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.
“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.
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.