Best Practices for Knowledge Management!

Gone are the days when companies had separate teams for knowledge management. I have seen large companies create teams staffed with professional technical writers whose only job was to create the knowledge in the knowledge base. They get their inputs from reading support emails and sometimes from the product managers. The justification for these teams used to be that creation of a knowledge base would help customers help themselves and hence reduce the number of tickets logged into the helpdesk. Even though these goals sound logical they are so outdated that I would be surprised if anyone is still using separate teams to create knowledge.

The reality is that there is so much information already being generated about your product or service and it is relatively easy to find this information. The key is to know where to look and how to bring that knowledge into the Knowledge base.

Here are some useful places to tap knowledge –

Help desk Agents– Your help desk agents are probably the best source of definitive knowledge that is also current.  The best way to tap into their knowledge is to non intrusively plug into their natural working environment. What I mean by that is when they are working on resolving tickets for customers provide them a simple option (like the push of a Button) to send the resolution of the ticket to the knowledge base. This ensures that your knowledge base gets built rapidly with minimum disruption to agents.

Social Knowledge – Everyday people are talking about your product / brand /industry on their blogs and tweeting about their opinions. Do you know about what people are saying about you? Sometimes valuable tips and tricks are posted in external blogs. A simple Google alert can be setup to bring all this information to your inbox on a daily basis. You can then bring the relevant content into your knowledge base.

Customers  – A lot of meaningful conversations happens these days on your community forums. Your customers will have several tips to share to other customers and these can be great additions to your knowledge base. Do you have the ability to turn meaningful forum posts into knowledge base articles? A forum is great for dialogue, but having a clear and definitive knowledge base will help your customers find answers quickly to their problems.

Channels– Your partners and resellers may have specific local knowledge about customizing your product to work for their customers. For example how to make a particular feature work with special characters in Swedish language or with German version of Windows OS. Are you making it easy for your partners to share this knowledge with you ?

Product Team – There is nothing better than getting  it direct from the source. Your Product developers and Product Manager are the ultimate resource and they usually have the last word on the best solution for a particular problem. Is your product team contributing to your knowledge?

Hope you liked this. I hope you agree that it is time to give your knowledge base a “Fresh” look 😉


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5 thoughts on “Best Practices for Knowledge Management!

  1. @Aravind – Absolutely. QA would be part of the Product team even though I missed mentioning it separately.

  2. QA team requires proper definition and appreciation by the organization stakeholders. QA first and foremost primary task in any co is generally to get certifications like ISO or CMM etc. They focus on getting understanding of various rules/ clauses and versions of standards, and then build docs and unit wise stakeholders to fill them up SOMEHOW, get them audited and safeguard the certifications. QA people appreciating KM, Oh forget it.

  3. Why not extend this version in beta stage into a more comprehensive desk, instead of limiting to ticket management. Say subject wise micro portal or wSS kind of project workspaces where we can create a small discussion threads, doc folders, calender, tasks and issues.

  4. People had become very sociable and expressive nowadays that their opinions really matters.  The sources listed above in tapping knowledge each have their own way of contributing to the knowledge base factor.