Knowledge Management & the Voice of the Customer

Stin Mattu | Senior Knowledge Consultant | Certified KCS Trainer

The title of this blog sounds like something JK Rowling would use for a tale of a student learning magic & wizardry, to overcome the challenges they face on their journey to make the world a better place. Although there are no epic battles & mystical creatures, what you are about to read does include some magical tips, to help you understand how you can make your knowledge more efficient & accessible.

Voice of the customer has been a key focus of most organizations in recent times. To know and understand customer needs, as well as their experiences with products/processes is essential to provide the highest level of service, which in turn has a massive impact on brand value. In a world where our customers are more plugged into new technologies, we need to ensure that we are capturing their issues in their terms, so we can address & serve them better.

So where does Knowledge stand in this?
This depends on how you choose to create/serve the knowledge that they need & the context it is written in.

In any organization, there is a tendency to create jargon as and when a new product or process is put into place. Whether they are technical terms or acronyms, the perception of using these as a sign of business acumen is a blocker to align the customers’ understanding of an issue to our own. While frontline workers wouldn’t necessarily use this language when interacting with a customer, simplifying the language that knowledge articles are written in, will bring a host of benefits.

Firstly, the search for content becomes aligned to the language that the customer will ask their query, if you type it as they say it, it is more likely that the results will reflect their request. It will also reduce the need for an advisor to be a translator of sorts, letting them retain some of their cognitive processing power so it can be used on more important customer-focused activities.

Another internal benefit with this is that even a new employee would be able to understand the content as they start their journey within an organization. Think back to your first ever job, no matter what level of education you may have had, the first few weeks with a new employer is always a fresh period of learning. By removing the need to learn internal jargon where there are equivalent real-world terms, would help with confidence & the time it takes to become more competent in the role (I could have easily used the term speed to competency here & although you would have understood it, this makes the point of simplifying language for everyone to understand).

The instant customer benefit is the ability to make relevant content available to self-serve channels, after all, it will be written in the context/language the customer understands. Whether through self-serve on your website or via chatbot, if the customer can ask the question and get easy access to the answer that they will understand, it empowers them to get a quick resolution to their query.

Take these points and add the principle of having a single source of truth and you give customers the option of not only 24/7 support through self-serve but also the confidence that even if they have to call in, they will get a consistent answer in less time.

If you’re still with me, you are probably thinking about what magical spell can help you achieve this? That’s the easy part, there are two routes you can take here, which depend on where you are currently in your Knowledge Management journey.

If you already have a populated knowledge base in place, set yourself up with a new content standard and article style guide that is focused on your customer’s language as well as how they frame the context of the query. When creating this, listen to different call types to pick up on the common keywords associated with the query types. Contextualize these as examples in your content standard so authors can write new content with a view to keeping it simple. A useful tip here is, would a child who is at an age where they start to read Harry Potter books, understand the content? Once you have embedded the standard, you can then retrospectively edit existing articles as and when they are reviewed.

If you are about to embark on or are early in your Knowledge Management journey, then KCS could be the way forward for you. For those that don’t know, KCS stands for Knowledge Centred Service, a Knowledge Management methodology developed by the Consortium for Service Innovation. Without going into an extensive dive into the methodology, the content creation falls into a set of practices in the Solve Loop, Capturing the information in the customer’s context, Structure it in a simple format that allows you to get the essence of the resolution quickly and easily, Reuse of the content by all to ensure it is fit for purpose and ability to either Improve for those with editing rights or flag for improvement. Even if you are already more advanced in your Knowledge Management journey, KCS can still bring benefits your organization, I would encourage anyone who works in Knowledge Management to look into the methodology, even if it doesn’t fully fit into your strategy, there are elements that will help improve your knowledge and how it can be made accessible quicker.

Good knowledge should not only have the right content but also the right context. If it is not easy to understand for those who need to use it, embark on a noble quest to overcome the forces of bad knowledge. You have the power to improve the customer experience with the help of our mystical hero, Knowledge Management.

As I round this up, I hope that each of your Knowledge Management journeys is as magical & exciting as mine, we all have the ability to help our organizations create best sellers.

The End… or is it?


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