If we’re sure of one thing, it’s that customers are in the driver’s seat—now, more than ever. As Gartner predicts, “By 2023, organizations at advanced stages of digital transformation will find that poor customer experience is their biggest barrier to further success.”1

Simply put, organizations that can’t find ways to elevate their CX might soon find themselves going by the wayside. But what exactly is a “poor experience,” and how do organizations go about better nurturing the customer relationship?

More (and more) power to the customer

It starts with meeting customers on their terms. And today, customers prefer low-effort experiences they can initiate on their own, wherever and whenever they want. Indeed, Gartner suggests that, “By 2022, 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service, up from 48% in 2019.”2

With so many choices for on-demand self-service, calling or sending an email is often the last resort. This shift in preference toward self-service is a strong indicator that the contact center as a customer inflection point is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Instead, “Successful nurturing of customer relationships requires insightful, relevant and timely communications across multiple channels (such as face-to-face, phone, web, email, social media and SMS) and over a host of traditional and new devices.”3

Organizations simply have to be there for customers along the entire journey. 

And that, according to Gartner, is where knowledge management comes in. As a new Gartner report states, “The rapid creation and retrieval of relevant content and knowledge are critical to improving the overall customer experience.”4

Seven best practices for getting knowledge to customers

The Gartner report, titled “Delivering Relevant Content and Knowledge to Customers is Key to Great Customer Service,”5 recommends the following seven best practices to bring content to customers consistently and across the journey:

  • “Outside In” Design Thinking
  • Knowledge Base Consolidation
  • Content Contextualization
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Guided Experience
  • Intelligent Site and App Search
  • Virtual Customer Assistants
Gartner Figure describing the Seven Best Practices to Rapidly Create and Retrieve Relevant Content and Knowledge for Your Customers
Source: Delivering Relevant Content and Knowledge to Customers Is Key to Great Customer Service, Gartner. 5 December 2019.

Most foundational among these seven best practices is the concept of outside-in or customer-first design thinking. Unfortunately, many knowledge management solutions are based on the opposite: an inside-out view that typically results in a frustrating, high-effort customer experience. 

Gartner validates this important point. “When designing customer-facing applications or web portals, organizations often design the functionalities and information architecture based on the understanding of content and knowledge structure from the organization’s point of view, without the customers’ goals in mind.”6

1 Gartner, Delivering Relevant Content and Knowledge to Customers Is Key to Great Customer Service, Drew Kraus, Olive Huang, Gene Phifer, Jim Davies, Mick MacComascaigh, Brian Manusama, Irina Guseva, 5 December 2019

2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Ibid.