Knowledge Management: A Key Component in Crisis Management

Stin Mattu, Senior Knowledge Consultant & KCSv6 Certified Practitioner

We are living in unprecedented times with COVID-19 causing disruption to all walks of life. Organizations are feeling the strain in serving the public, with key workers having to power through to ensure that the world keeps moving.

This is not the first crisis that we’ve had to weather, and it won’t be the last, but this is the first one in most of our lifetimes that has affected the global community. We are all looking at ways to help in any way that we can, and it is great to see so many collaborations happening on a daily basis to enable people to make a difference.

Sitting at home this weekend, I was thinking about how Knowledge Management (KM) professionals have always thought about these scenarios when looking at implementations of KM tools and strategies with clients starting out in their KM journeys.

Some of the key enablers that Knowledge Management has to offer include:

Helping free up mental capacity by reducing the cognitive load

People can offer the best reassurance through challenging times, so when working in a stressful situation, we need to help our teams by giving them access to expert advice in a timely manner. A well-structured, well-maintained knowledge base does exactly that. Coupled with the right delivery method, it enables users to find and use the right information at the right time, in turn reassuring their customers that the advisor has the ability to provide help quickly and accurately.

Utilizing a single source of truth

If you have ever had a conversation with me, you know the mantra of “single source of truth” is a key success factor when setting up a KM strategy. In times of crisis, everyone should only rely on one source for business resolutions. Giving a customer conflicting advice breeds uncertainty and will reduce confidence. Leveraging content written by experts and making it available via your internal KM tool, self-serve, and chatbots will help ensure everyone receives the same consistent message.

Scaling up support

We’ve all heard of times where a crisis ramps up incoming contact requests, so colleagues from different departments are drafted in to help meet the demand. The above 2 enablers apply to this one to give you a solid foundation. If your knowledge database is structured correctly, comes from one source, and has an easy interface to navigate, it should be easier for anyone with basic knowledge of what your organization does to start helping out with the easier inquiries, freeing up the experienced advisors pick up the more difficult cases. Add to this the ability to structure content in step-by-step guided help/decision trees and the job becomes easier for the colleagues who are stepping in.

Offering solutions directly to customers through self-serve

Any knowledge that helps customers diagnose issues or empowers them to get the information they need without speaking to an advisor should always be offered as self-service content. Whether available through self-serve areas of your website or chatbots, putting the power in a customer’s hands to solve a query without having to wait in long queues is beneficial to all. Not only will it save the customer time, but it also allows the experts to deal with the more complex issues that come through.

Using KCS methodology to allow users to start creating on-demand solutions as they happen

If your organization has adopted KCS methodology, you will find that you have a mechanism already in place to mobilize new knowledge quickly as a crisis happens. From capturing the issue in the customer’s context, reusing/adding the content, through to validating and publishing to self-serve portals, the process can be tracked. This provides both solutions in a timely manner, as well as valuable insight for product/process teams to continuously improve.

The knowledge base should be a trusted resource

A well-structured, well-maintained knowledge base should be a trusted tool that can be easily updated to give the right information as quickly and easily as possible. Taking advantage of KM means one less thing to worry about in a challenging environment.


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