Transactional vs knowledge-based call centers


In a fast-changing business landscape, all customer service providers must aim to become more knowledge-driven.

In a contact center, routine can establish consistency and help familiarize agents with the organization’s standards and policies. However, too much of it can also be detrimental to an organization’s growth.


For instance, the repetitive nature of voice customer service may be one of the underlying causes of absenteeism and attrition. Employees forced to follow strict rules may feel that the company doesn’t allow them to express their creativity. Thus, on a bigger scale, the entire call center remains stuck in its old ways and may find it hard to embrace the necessary changes.

This stagnancy separates routine-based, transactional call centers from knowledge-driven ones. Whereas the former is characterized by monotonous, sometimes robotic, practices, knowledge-driven companies encourage new ways of executing their functions. They use information wisely and deliberately to sustain organizational development. This principle then manifests in all aspects of customer service in the following ways.

1.     Use of customer service metrics

In a transaction-focused environment, interactions with customers are evaluated according to metrics that are productivity- and compliance-oriented. On the other hand, a knowledge-driven contact center focuses more on the customer experience. Sure, they also refer to quantitative metrics, but they do so without losing sight of what matters to customers. This way, they ensure that the company continuously builds good relationships with customers without sacrificing productivity.

2.     Call handling

Knowledge workers refrain from relying on scripts as they solve customer problems. While other call centers find scripts helpful in reducing errors, this practice can make the agent sound mechanical. As a better option, data-driven brands train agents to become good listeners. This way, they’ll learn how to ask the right questions so they can identify the root causes of an issue and recommend solutions right away.

3.     Quality monitoring


When it comes to recording calls and evaluating them, transactional companies’ only concern is compliance. As long as the agents are doing what they’re supposed to, quality analysts usually don’t probe deeper into the conversations. In contrast, knowledge-based contact centers are focused on improvement. They analyze whether agents were able to fulfill the needs of the customers while looking for possible ways to better enhance the customer experience.

4.     Knowledge management

Every call center has a knowledge base that agents consult when responding to customers’ queries. However, transactional and knowledge-driven companies use them differently. In the former, agents use this resource to provide consistent answers. The latter, however, uses this tool to help collect information that would expand the company’s knowledge bank.


If you want to transform your contact center into a more forward-thinking, innovative organization, you first need to identify the practices that are delaying your growth. It’s important to start with small steps and gradually create a culture that encourages employees to be more resourceful and progress-oriented.



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