Consultant and knowledge sharing enthusiast
Whether you are just looking to start the process of better knowledge sharing in your organisation, or if you already have a Knowledge Base you'd like to make better use of, one of the biggest challenges is preparing your department for the change in operations it implies.
Overcome knowledge management challenges
Knowledge management is increasingly important to the modern service desk. I've written before about why this is, but in brief: sharing knowledge in the team reduces the resolution time massively. And shifting left and bringing your knowledge directly to the customer will further cut the amount of tickets logged.
The recipe for to overcome knowledge management challenges has two main ingredients: a great Knowledge Base and a dedicated team that is always working on improving it.
1. Do a service desk-health check
Before you start on the path to knowledge sharing there are a few things you need to find out about your department. Have a look at the percentage of calls that are solved by first line and first time fix and what needs to be escalated. If you are using a Self-Service Portal, how many calls currently go through it? These stats will help you understand where to put your focus.
Other things to have a look at: How many sources of knowledge do you have? Can users access the knowledge? And most importantly: how many reoccurring tickets do you get? The reoccurring questions are the ones you are primarily battling with your knowledge base, of course.
And don't forget to consider how prepared your department is for the change. If you are running other huge projects, you should not work on implementing Best Practice Knowledge Management (BPKM) alongside these. It's a very involved process to implement, and needs priority of you are going ahead with it.
2. Do a pilot run
To make sure BPKM is right for your department (safe to say it will be!) and to see how it works in practice, start off with a small subset of the team. Make sure they are people that talk a lot to the rest of the team, so that all information about the project is spread quickly. Hold weekly evaluations and weekly updates during the pilot. Be incredibly transparent and don’t be afraid of showing the complaints. In the end you will see the benefits take the upper hand quickly, even if there are some growing pains!
Train your team
Once you are satisfied with the pilot testing, the first thing you should do is to give the proper preparatory training to your whole team.
Consider not only giving training in your knowledge base tool of choice, but also some writers training. Remember, people don't get into IT because they are perfect writers and we don't expect the whole team to become copywriters, but the information needs to be communicated clearly. Good, averagely written knowledge is better than no knowledge. To reduce the barriers further, you can always create standard templates for your various types of Knowledge Base articles.
As soon as the training needed is completed, make the jump and go live with the process. Why wait? You can have the first article up as soon as the next call comes in and continuously develop the knowledge base from there.
Coach your team
Making sure your team starts using the portal requires both some incentives and some coaching.
You can easily encourage use of the knowledge base with various competitions like "knowledge contributor of the month" or similar incentives.
For coaching, split group into teams – and give each group a coach. Your team members that were in the pilot do well in this role since they are now more experienced knowledge sharers. Make sure your coaches do their best to keep momentum going and listen to feedback from the people they are assigned to. What is working in the knowledge sharing process, and what isn't?
But don't also be afraid to be a bit pushy at the start. "Did you enter that solution into the knowledge base?" Some of our customers even use entry of Knowledge Base articles as a performance metric for their staff.
Some things to keep in mind
It's good to know that at the start of the process, there may be a lot more work than usual. That's because instead of just closing an incident, an operator is now also expected to update a knowledge item before every closure. The good news though, is that as your knowledge base fills up every call will take less and less time to sort. A bit of initial investment of time in the short run to be able to save a lot of time in the long run!
Share knowledge better in your organisation
Want more inspiration on sharing knowledge? Download our knowledge management e-book for tips and tricks and a way to calculate your time and cost savings.