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Helping Customers Doesn't Have to Be Expensive #Tips #CustomerExperience

by on ‎05-15-2014 02:35 PM (8,419 Views)

I’ll probably get an email from the Department of Labor for what I’m about to say, but I’ll say it anyways because you really should know about this member of our team.  We have him work basically around the clock; no lunch, no breaks.  He doesn’t take vacations because we don’t give him any time off.  He learns new things, solves new problems, works with more and more customers every month and never asks for a raise.  We give him feedback; he responds to it immediately.  He helps customers solve about 30,000 issues every month; it only costs us pennies for each problem he solves.  You can find him right here.  Yes, it’s our good old friend the Act! Knowledgebase.
If you have customers that ask you questions about your products and services (i.e.: you’re in business), you probably could stand to benefit from providing a knowledgebase (or at the very least, an FAQ page) to your customers.  How much does it cost you to solve a single customer issue without one?  A few bucks?  $10 maybe?  $20?  It gets expensive.  What if you could fix a number of customer issues and it would only cost you the small change in your desk drawer?  Sounds like a good deal to me.  If you’re on-site with a client and you get a call from another customer that needs your help, do you have to decide which customer gets to wait?  What if you didn’t have to make that decision because you’ve enabled your customers to be successfully self-sufficient with a knowledgebase?  What if you could effectively help an infinite number of customers simultaneously at any given time, any time of day, any day of the week, including weekends and holidays?
If you don’t see the benefit, your customers definitely will.  Sometimes they’ll need your help but you’re busy and can’t answer their call or stop by their business.  Sometimes you’re on vacation (ok, maybe not) or out of the office with limited access to emails and voicemails (more likely) and your customers need help.  Sometimes you actually need to close up shop for a day, but your customer needs help during your off hours.  As much as your customers may love you, sometimes they just don’t really want to talk to you.  They really don’t.  So don’t make them. 
Get a knowledgebase.  Tell your customers about it.  Work it to death.  The Department of Labor won’t care.  I promise.
In the time I took to write this post (about an hour), our Knowledgebase solved an estimated 20 issues while the offices were closed and my team was hopefully getting some rest.  Not bad – I’ve got a couple quarters in the couch cushions that should cover it.

on ‎05-16-2014 09:02 AM

How can Act! be used to create the online, query-able, knowledgebase?
The focus of Act! is the contact, but it is a configurable database.
What setup & input constructs are key to successful knowledge retrieval?
Are there any whitepaper, training or partner contribution on the subject?
It’s an interesting extension of this hybrid product from CRM to also a KRM for any business.

Thanks, John Marshall


on ‎05-27-2014 05:35 AM

Hi John,


That's a really interesting question, and I've been talkin about it with some of our techs since you asked. Obviously you'd want to use Act! Premium for Web, and you'd want to heavily customize the layout. That's the easy part... 


The hard part is going to be on the front-end. You won't have the level of natural language search that you really need to be able to do complex searches. Keyword searching is ok, but the more articles you have the less useful it is. Then, you'll miss out on features that most modern KBs offer like stop words, alternate words, related articles, search weight modification, article success scoring, and analytics.


Scale might also be an issue, as well. I'm not sure how well it'd handle thousands of people using it at the same time. 


Then, there's also the cost. Each of your users would need a license. You'd probably also want to look at moving to SQL Standard at this point, depending on the amount of users.


As you said, it's a configurable database. I think your best bet would be to use Act! as a content creation/management tool and then pull the data directly from the database itself via SQL. Then, you'd just need to create your own web front-end for it. That'll also let you parse your server logs for analytics data (which you also wouldn't get via APFW).

on ‎05-27-2014 09:34 AM

Why would you want to do it from Act!?


Because of licensing and restriction on how much you can structure the database, I'd suggest Act! isn't the best tool for that job) ...


My preference would be to use something designed for it ... and, if links to Act! (eg for some personalisation or tracking), just do the development of the necessary integration


Mike Lazarus
ACT! Evangelist
GL Computing, Australia

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