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Knowledge Management

5 steps to building a help desk knowledge base

By Guilherme Bueno on April, 4 2017

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Guilherme Bueno

Improving the quality of service delivery is a commendable goal, but our day-to-day workload sometimes means this remains an elusive fantasy. Few of us have the time to sit down and consider the benefits that a well-constructed, shared and used knowledge base can provide.

We often come across organisations where the Knowledge Base is under-utilised. Here at our office in Brazil, we found that a staggering 85% of companies with an implemented service management tool either don’t use a knowledge base or aren’t using it to its full potential.

In an age where we’re used to solving most of life’s questions by typing them into a search field, the concepts of knowledge management and ‘shift left’ have gained a lot of momentum. Shift left is the transferring knowledge ‘leftwards’ – i.e. closer to the end user. This means that we can equip end users without any previous knowledge with the information required to solve simple tasks themselves. For the service desk, this means more time to focus on bigger tasks. But for this to happen, you need to remember three key steps:


  • Publish: Knowledge lost in documents or in people's heads is directly reflected in the efficiency of the customer care.
  • Share: Encourage the service team to share information, including to the end user, when possible.
  • Review: It's no use making a good public document shareable if it's already obsolete.

We talk a lot about knowledge bases, but here is something which we should touch upon more often: how to maintain one.

This is the process that your knowledge management should follow, and should be your mantra: publish, share, review, publish, share, review. With the emphasis on the review, of course. If you buy a new batch of printers, but your instructions for changing printer paper relate to the previous model, you’re not helping anyone!

1. Structure

To start with, there’s no use in creating multiple documents in a short time. It’s simply not efficient because many of these documents may never be used. Instead, try to continuously deploy your knowledge base – and use your analysts to do so. Try to structure a process in which the analyst can identify if the problem might have been solved by the requester themselves, or indeed only by a technical analyst.

If it’s an issue that could be easily resolved (such as a password reset), then the analyst can create a knowledge item on the back of the call. This can help other users find the information they need, without having to contact support. If the analyst can't create the document at the moment of call resolution, they can flag it to identify that the call has content that can be transformed into knowledge.

Bear in mind that it does not have to be user-centric content. Those higher up in the chain of support can create knowledge items for those further down, or their colleagues at the same level - sharing is caring, after all.

2.  Create knowledge items

Once you have lots of calls ‘tagged’, you can begin creating knowledge items, prioritizing issues that have greater impact or that are time-consuming to analysts. Set aside time for document creation. Encourage teamwork, and try to create incentive campaigns to get the ball rolling.

3. Stipulate parameters

After some time working on the creation of knowledge items, you can create a new target for your operation: every solved call must have a linked knowledge item.

Of course, you can’t expect this to be 100% effective, but with time – and as the team matures – your percentage will increase. This will also help in allowing new analysts to get up to speed quicker, based on the experience from previous resolutions.

4. Share the Knowledge

With any call that can be solved without the help of a technical analyst and that already has a knowledge item containing a fix, that item should be sent to the user. To make this happen, you must introduce your whole organisations to the easy convenience of self-service! If you need any help with this, you can see our separate blog post on how to better promote your self-service portal.

5. Review your knowledge base

Finally, review the documents as often as possible and necessary (wherever your happy medium lies). Create measures to evaluate the use of the documents and find out if they really are effective in solving the user's difficulties. More on maintaining your knowledge base can be found in this post.

Share Knowledge Better in your Organisation

Want more inspiration on building better knowledge bases? Download our Knowledge Management e-book for tips and tricks and a way to calculate your time and cost savings. 

Download the Knowledge Management E-book

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