Every experienced manager understands that knowledge does not win the day; the right management of knowledge does. In today’s highly competitive commercial environment, it’s imperative for business owners and department heads to oversee the many different stores of digital data, like training guides, manuals, contract protocols, and even customer-facing content.
These digital stores, each one of which is referred to as a knowledge base (KB), are immensely helpful resources for customers and in-house employees who need to obtain essential information about products, services, and company policies.
From a sales point of view, KBs help deliver excellent customer service because they offer a searchable database for clients and potential clients.
The whole point of maintaining knowledge bases is to provide expert-level answers to common questions, but to do so via a written collection of content that requires no interaction between people.
KBs are excellent at sharing knowledge throughout an organization, at assisting those who have questions about products and services, and at helping company workers who advise and assist customers.
In many ways, these content-rich stores of information are an effective way to offer prospective and current clients a self-service in the form of a searchable database that they can browse as they wish. Some KBs are two-pronged, with one side that faces customers and another for in-house use only.
For businesses of all sizes, it’s essential for employees to understand not only what a KB is but what its key benefits are. Additionally, everyone who is involved with creating or maintaining the KB should know how to avoid the common pitfalls of building and managing the data.
Most organizations have at least experimented with knowledge base software like those found here, which offers the following benefits:
- Enhanced customer satisfaction and trust
- Lower costs
- Heightened collaboration for company teams
- An excellent source of support for customers who have general questions
- Consistent quality of the base’s contents
- An effective and easy way for employees to share important information
- Faster problem resolution for clients and in-house personnel who need answers to a wide range of questions
Software only works to the extent that management is willing to support it with an excellent set of data and long-term support. A more important point is the base itself, which has multiple benefits of its own, with or without software.
Benefits of a Great Knowledge Base
When done right, knowledge base management solves a variety of problems and even prevents many problematic issues from ever appearing. Whether your company installs the resource for customers, in-house workers, or both, there are dozens of great reasons for doing so. Here are the most cited:
1. Shorter help calls
Advisors who assist customers or company personnel don’t have to spend a lot of time hunting for answers when they have a workable set of data and content right in front of them.
Likewise, when clients ask questions, they have often already searched the customer-facing base and gained some insight from it. That means they’re likely halfway to a solution based on what they’re already read.
The result all around is much faster problem resolution whether the questions come from in-house or outside the organization.
2. Training is faster
Advisors can get up to speed quickly when they familiarize themselves with the data in the KB. That helps the company in numerous ways, primarily in leading to faster training.
If advisors leave, they can be replaced without significant interruption in the daily management of the information base.
3. Self-service for clients
One of the major benefits for sales-based organizations is informed customers. It’s difficult to say how many prospective clients get their queried settled just by reading and doing their due diligence before contacting a human resource manager or advisor.
Many consumers find what they’re looking for after a few minutes or longer. Depending on how thoroughly the KB has been assembled and prepared, it can act as the number one self-service point for current and potential customers.
4. Customer feedback informs employees
If relevant customer feedback makes its way to employees in all departments, then the resource is working as it should.
When in-house teams in all departments know what the most common client queries are, they can tailor their actions accordingly. For example, if the most frequently-asked question KB advisors receive is about how to place an online order via the company’s website, that’s one way the web development team can know exactly what needs to be done.
It’s often said that customer complaints and questions are the most efficient tools for fixing what needs to be fixed in any corporation.
Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes
Creating a centralized location for a massive collection of information can be a grueling, challenging, long-term project for any business.
It pays to know what the most common IT knowledge management mistakes are. There are more than just a few, but the following seem to appear time and again for small and large entities who take on the challenge of creating a KB.
- Using too much specialized lingo
- Forcing users to log in
- Offering answers that are too long or too complex
- Building a resource that is not customer-centered
- Making answers too boring and indirect
There’s no sense in repeating mistakes. Taking the time to plan what will go into the base and how to word every sentence will go a long way toward helping clients find what they’re looking for. Of course, the same principles apply to building a KB for use by in-house personnel as well.