When the Walking Knowledge Base Walks Away

4th Feb 2016

We all know that person at work that knows everything – the ‘Walking Knowledge Base’.  It can be an advanced tech-support representative, a sales superstar, or a retail store manager.  There’s a Walking KB (Knowledge Manager) for every function.  It doesn’t matter what title they carry. It’s about their knowledge, know-how, and expertise.  So, what happens when too many people rely on your Walking KB?  What happens when this information guru walks away and leaves your company?   

Content management solutions, self-service portals, and Cloud & Intranet document sharing technology have come a long way, but we still can’t easily find the information we need.  Whether at work, at a store, or with Google at our fingertips – accurate answers are still hard to find.  We drown in a sea of disorganized information.  We would love to start digging for the answers, but it’s so much easier to just ask our “Walking KB”, and get one simple and accurate explanation. 

Let’s think about the gaps and barriers to a great self-service experience, so we can understand what solutions could successfully and more efficiently replace the ‘walking KB’. 

  1. Clean-up your ‘organized’ mess

So many companies have multiple databases of information. Whether it’s an online university, Dropbox, Sharepoint, service portals, it’s hard to figure out where the information is really stored and it’s practically impossible to maintain data integrity (“one source of the truth”).  Even if your clients search in the right place – they still have to sort through a long list of categories and many pages of irrelevant data hoping to find what they are looking for. Today’s online customers and even your employees have a short attention span. You only have a brief window of opportunity to serve accurate answers before your ‘Walking KBs’ will be bombarded with inquires.     

Look for one solution that allows you to streamline knowledge to multiple channels (e.g., your employee portal, customer support, Social channels, mobile applications and more), enabling you to keep a consistent voice and eliminate the tedious search for guidance in multiple sources.  In addition, your solution should also allow users to ask questions in their own language and their own phrasings.  Don’t expect your customers, partners and even your employees to know the exact business lingo.  Provide one-solution with one easy access-point. 

  1. Close the Knowledge gaps. The answer is in the questions.     

Whether it is for clients, business partners, or employees, one of the most difficult tasks an experience manager can take on is trying to understand user expectations and anticipate what information these users are seeking. Working hand in hand with KB Managers, they spend hours interviewing with key stakeholders, analyzing tickets, emails, and other data just to figure out what information is missing and what content to publish. Despite the effort, much needed information is still missing.   In addition, content update processes are cumbersome and not integrated seamlessly into our work flow.  So our systems are always behind, playing catch up with the Walking KB experts.

Solutions like nanorep provide detailed and sophisticated analytics that capture each user’s interaction, questions and guidance requests.  They keep track, analyze and sort all questions, regardless of phrasings or spelling mistakes, so KB Managers, marketers, and PMs can easily know what interests their employees and customers.  They can develop the right content, promote the right products, and use key words that resonate with their customers.  Understanding the needs of your users is power!  Imagine knowing what questions you get per channel, per product, per user type, and by time-frame. 

  1. Get to the point. Provide short, interactive answers.

When we finally get answers, they are often long, tiresome articles. No one really has the time to read long support articles, and given the option, they would jump at simple, straight forward guidance. Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter, especially when we encounter a problem and must contact tech support.This is definitely not the time for long articles.

Provide pictures, videos, step-by-step troubleshooting guides, on-screen guidance and more – that’s what users really want. Make it fun and interactive, so users will prefer the self-service option over relying on the go-to person – the walking KB.

  1. Smart channeling keeps your Walking KB happy. 

Don’t abuse your Walking KBs.They can’t be the ‘go-to’ person for every question.Let’s take tech support as an example.In many organizations, being a tech support representative requires extensive training, unique skills and expertise.Though your tech support reps enjoy solving challenging problems, they often find themselves answering simple how-to questions, resulting in frustration and ultimately a high turn-over rate.

Use your valuable resources carefully.There’s a time and a place to get the Walking KB involved, so look for solutions with smart channeling.Your customer experience funnel must start with self-service.Only customers that can’t self-serve should be routed to the appropriate person.Smart channeling is about a sophisticated set of rules (e.g., geo location, user type, product type, language, channel, place in the digital journey and more) that can be applied specifically per each inquiry type, in order to automatically route online inquires to the appropriate go-to person.

Your ‘Walking KBs’ are your most valuable employees.Don’t let them walk away or ‘push’ them to the competition.Treat their time with the utmost respect.There are great digital guidance solutions that will enhance productivity and allow for efficient allocation of resources while providing excellent customer service.

This article was written by Orly Mager, VP Sales at nanorep.

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