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M&S: Investing in Knowledge

M&S: Investing in Knowledge

“Ask Percy”, the knowledgebase used in Marks and Spencer’s contact centre and named after the retailer’s bestselling pig-shaped sweet, might not sound formidable. But according to Capita, the business services provider that helps manage customer service for M&S, “Percy” is the contact centre’s secret weapon when training agents and preparing for the Christmas rush.

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“Percy”, powered by Transversal’s Prescience™, handles tens of thousands of enquiries each month. Its advanced search and retrieval technology helps agents keep information about a diverse range of products at their fingertips. Like any knowledgebase, however, it requires purposeful maintenance to perform at its best. In a recent interview, Andy Johnson, Capita’s Knowledge and Reporting Manager for M&S, described how his team invested time and ingenuity to ensure the continued effectiveness of the knowledgebase.

The team’s techniques include:

  • Preparing early for seasonal peaks
  • Identifying topics likely to generate a lot of enquiries
  • Writing content to suit the readership (for a BPO, this requires understanding the structure and culture of the client organization)
  • Testing the knowledgebase for gaps
  • Providing guided help using decision trees
  • Keeping agents up to date through knowledge quizzes and training refreshers
  • Reviewing content regularly – not just to keep existing knowledge up to date, but to respond to changes both within and without the company.

Read the full interview with Andy (downloadable PDF).

Transversal has provided knowledge automation technology to M&S since 2010. In addition to “Percy”, the knowledgebase powers a customer-facing portal that enables customers to self-serve and deflects repetitive enquiries from the contact centre. Other major retailers who choose Transversal for their customer service include John Lewis, Mothercare, The Body Shop and Sainsbury’s.

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