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Knowledge Management is No Longer a “Nice to Have”

Laura Lockley, February 13, 2019

On the surface, it feels like we can get by without Knowledge Management (KM) and maybe you have done without it for many years. While maybe you can’t drive a car yet, there’s nothing preventing you from learning it. What business goals have been set for you this year? Perhaps a headcount reduction is at your door, maybe you’ve been tasked with increasing your customer satisfaction (CSAT) or support compliance, or some of you may have to drive a self-service strategy (AI/chatbots anyone?). If you’re looking at delivering a step-change in your service, I can’t stress enough the value Knowledge Management can bring to your organization.

Traditionally, KM has often been a neglected practice. The lack of perceived value has led to organizations using tools that aren’t fit for purpose and working on processes that lead to outdated content, weeks of approvals and content that’s only dusted off as a last resort. But KM done right can be your vehicle to deliver positive, sustainable change.  We’ve been helping our customers achieve KM success for over a decade while enabling the Knowledge-Centered Service® (KCS) methodology.

It’s the Killer Combination

When you think of some of the greatest groupings of all time, what comes to mind? Possibly peanut butter and jelly, perhaps milk and cookies, or maybe even Simon and Garfunkel? It takes two to make a great duo and the same goes for a seamless knowledge strategy.  A KM methodology (KCS) that brings knowledge to the core of how your team works on a day to day basis coupled with the right technology partner that delivers the technical capability to do this in line with your needs within your existing technologies and workflows will help you set your support organization up for success. A KCS enabled organization seeks to:

  • Create content as a by-product of solving problems
  • Evolve content based on demand and usage
  • Develop a knowledge base of an organization’s collective experience to-date
  • Reward learning, collaboration, sharing and improving

Driving a Difference

Shift left: Shift left is the concept of bringing resolutions closer to the frontline and the customer. It drives a better customer experience more efficiently and at a lower cost.  KM underpins shift-left. It provides a vehicle to capture knowledge from 2nd and 3rd line teams and share this knowledge in a controlled and sustainable way with frontline.  There’s usually a good reason those resolutions sat with 2nd line, mostly because they are complex and perhaps quite infrequently encountered, so just documenting the resolution and providing training to the frontline is not only unlikely to have a positive impact, it can even cause a worse service if the frontline gets it wrong. If they have a knowledge article to refer to that’s at their fingertips and maintained by the wider support group, they are enabled to get it right the first time and deliver a great service. (see here for more https://uplandsoftware.com/rightanswers/resources/blog/kcs-engaging-your-second-line-teams-for-shift-left/)

Self-service: With or without a chatbot, self-service success hinges on being designed around customer’s needs.  It’s tempting to write very official sounding content, but for complex issues, being perfectly technical doesn’t always mean they’re going to be much use.  For example, a customer calling you with the issue: “I’ve had to call from my mobile phone because my main phone has a background buzzing noise when I use it” might be able to get an answer from your agents who would translate this into “Static on Cisco IP telephony” but what chance would a customer have of finding that article in your self-service portal described that way?  A knowledge management strategy that supports capturing the context of the customer is vital and that can only happen if the content is written or informed by those who directly support your customers. For more on how KM underpins chatbot success, take a look here: (https://uplandsoftware.com/rightanswers/resources/webinar/top-5-reasons-why-your-chatbots-should-be-powered-by-knowledge-management/)

Reduce reliance on SMEs: Experts are amazing, but what happens when they are away from the office, or move to another role? KM reduces your reliance on Subject Matter Experts by having them share their knowledge in a controlled and sustainable way.  Rather than answering the same questions multiple times over email or chat, have them share the knowledge in the form of an article that can be reused by others and capitalized on by the whole organization.  We’re always going to need experts to help with first-time situations, but if they’ve solved it once, we should be able to learn from this as a team.

Employee satisfaction:  It’s no secret that agents who are equipped to do a good job and can solve more issues without needing to seek help are happier in their roles.  Giving your team the tools they need to do their job increases agent satisfaction, and this can begin a domino effect: Happier agents make for happier customers, reduce attrition rates and the associated training costs, and reduced absentee rates.

Learn more!

If you’d like to learn more about the KCS methodology, join us for the itSMF KCS Masterclass in London on May 21st, 2019. We’ll be covering an overview of the methodology, including:

  • Identifying the link between the support organization’s goals and KCS
  • Gaining an appreciation for the KCS principles and practices – what’s different
  • Learning how to motivate participation
  • Learning how to measure effectiveness and target success
  • Understanding the critical role of leadership in sustaining a knowledge practice

*KCS is a Service Mark of the Consortium For Service Innovation



About the Author:

Laura Lockley is an expert in the field of Knowledge Management and KCS. She is a qualified KCS Trainer and has many years of experience in running her own knowledge practices and Contact Centers, as well as training and coaching others in Knowledge Management practices.

To connect with Laura, visit:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauralockley/

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