and consistent answers to you customers. This is the foundation of your Customer Experience efforts.

Then you need to accept that this Knowledge base is as dynamic and fluid as your business and your customers’ needs. A Knowledge Base that is deployed and left alone is perfect…for your customers today. A commitment to constant focus on the Knowledge Base is key to its ongoing ability to underpin your Customer Experience efforts. If you treat it as a living, breathing organism that needs regular care and attention it will reward you with ongoing benefit to your customers, and, ultimately, your business.