Sergey Nivens - Fotolia
Customer service software firm Zendesk Inc. is getting more serious about digitizing customer support to enhance digital experiences.
The company recently introduced Zendesk Guide Enterprise, an advanced content management product that captures insights and curates knowledge bases for customer service representatives and customers. By combining workflow with AI, Zendesk Guide Enterprise helps support teams streamline content production tasks and rapidly deliver service-related information.
Digitizing front-line support
Zendesk manages trouble tickets by capturing the back-end data related to the customer service reps' activities. For years, Zendesk has included basic note-taking capabilities so reps can share information among themselves.
Over time, companies can build an internal knowledge base about customer issues and solutions categorized by the trouble ticket metadata. Keeping this knowledge base up to date is an operational challenge. And making it useful to customers requires additional curation combined with a modern digital experience.
Zendesk is now targeting large enterprises with at least 100 seats by introducing new customer service capabilities. Guide Enterprise extends core information-sharing features and makes them suitable for large teams. It's geared to make customer service reps more productive and to enhance self-service experiences -- provided by mobile apps and websites -- for customers.
Specifically, the product continues to capture customer service insights at their source -- when reps directly interact with customers and as a byproduct of resolving trouble tickets. There's no change in familiar activities associated with note-taking and problem resolution for individual support interactions. But then the power of content management to organically develop a self-service knowledge base kicks in.
Content production and publishing
Zendesk Guide Enterprise supports a predefined set of tasks. It structures content production and distribution in three key ways: delivering workflows for publishing, dynamically updating an operational knowledge base and identifying knowledge gaps. When time is of the essence, it creates new processes that can transform customer service operations.
Team Publishing. Zendesk Guide Enterprise features Team Publishing for article lifecycle management -- a flexible collaboration and workflow environment for capturing insights and adding information to the knowledge base. It structures content creation, editorial approval and publishing workflows.
For example, a tech writer can develop a new article by compiling trouble ticket reports from customer service reps and reviewing them with a subject matter expert. These new articles are then incorporated into a firm's knowledge base. Seamless content production processes accelerate content development.
Knowledge Capture. An additional set of content management capabilities tuned to service-related activities, Knowledge Capture enables customer service reps to annotate content while resolving trouble tickets and to flag particular articles for improvement. Reps and tech writers can then use predefined templates to update the annotated articles or develop new ones. In-the-moment commenting can lead to timely updates.
Knowledge Capture supports the added work tasks required to identify problems within the knowledge base. And new articles are managed with Team Publishing in situations where administrators rely on predefined workflows to rapidly publish updated information.
Content Cues. Currently available in an early access program, Content Cues is a smart content analysis tool that helps an organization identify topics that are missing from its knowledge base. It uses machine-learning algorithms to match incoming trouble tickets with relevant articles in a knowledge base.
Through continuous pattern recognition with the flow of trouble tickets, customer service can identify gaps in its knowledge base. Managers within the organization can then determine the best ways to fill those gaps. Organically assembled content adds business value.
Refining CRM and ECM tasks
When it comes to CRM, Zendesk Guide Enterprise addresses an important support issue. No customer service organization seeks to knowingly distribute outdated content.
Yet the information and insights within a knowledge base change rapidly. Processes and tools for crowdsourcing updates are needed. With Team Publishing, Knowledge Capture and Content Cues, Zendesk augments the content production tasks that keep a knowledge base current.
And there's an important lesson for the future of ECM. To deliver valuable digital experiences, it's important to apply innovative content technologies that simplify and support business activities. When it comes to customer service, updates should happen organically within a business context -- for example, when a front-line rep identifies an out-of-date article or when a smart review enabled by AI identifies gaps in a knowledge base.
ECM plays the critical role of keeping content in the knowledge base fresh and relevant. After all, ECM blends content production with content delivery.
Take a holistic, enterprise-wide perspective based on the capabilities of a shared repository or knowledge base. When planning for the future, consider ways to capture the stream of content and insights being managed within a shared repository.