Powerful Search is Key
Colony Brands’ biggest pain point was the search feature of their existing knowledge base.
Having been in business for nearly a century, Colony’s homegrown system eventually became a victim of their success. As the business grew along with the volume of data, the simple “Find” function which required exact match terms (e.g. “how to fix” v.s. “Howto fix”) became the source of longer call times and frustration. With no error tolerance, auto-suggest or auto-complete, service representatives were required to type the full exact document name to find what was needed. That means searching for “Return Policy 2019” would yield zero results if the document was just “Return Policy.”
Average handling time and customer effort was creeping upwards as callers had to hold or be called back at a later time. Being a mail-order and e-commerce company with no physical stores, delivering excellent customer experiences is critical for repeat business and customer satisfaction.
Colony Brands recognized the need opportunity for improvement and quickly prioritized the change. This impacted both the end customer as well as agents who expected a “Google-like search” in their business tools. Knowledge Center offers the same simple yet powerful search including tolerance of misspellings, synonyms and incomplete phrases. Moreover, it actively learns from user behavior, constantly the improving autocomplete and auto suggest features.
This led to a dramatic cut in search time, effort and call handling time, not to mention much happier agents.
Knowledge Center’s feedback feature is the greatest update!
Call center agents, Colony Brands
At a Glance
About Colony Brands
Founded in 1926 and headquartered in Monroe, Wisconsin, Colony Brands is a successful, multifaceted enterprise consisting of numerous retail brands, operational support companies and affiliate businesses. Through catalog and online shopping, Colony Brands offers a wide range of products including apparel, home décor, outdoor, health and beauty, electronics, toys and food.
Provide a modern knowledge management solution that serves as a single source of truth for service agents in all call centers and features a thorough, fast and modern search capability like Google.
- Homegrown system with 961 text documents
- Weak search function
- 75% of their business is incoming calls
- Inconsistent answers among agents
- Powerful search
- Intuitive and easy use interface
- E-learning to improve onboarding
- Competetive pricing
- Conduct a knowledge audit
- Migrate data into Knowledge Center
- Merge related articles into conditional documents
- Build custom editorial workflows
Knowledge Center was deployed in April 2019 to all of Colony Brands’ call centers. After conducting a thorough audit of all existing support documentation, duplicate information could be merged and out of date information updated. Overall documents were reduced by 59% from 961 text-only documents to 395 multimedia ones. Standardized editorial and document approval processes were created. The feedback feature enabled agents to instantly submit article feedback to the editorial team in contrast to emails or written notes in the past, leading to an average of 45 responses per week since rollout.
Streamlined Workflows & Feedback
As the volume of business and agents grew, the internal editorial process became unwieldy. While emailing MS Word™ documents or even giving physical documents to supervisors worked initially, it became error-prone and time consuming. Agents and management have been equally satisfied, and Knowledge Center will enable the company to move towards a more KCS-like knowledge management paradigm.
The Colony Brands team immediately took advantage of Knowledge Center’s custom and automated workflows to digitize their editorial process. Documents are now regularly resubmitted and checked to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date. In addition, the ability for agents to instantly submit feedback while viewing an article has also been a game changer. In the past, feedback went through up to six people before the editor. Today, editors receive an average of 40 to 50 submissions a week. They are more effective, and agents are thrilled that their suggestions are quickly reviewed and implemented leading to more mutual appreciation, employee satisfaction and better document quality.
59% Reduction in Documents
The transition to a professional knowledge management system meant deciding what to do with over 900 documents that had accumulated over the years. USU´s on-site consultants developed a migration plan and recommended first manually reviewing existing material before migration to avoid potentially importing duplicate, outdated and low-quality documents. Colony Brands reduced their customer support documents by 59% from 961 to 395 while simultaneously increasing the quality of the remaining ones. Agents immediately benefited from the drastically faster search, document quality and accessibility. Moreover, Knowledge Center supports multimedia within documents meaning images, videos and charts could finally be added.