Customers today pull information they need to make purchase decisions and for customer support from web sites, expecting higher quality of information. Unfortunately, support organizations have been caught unprepared. Researching how to better adapt to this new world led me to try to understand what has worked for other companies:

  • Wikipedia‚Äôs success rests with its user community taking collective responsibility for the accuracy of the content
  • eBay realized that users trust the collective voice when rating suppliers
  • Amazon understood that purchase decisions where based on customer reviews and their reputations
  • Facebook, saw their success tied to an ease for forming communities

We can use these principles to help shape successful customer service interactions.

  • Think about loosening the strings around your content. Let your agent community take collective responsibility for the accuracy of knowledgebase information. Let agents flag inaccurate content or author new content
  • Reach out to your user community and integrate your knowledgebase with discussion boards. Let users recommend information to be added to the knowledgebase, ensuring that it organically grows with customers changing demands
  • Expert users who know the product as well as their customer service agents exist. Let these experts post content directly to your knowledgebase, and use ratings and reputation for author ranking
  • Let users rate solutions, vote on important content, append comments and use their feedback to optimize the information delivered during the service experience
  • Let users subscribe to content and receive it in the format they prefer
  • Be proactive with communication to your users. Push knowledge and alerts out, even before customers experience a problem

All these strategies help you engage in a two-way conversation with your customer base and your agents. Which ones do you think work best for you? Can you tell us why? Do you use other strategies?