Self-Service Knowledge Base Helping Employees Better Answer Questions

Register now

An electronic service center is coming up with all the right answers at First Tech Credit Union, according to Wayne Young, director of human resources and training.

By querying the system's self-service knowledge base at the credit union's Intranet, new employees make fewer mistakes and waste less time transferring members' wide-ranging inquiries to more knowledgeable agents, Young said.

"Every time employees answer questions using the knowledge base, it saves time for them and for whomever they would have called to answer the questions," Young added.

Knowing that the database currently is delivering about 2000 answers per month, Young calculated that the $1.3- billion First Tech is saving about 200 hours per month in staff productivity.

The time that First Tech is saving is now being spent elsewhere, Young said.

"Our training focus has shifted," he said. "We have so many different products that member account representatives are responsible for. Rather than training product knowledge, we're training on things that provide additional benefits to members. Things such as culture, service values and philosophy."

The technology-driven CU launched Bozeman, Mont.-based Right Now's eService Center as a hosted solution three years ago with more than one expectation: The 116,000-member CU was hoping not only to answer members' questions with greater speed and precision, but also to make e-mail management a little easier.

Automated Routing

"We had an archaic email system in our contact center," Young explained, noting employees were manually routing e-mails through the contact center's server. "But RightNow is automatically routing emails to the knowledge database so that we can capture the e-mail information and see what types of questions members are asking."

First Tech has extended the knowledge base beyond its employees. After reaching a level of comfort using RightNow internally, the CU made a few adjustments to content and interface. Then, First Tech offered the database to members online at its homebanking website in January.

"The idea from a member service standpoint is to present a consistent experience across all of our channels," Young explained. "Members are getting the same answers using the knowledge library on the Internet as they are when representatives use the knowledge library in the call center."

The benefit of consistency has been capped by a reduction in e-mail and call volume, he added. E-mails related to online banking issues declined by 44%. And calls to the call center went down 3%.

Even as the knowledge library becomes a fixture at First Tech and is updated every six months, management is facing a growing challenge, Young said.

"Our biggest issue right now is how to manage the knowledge, and who will manage it," he said.

Updates Every Six Months

For example, the knowledge base is updated every six months. And duplicate questions and answers must be constantly filtered and removed. "In some cases, we have two or three different events for one piece of information," Young said.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.