Omnichannel & Knowledge Articles

One of the most useful features that Dynamics 365 has to offer (in my opinion) is the ‘Knowledge Base’ feature. The purpose that this serves is multi-faceted. It can act as a repository for internal information, serve as a FAQ store, or even be used to publish information externally.

The amount of knowledge held within any organisation can be quite staggering at times. Think back to when you’ve been trying to get an answer to an obscure question, and only Bob in Repairs knows about it. Trying to track down that answer can be quite time-intensive at times (you need to find out who to ask, where they are, etc). In the modern digitally-connected world, we have better forms of communications available. However even with those, we’re still challenged at times.

Enter the Knowledge Base. Here people can enter information that can then be searched on. It could be a simple one-line explanation, or an in-depth instruction as to how to do something very technical.

It’s also a really useful place to hold business processes in. This can come in really helpful when rare situations occur, so that customer service agents can refer to them to find out exactly what to do.

There’s already a massive amount of information (if you’ll pardon the pun!) out there around the Knowledge Base, so I’m not going to go into deep detail here around it.

However, what I DO want to talk about is the ability to use Knowledge Base within Omnichannel!

See, customer service agents are the ‘first line’ of support that customers will deal with. Admittedly they’re also the 2nd, 3rd etc (until it may get to a very technical/specific question). The types of queries that they may need to handle can be astonishing at time! Being able to refer to information ‘at their fingertips’ is therefore vital, & key in driving efficiency. This then in turn leads to higher customer satisfaction, with queries being resolved quickly & easily.

So with all of that said, let’s take a look to see how this is used within Omnichannel. Essentially, there’s a Knowledge Base tab that can be opened for the customer service agent to access:

This opens automatically when a new customer sessions starts, and is then available for the customer service agent to click into.

Note: The behaviour to open it automatically is driven from the Session Template that’s set up for the communication stream. If it’s not set up in here, it won’t automatically launch. See the screenshot below for how this is set up, and refer to Omnichannel & Application Tabs for more information around this:

Alternatively, the agent can launch this directly from the chat itself, by clicking the ellipse icon, and then selecting it from the menu:

This will then put the agent directly within the Knowledge Article search tab. When this opens, it’s blank! Don’t worry about this however – it’s only blank, as there haven’t been any searches carried out yet! When the user starts to search, it’ll then return results into the pane:

If the user wants to open the article in a new window, all they need to do is click the little ‘pop open’ icon on the article summary, which will then launch a new window with it in it. This can be helpful if the agent is needing to have several different articles open at once:

If your company has configured an external portal for sharing Knowledge Articles with the public, it’s also possible to send a link for a specific article to the customer. To do this, either click the arrow button on the article, to click the Send URL button on the menu bar:

Now, the general layout used for Knowledge Articles will be familiar to anyone who has used the same ability within Cases in Dynamics 365. However for people who are used to working directly within Knowledge Articles, it will look slightly different. There’s no ability to add a new article or edit an existing one, publish, etc.

The reason for this is that within Omnichannel itself, the functionality interface is being surfaced as a web resource. There’s no need to worry though, as users can open the familiar Knowledge Article interface as well directly from within Omnichannel. To do this, the customer service agent should click the ‘+’ button on the tab bar, and then select ‘Knowledge Articles’:

Voila! A new tab will open, and the traditional Knowledge Article experience will load. All of the expected functionality is present, and users are able to do anything that they may need to inside of here.

So in summary, this is a continuation of the empowerment of customer service agents. With the knowledge ‘at their fingertips’, they’re able to provide the best possible experience for customers. Not only that, but queries can get answered and/or resolved in less time. Customer satisfaction will (hopefully!) increase as a result of this, with everyone feeling empowered & efficient!

So here’s my question – are you currently using Knowledge Articles (it doesn’t have to be within Omnichannel)? If you are, what benefits do you see that it brings to your company? If you’re not, what could help you to adopt them? I’d love to hear – drop a comment below!

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