Implementing a knowledge base can bring substantial long-term improvements. But introducing new software requires careful planning in advance. Here are four common pitfalls companies fall into and how to avoid them.
Getting started with a knowledge base Series
- Part I: 7 Step Checklist for Choosing a Knowledge Base
- Part II: 4 Challenges of Implementing a Knowledge Base
- Part III: 5 Best Practices for Implementing a Knowledge Base
When implemented correctly, a knowledge management platform delivers exponential gains in efficiency. productivity, and customer satisfaction. There are plenty of potential issues that can undermine your efforts both in the planning and implementation phases. To help get ahead of them, we have listed four common problems based on our decades of experience.
However, just as buying an expensive car does not automatically make you an expert driver, buying new software won't automatically fix your problems. Like the car, the software enables you to get from A to B, but you have to do the driving.
1. Unclear Project Goals for your Knowledge Platform
New software can be a catalyst for change but it is ultimately a tool, not a solution. It should be part of your overall digital strategy and address specific real-world issues in your contact centers. Moreover, user adoption and a coordinated effort to implement it and educate users is critical to success.
A knowledge management platform can positively affect a variety of KPIs from first contact resolution rate to average call handling time and even employee onboarding time. In addition to doing an inventory of all your data for the new knowledge base, it is equally critical to outline and review your existing processes to see where and how a knowledge base can streamline and improve them.
2. Starting with Incomplete & Inaccurate Data
Once the ink is dry on your contract and it’s time to plan implementation. Beginning with a knowledge audit that includes a thorough inventory of your current data (physical, digital and undocumented), including not just the documents themselves but also locations.
Agents can quickly identify the obvious sources such as network drives, SharePoint or cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox. However, there are many less obvious sources of data including email, skype chat history, Slack, local text files, physical post it notes and handouts or even information that a few long-term employees just know but isn't written down.
Agents frequently forward each other useful emails or documents and continue to pass them on to new employees or save common resolutions to issues in a text file on their desktop. It’s often the simple, one-off things that are overlooked yet extremely useful. Consider how new agents are onboarded. Do you have regularly maintained official training documents? Or do they sit with existing employees who have developed an unofficial method with their own cheat sheets?
Lastly, once you have made a comprehensive list of all your data and storage locations, it is important not to assume it’s all accurate. While duplicate data at this stage is inevitable, it is critical to not confuse migrating the data into the knowledge base with accurate data. Quality control remains an indispensable part of any knowledge base.
3. Lack of Sharing & Collaboration Culture
A company culture that encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration is essential. To take full advantage of a knowledge base and implement best practices, including KCS methodology, every agent should be an active participant. This means using, improving and creating knowledge inside the contact center.
If your organization does not already have a culture like this, then creating and nurturing one will be a crucial part of the implementation process. This includes employee training, not just on the software itself, but also on a new workflow which includes contributing versus simply consuming. Incentivizing employees as an initial scheme is one option to consider as is gamification.
4. Forgetting to Maintain your Knowledge
A knowledge management platform in your customer contact center will create a single, central repository for all your agents. Once all of your data is migrated however, this is where the rubber meets the road. Clearly outlining roles in advance, assigning responsibility and defining editorial processes is critical to ensuring continued data quality long after the initial rollout.
"Knowledge management is an ongoing process and does not end with installation of new software."
This includes both updating existing documents to ensure they are current as well as incorporating fresh data from sources such as company policies, social media, forums, staff ideas and customer input. Taxonomy and metadata are often and afterthought for many and yet they are a key best practice in knowledge management. Organizing and tagging your knowledge is enormously helpful for agents and helps the system itself learn.
It is absolutely critical to define both clear editorial processes for how information will be created, maintained and updated as well as exactly who will do it. This is even more important if you do not have a dedicated QA or editorial team.
Knowledge management is an essential part of today’s business landscape of global competition and information overload. Ensuring that your new knowledge base is a key component of your digital service strategy is critical.
As companies compete on intangible things such as customer experience and loyalty, contact centers are taking on a new importance from both a marketing and revenue perspective. Implementing a knowledge base requires careful planning and commitment but will deliver long-term and sustainable improvements in your contact center’s KPIs for years to come.