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Is a well-defined knowledge base valuable for delivering exceptional service? No matter the business, the answer is a resounding “yes.” In a recent survey, 91 percent of customers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs, and in another published report, respondents preferred knowledge bases over all other self-service channels. It’s clear that a well-structured, well-written, and easily consumable knowledge base empowers customers to obtain self-service support anywhere, anytime. Allowing flexibility and accessibility for customers may positively influence customer satisfaction.

A knowledge base isn’t just a helpful self-service tool for customers—it’s also an indispensable tool for customer service staff. It can serve as a learning tool for support staff to deepen their service or product knowledge. It’s also a valued commodity in the transfer of information from support agent to the customer by bridging the knowledge gap that prevents the customer from achieving a specific goal, thereby creating a positive customer experience and increasing customer loyalty.

In this post, we will cover how self-service tools within Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help your customer service team deliver personalized customer care, fill knowledge gaps, and streamline productivity.

A thought-provoking tool

A modern knowledge base is a collection or library of digital articles containing relevant content, videos, images, and other useful information about your service or product. Typically, it contains published documentation such as frequently asked questions, quick-start and how-to guides, and troubleshooting instructions. It acts as the source of truth for the service or product for its stakeholders such as customers, employees, and partners, and should be easy to use for finding and locating solutions to problems without requiring additional company support.

A well-fed, well-maintained, and easily accessible knowledge base can become the cornerstone of your customer service team’s self-service strategy. A knowledge base can be a cost-effective component of a company’s self-service portal or part of a website as it reduces the time and effort the customer spends on getting an issue resolved. It’s a tool that is immediately valued by both support agents and customers alike. Support agents can refer to a knowledge base article or share the actual article with a customer, answering a query quickly rather than spending time asking a colleague for guidance or taking the time trying multiple solutions until finding the right one. Customers can quickly and easily search the knowledge base for articles that answer their questions, eliminating the need to interact with another layer of company support and keeping live agents’ time free to focus on more complex issues.

Deliver enhanced customer care

A well-maintained knowledge base is the backbone of any organization to deliver world-class customer care, but how do you keep your knowledge base current?

Understanding what agents are searching for to resolve customer issues can help improve knowledge base content, which in turn improves the agent’s ability to support customers more efficiently. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service, knowledge search analytics can be used to gain visibility into the effectiveness of the knowledge base for your support agents. Managers need visibility into issues support agents face and whether the knowledge content effectively addresses the issues customers raise. Managers can easily run reports such as “top search terms with no matching knowledge articles” or “top search terms with poor engagement rate” to quickly identify and fill gaps in content. By identifying searches that have low success or return no results, the knowledge search analytics dashboard can help identify knowledge gaps, improve search results, and surface the most relevant articles.

The knowledge search analytics dashboard within Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps managers quickly surface metrics concerning content effectiveness.
Figure 1: The knowledge search analytics dashboard within Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps managers quickly surface metrics concerning content effectiveness.

Fill gaps between fragmented knowledge

Once content gaps are identified, how do you fill them? The challenge for most companies is that knowledge is typically fragmented across an organization and stored in different formats, such as documents, images, videos, blogs, wikis, structured knowledge, and the list goes on. The engagement points for surfacing knowledge have also increased with the advent of digital messaging (such as SMS and WhatsApp), chatbots, and social apps. These disparate formats and source points make it difficult to curate and surface the right content.

This month, we are releasing our preview of federated knowledge search within Dynamics 365 Customer Service. As knowledge is typically held in a wide variety of formats, spread across multiple sources like SharePoint sites, OneDrive, and third-party knowledge management systems, federated knowledge search provides the ability to find and share knowledge from as many sources as possible to help agents be more productive and resolve customer issues quickly.

Making federated knowledge search work for you is easy: simply plug a connector from an external search provider (such as SharePoint search, Microsoft search, or cross-Dynamics 365 search) into the knowledge search experience.

Federated knowledge search helps keep your knowledge base fresh by curating content across various formats and sources.
Figure 2: Federated knowledge search helps keep your knowledge base fresh by curating content across various formats and sources.

Federated knowledge search is an essential tool in providing knowledge base content, pivotal to maintaining a rich and current knowledge base to help resolve customer issues fast and accurately.

At Microsoft, we know that effective knowledge management is an essential element to delivering high quality customer service across all engagement modalities—self-service, assisted service, and onsite service. We are continuing to innovate by extending the capabilities of our knowledge management offering within Dynamics 365 Customer Service so you, your support agents, and your customers always receive the right content at the right time, no matter the format or source.

2021 release wave 1 features

Federated knowledge search and knowledge analytics are just the start. A few of the 2021 release wave 1 knowledge management features being released April 1, include the ability to customize article search filters, personalize language settings for article authors, and a new form designer. We are continually extending the reach of Dynamics 365 Customer Service to deliver the features you want along with the features you need.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!

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