Your support staff is the backbone of your company. Regardless of your industry or what types of products or services you offer, your staff needs the information to function adequately and meet your customers' needs. That means distributing and storing data in a system where people with the right credentials can easily access it without creating unnecessary risk.
Let's break down what a knowledge management system (KM system) is, how your support staff can use one, and how it will benefit your company overall.
Why Provide Your Support Staff with a Knowledge Management System
The term knowledge management refers to exactly what it sounds like: how your knowledge management process and knowledge management tools distribute valuable information about your company to employees. A knowledge management system is a database that automatically stores your intellectual capital. An effective knowledge management system makes it easily accessible, via your company's knowledge management software, to employees.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became important to find a knowledge management solution. Remote employees needed access to explicit knowledge and implicit knowledge somehow.
There are reasons why a knowledge management system can make or break a company, as we explain in the sections below.
A big part of your managing knowledge help center is determining who should have access to it. There is plenty of confidential information, like customer payment information, that shouldn't be available to your workforce. Letting anyone access your knowledge assets results in a lawsuit or a security breach.
However, there are plenty of legitimate reasons why an employee would need the necessary permissions to customer payment resources. For example, suppose a customer messages your customer service representative wanting to change the credit card on file and remove the old one. In that case, your rep will need the ability to see and make changes to that data.
When one of your teams makes a discovery, or you have new insights into existing data, you want to ensure that that information makes it into the right hands to really make a difference.
As customer service representatives continue to work with consumers, they can capture more information about their behaviors and queries to build more robust insights.
Instead of having designated trainers or mentors who need to spend time holding the hands of new employees and walking them through various necessary processes, you can have those employees focus on their own work and work smarter, not harder.
With a knowledge management system, new trainees can find answers to their questions and use an automated system to help them walk step by step through unfamiliar workflows until they get the hang of things.
Another way a knowledge management system promotes productivity is by how it facilitates communication. A knowledge management system tracks new changes from anywhere, so your content is always freshly updated with records of who made the changes and when they were made.
This is especially useful in remote working conditions when you can't lean over to another desk and just ask somewhat what they did.
Various Types of Knowledge
There are three primary types of knowledge: extrinsic, intrinsic, and tacit. Most of the knowledge shared is extrinsic, like instructions for making something or materials needed to produce an item. Intrinsic knowledge is harder to convey since it requires personal experience to understand fully. This may consist of best practices for specific workflows or internal procedures that your employees still need to know, but it may take some time for them to internalize.
Tacit knowledge, on the other hand, conveys unspoken things like expected behaviors. All of these types of knowledge are valuable and should be stored and shared, but they require different means of communication.
With a knowledge management system, it is easy to store and convey the different types of information in ways that employees will appreciate. You won't need to worry that different departments are getting different truths about aspects of your company or confusing customers with different answers: everything comes from a single source.
It can also be frustrating for the employee who must seek out someone to answer their questions, especially if they need to contact multiple people to receive answers. Employees can get more done in less time when they don't need to waste hours of the workday finding the one person who knows the answer to a pressing question.
With a knowledge management system, onboarding and training new employees can be easier and less expensive. Your company can save money on overhead costs by allowing trainees to view video lessons or listen to explanations with rich content, whether they're working in the office or remotely.
If you don't have an efficient way to share details about your company, the etiquette expected, and how to deal with various common situations, no one in your company will be operating at peak efficiency. Your higher-level employees will spend their days in forums answering basic questions from new and existing employees who don't have access to the information they need to thrive.
Prioritize Expertise Over Experts
Instead of having one person be the resident expert at something, your company should focus on giving all of your employees some of that expertise. It's only natural that certain people will be better at some things or have more experience in roles emphasizing those skills than others, but everyone should have the same basic knowledge of where to look for answers.
Having one person be the expert is a huge risk since that person could retire or move to another company with no one there to fill in the gap they leave. Instead of letting that bring down your company's productivity, a better option is encouraging people to record their knowledge and make it accessible to others so that the loss of one person doesn't bring down your entire business.
Consolidate Your Brand
One of the biggest complaints by customers is that they experience a brand differently throughout their interactions. This could range from reading multiple blog articles that were written with different tones or with different audiences in mind to receiving multiple answers from customer service representatives.
If you don't present a united front about answers for support tickets, it can make customers lose confidence in your support team.
One popular method of decreasing support costs while still improving customer experience is through knowledge sharing such as a brand reference guide. This guide can answer basic questions about the type of tone, language, and expressions that blog writers should use. Other people who would reference this brand guide are your marketing team and customer service representatives, especially those who answer questions online through social media.
Instead of dealing with a physical copy that needs to be reissued every so often to stay up-to-date on various changes, you can utilize a knowledge management system to update the information every time you make a change automatically.
That means that your employees always have the most current version to reference, and nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
With a knowledge graph, your company has a single source of truth about the public facts of your brand. It doesn't apply to confidential information, but with a knowledge graph, potential customers can easily find answers to their burning questions about your offerings on their own without needing to get in contact with your customer service representatives.
Whether it's information about a product offering, store location, job opening, or professional credentials, you'll be able to provide people with actionable answers to the questions they're already asking. With knowledge management systems, your customers can reach faster solutions to their issues through self-service, improving their overall experiences.
Even if your customers do seek the assistance of a customer service representative, they won't have to worry about languishing on hold or being transferred. All of your employees will have access to the same information they can quickly convey to your customers.
With the right kind of knowledge management system, storing and sharing sources of knowledge becomes streamlined and easy. Knowledge is only useful in the hands of people who can use it to make a difference in the way things are done, which is why it is so critical that knowledge be readily available to employees for collaboration throughout your company.
Contact us to learn more about knowledge management systems and how your company can facilitate the start sharing of knowledge by leveraging one today.