Customer Service Expert Burg Hughes Shares on the Importance of Knowledge Ownership

Burg Hughes

Knowledge is playing an increasingly growing part in enterprises of all sizes. This is accelerated by the post-covid environment, with more businesses turning to remote arrangements, and with many increasingly turning to offshore operations.

According to recent statistics, at least 50 percent of professionals and workers are now under remote working arrangements, up from 18 percent in 2013 and 24 percent in 2018. This underscores the need for increased capability in collaboration on knowledge.

In the healthcare industry, timeliness and accuracy are mission-critical. With hospitals and healthcare facilities facing an increased strain from handling Covid cases, there needs to be an adequate support system from service providers to ensure patients’ needs are met on a timely basis. 

According to Burg Hughes, Senior Manager, Call Center Operations at GE Healthcare, a scan or imaging is done on patients once every three seconds worldwide, and each of those makes a big difference in effective diagnosis and treatment. 

GE Healthcare’s Cares Call Center covers four distinct lines of business, with over 25 modalities of medical and monitoring systems, such as MRIs. As a provider of equipment and services, customer service operations will also need to be responsive to the needs of its client healthcare facilities. This requires a high availability platform that provides simple governance, ease-of-use for agents without any training, and a simple workflow to get through regardless of the nature of the call.

According to Hughes, it is important that each user take ownership of knowledge in order to become fully invested in the success of the system. With agents mostly being in remote work arrangements due to Covid-19, an effective system will ensure they have access to the knowledge and collaboration capabilities without having to physically consult their peers or team leaders.

Hughes will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2020 Knowledge Management Summit presented by KMS Lighthouse and Forrester on November 11, 2020. At the conference, participants will discuss the latest trends in the field of knowledge management and customer experience. These include customer interactivity, employee onboarding, and collaboration in a new-normal business environment. The Summit will include interactive panel discussions with leaders in Customer Experience and Knowledge Management from across the globe.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Burg Hughes on knowledge management in the context of customer service in the healthcare industry.

What are the three key points that make knowledge management essential in addressing the challenges of the healthcare management industry?

The first is accuracy. We operate in a highly regulated industry and because of the nature of our equipment, we deal with life and death emergencies. Therefore it is critical that our team gets it right every time.

Second is efficiency. Our callers are on the front lines in hospitals. They are Nurses and Medical Technicians, who were already stretched before Covid-19. They are now in the midst of a pandemic and every minute they spend on a call with us is the time taken from their patients. KMS Lighthouse lets us find the right answer immediately so that we can get our customers back to their patients as quickly as possible.

The third is culture–our teamwork in a highly complex environment, supporting America’s leading hospital networks, each with their own unique requirements. Mistakes are not an option and efficiency is a requirement. The work can be stressful. By investing in a tool that makes the answers they need easily accessible we are reducing the complexity and stress of the role. The result is improved retention, higher agent satisfaction, and ultimately better service.

How important is it for users to be owners of knowledge rather than just consumers of knowledge?

No KMS will be successful long term if users are not invested in the success of that system. The past decade has seen service across both B2B and B2C industries become more complex as customers’ self serves on the easy questions. They call, chat, and email only on the complicated issues.

At the same time technology has accelerated the speed of change as companies move more quickly to try and gain a competitive edge in rapidly consolidating markets. In this environment the only way that a KMS can evolve quickly enough is to have every user become an owner of that knowledge, regularly providing feedback on how to simplify use and improve accuracy.

What are the three important characteristics that make a KMS platform ideal for use in your industry?

It must facilitate finding the best answer quickly.

It must allow us to reduce complexity so that complicated tasks can be broken down into an easily digestible workflow.

It must encourage feedback so that our Team can be owners of knowledge not just consumers of information.

What part does automation play in your business’ digital strategy. Kindly provide examples and some metrics of how this improves operations, efficiency, profitability, etc.

While it is not possible to share confidential metrics around this, in healthcare, automation is critical as we work to reduce costs for hospitals and save time for those on the frontline, using our equipment. At the same time, we need to be certain that information is controlled and only accessible to those who should have it, and that they are easily able to find only the right answer for their inquiry.

In your view, what are the trends in customer service and knowledge management in the next five years?

Customer service is going to continue to become more complex. Automation and self-service will handle more and more of the simple transactions, leaving only the most complex customer service work to be facilitated by agents. This will make having a KMS that reduces the complexity of agents mission-critical for every service organization.

Trends toward service offshoring in the US are likely to continue. This can be an effective cost control strategy but at the same time creates other challenges. Having an effective KMS, which not only provides answers but also can suggest verbiage, de-escalation strategies, etc. is a way to help agent location be seamless to customers.

Agents are much more likely to be remote in the post-Covid world. This makes communication with peers, SMEs, and Leaders more challenging. In an environment where agents can no longer turn to someone in the same aisle for an answer, an effective KMS becomes even more critical.

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