It is that time of year once again. I started to think what part of continual service improvement I wanted to see implemented to its fullest. While there are likely many areas to consider I always seem to go back to Knowledge as the great equalizer for improvement initiatives for so many other activities. It is likely that you have some form of knowledge management now. The question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you are gaining the value from it that you should be.
Much like many other New Year’s resolutions you may start out with good intentions and then in time fall short of the goals in which you set out. While Knowledge management could apply to various IT teams in this post I am going to talk specifically to getting things started with the Service Desk team.
If you were to ask the Service Desk, “Do we currently have a place where our customers and find answers to questions themselves?” they may say, “We have some how-to reference material on an intranet site”. While this is a good start but the follow up question to that should be, “is that information still relevant or are there more important things to have on there. It might be at this point where you might see some shoulder shrugs. Without a way to manage this we tend to “dump stuff” on these sites to stop the same complaints that are coming in. While this does satisfy the influx of calls in the interim it doesn’t really address serving the customer in ways that improve service.
It is likely that your services are ever changing. So it is important to have a knowledge process which is equally as scalable to keep up with demand of the customers. Move things around. You might not need a quick reference card for the installation of Netscape any longer.
More and more people are turning to search engines to find relevant solutions to their problems. As a result customer expectations on quick answers are increasing and their patience for waiting is dwindling.
In the beginning….
Ask your Service Desk manager what the top 10 calls are, you may find some low hanging fruit where knowledge management can provide some remedies. Starting simple will allow you to get some momentum without overcomplicating things but it will also give you the ability to report on what is going on. Remember you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Make sure you have an ability to report on what improvements you make through some type of analytics.
Think about a way to gather feedback on the customer experience regarding the knowledge articles where it makes sense. Be careful on this though as you want to be sure that you can manage what comes though this type of information gathering. Ultimately you want to validate that the information is correct and provides the most value and where applicable where other records could be of value. We don’t want to create a document locker of WORN information.
Allowing your frontline staff to address more technical issues and having your knowledge repository taking care of the ‘easy stuff’ it should improve the customer experience immensely. But this is just the start…..