What is a Knowledge Management Strategy?
A knowledge management strategy helps organizations identify critical knowledge areas and invest in tools designed to capture, store, organize, and share knowledge. A good knowledge management strategy will help organizations streamline communication and collaboration among agents, support informed decision-making, reduce errors and redundancy, while also fostering learning and innovations across the organization.
Any time you organize, capture, share, and use the organization’s collective information and expertise to improve the overall performance of the organization and achieve its goals, that is your knowledge management strategy.
It’s a competitive world out there. To keep your organization in the lead, the differentiator between your organization and a similar one can be found in your knowledge. But just having a lot of knowledge isn’t the answer to taking the lead. To do that, your organization needs to develop and implement a solid knowledge management strategy.
A well thought out and executed strategy helps ensure a systematic approach for creating, sharing, and using the knowledge, information, and documentation available within the organization. This helps to improve the overall operational processes, achieve business goals, and enhance innovations.
The goal of implementing a knowledge management strategy is to make the organization as a whole more innovative, competitive, and efficient. It does this by leveraging the expertise and knowledge of the employees and different stakeholders. It helps save both money and time on training processes, retains valuable resources and knowledge for future use, and makes the contact center sleek, organized, and consistent.
A knowledge management strategy is useful not just for the organization’s contact center, but also for agents and customers. Implemented correctly, it can help in increasing internal understanding and awareness about knowledge management. It would also clearly communicate best practices, organizational plans, organizational goals, tracking progress, and making well-informed decisions to benefit the organization.
A great strategy benefits agents by saving time in searching, filling knowledge gaps, and supporting them in handling complex work with hands-on experience.
At the same time, it is beneficial for customers as it allows employees to serve customers promptly, which leads to a better customer experience.
Types of Contact Center Knowledge
Before designing a knowledge management strategy, it is important to understand the different types of knowledge at a contact center. Here are the three broad types of knowledge you might find at contact centers:
Explicit knowledge is codified knowledge that can be easily shared and transferred through verbal or written communication. This knowledge is formalized and easy to articulate and transfer. It is tangible and can be stored in the form of videos, databases, books, or other forms of electronic media. This type of knowledge can be acquired through training, experience sharing, and formal education. It allows people and organizations to store and share the information and knowledge available to them which can be used to increase innovation, make better decisions, and enhance productivity.
Some examples of explicit knowledge include databases, manuals, policies, and guidelines.
Implicit knowledge is the type of knowledge that cannot be easily articulated or codified. This type of knowledge is often acquired by practice, observation, or empiricism. This knowledge is mostly rooted in personal values, beliefs, and past experiences. In simple terms, implicit knowledge is the knowledge, expertise or skills gained by a person from a previous task that can be applied to future tasks. Previous experiences and practices allow an individual to recognize patterns and make
intuitive decisions. Implicit knowledge plays a major role in the capability of an individual to make decisions, solve problems and perform complex tasks.
While implicit knowledge is not easy to replicate, it can be transferred to others through coaching, mentorship and other types of informal learning.
Tacit knowledge is the knowledge gained through personal experience that cannot be expressed in a tangible form. The only way to pass on tacit knowledge is through first-hand mentoring and one-on-one interactions and training sessions.
Challenges for Knowledge Management
When thinking about knowledge management strategies, there’s a lot to think about. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know where to start. Upon digging into managing an organization’s knowledge for the first time, there are a few challenging areas:
- Training agents: There might not be a knowledge-sharing culture in place which can result in lack of collaboration and communication between maintenance and creation teams.
- Self-service: Like most people, agents like to seek out knowledge assets on their own which may end with different levels of customer service
- Storage: More often than not, organizations’ knowledge lives in silos which makes it difficult to manage which results in agent scavenger hunts and angry customers
- Operational: Lack of feedback or review mechanisms in place may make knowledge management a low priority for executives
- Accessibility: Frequent knowledge updates may result in a slowdown of access for larger organizations operating in various cultures, languages, and on various platforms.
Benefits of implementing and maintaining a knowledge management strategy
With a knowledge management strategy in place, contact center organizations can ensure they’re providing quality customer service at any time. To highlight this, we’ve put together these benefits:
Agents Get a Single Source of Truth
Instead of pulling from multiple content repositories, a knowledge management strategy often puts everything into one location. When this is done, agents have a single source of truth to pull from for all their customer interactions. What this does is it creates a sense of understanding and loyalty from the customer which then results in added credibility for the overall organization. Agents aren’t providing different answers each time customers call back. And customers can feel confident they’re interacting with an organization that cares about providing great products and services.
Cognitive Load is Reduced for Agents
With valuable knowledge routinely being collected, categorized, stored, and optimized, there’s sure to always be up-to-date information. For agents, this means they don’t have to search through a large three-ring binder or remember a lot of details to do their job. By having a knowledge
management strategy in place, agents’ cognitive load is lightened and they’re able to provide higher quality service to each customer.
Seamless Agent Training
Whenever a new agent comes into an organization or a veteran employee needs to brush up on their skills, up-to-date training documents are vital. By having a single content repository of organized knowledge, contact centers will have seamless agent training at every level of the organization.
Quicker Average Handle Time for Customers
Knowledge management strategies often involve finding information quickly. We know this to be true because after building out a strategy, every piece of knowledge has been sorted and stored for optimal efficiency. This enables agents to get to the root of customer queries more quickly.
More Easily Enables a Knowledge-Sharing Culture
When knowledge is spread out among different content repositories, it can be easy to have out-of-date details. This can discourage agents from sharing important knowledge with each other. By having a knowledge management strategy in place, an organization has pulled everything into a central location and organized it in such a way that agents can easily find and share it.
Increased Agent Productivity
Having access to the right information at the right time can help agents move more quickly in their day-to-day tasks. Rather than spending time searching for the correct knowledge and keeping customers on hold for long periods of time, agents can work both smarter and faster.
Better Knowledge Security
When there are multiple different places for storing knowledge, the security can breakdown. By implementing a knowledge management strategy, all an organization’s sensitive knowledge is stored in a central location. This makes it much easier to increase the amount and quality of security for the overall organization.
Steps to Create a Knowledge Management Strategy
Now that we’ve gone over what it is, here are the five steps to build out a knowledge management strategy.
1. Routinely Supply and Create Knowledge
For knowledge to be used and reused, there needs to be a regular supply and creation of it. This is ensured by capturing incoming information, collecting files and documents, and storing the collected information in a knowledge repository. It can also be captured by recording and documenting conversations and presentations and collecting stories. The raw content captured can be analyzed, queried, retrieved, disseminated, and reused. However, just having an incoming supply of knowledge is not useful if it is not categorized, analyzed, and reused. Contact center organizations should therefore maintain a balance between the knowledge coming in and how it’s being managed.
2. Systematically Codify and Organize Knowledge
Once the knowledge is collected, it needs to be codified so it can be organized into reusable material and repeatable processes. When contact center organizations codify and organize their knowledge, they are setting up a value of intellectual properties, adding metadata to existing documents for easy searchability, and tagging contents to help agents discover useful views and connections.
3. Disseminate and Share
After supplying and organizing the knowledge, the next step is dissemination. What is the point of collecting and storing it if it can’t be accessed and used? Knowledge cannot be utilized if agents are not aware of its presence and availability. The information about the presence of knowledge needs to be disseminated to inform a large group of potential users and a smaller group of targeted consumers. Some communication channels for knowledge dissemination may include websites, newsletters, emails, blogs, or podcasts. If contact center organizations need to disseminate knowledge to external parties and consumers, they can use newsletters or customized notifications. For internal dissemination, contact center leaders can organize conference calls to discuss lessons learned, use the intranet to list the topmost-reused documents, or send out email messages about proven practices.
Without analyzing all the collected, organized, and shared knowledge, contact centers aren’t able to apply it in a useful way. Knowledge analysis includes multiple steps.
- Verify if the collected knowledge is valid or not
- Secure all confidential knowledge
- Condense or summarize lengthy documents
- Identify trends or patterns that can be expanded and used
- Pinpoint and pull-out proven practices, lessons learned, and rules of thumb
- Conduct a social network analysis to measure and map the relationship between groups of people or organizations. This helps determine what knowledge is useful for which parts of an organization.
5. Optimize for better use
After all an organization’s knowledge has been collected, organized, shared, and analyzed, it’s time to talk about optimization. This is the part where contact centers can utilize things like artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive computing. These can help streamline the optimization process for high-quality decision-making. Be sure to use this in combination with agents’ insight and feedback to ensure there’s always accessible and relevant knowledge to handle any customer query.
A Knowledge Management Strategy is Vital for Success
Without putting in full due diligence, working together as a team, and making efforts to collaborate across all stakeholders, knowledge management outcomes will be incomplete. Using a range of techniques and strategies, thorough and detailed sharing practices, and an agile knowledge
management platform will result in a helpful and positive outcome that will grow and change an organization for the better.