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Article 5 min read

Knowledge management cultivates high-performing teams

By Tara Ramroop

Last updated February 20, 2018

The first prospective customer I spoke to after starting at Lessonly was a call center leader. He ran a large operation with lots of pain points: they had a bunch of remote teammates, onboarded 30+ employees every month, and needed a way to train all their reps while managing a long (and constantly changing) list of products and promotions. In short: They needed a way to manage knowledge internally.

Fast forward a few years, and we’ve helped more than 1.2 million employees, just like the agents in that call center, do better work. In that time, we discovered that a secret weapon of great customer service teams is:

Together, these strategies cultivate high-performing agents that have the right training, the right information at their fingertips, and the ability to exhibit the right behaviors in real-time.

Changing human behaviour is difficult, and building a comprehensive knowledge management strategy is daunting. But giving employees access to and training on a well-organised, central hub of information is key. Turn your knowledge base into a valuable internal resource, which performs double duty as an ongoing training tool, with these four steps.

Map out key knowledge areas

Start by considering the key functional competencies of your best customer service agent—or whoever your frontline employees are. A great source of inspiration should be your most common types of tickets solved. You’ll find that as you group common competencies on your team, most fall under one of these broad areas: company background, product or services, process, and soft skills.

Whatever the key functions of your frontline employees, use the initial knowledge areas to determine detailed courses, lessons, and resources for your team. Once the plan has enough specific topics mapped out and organised, it’s time to start building your knowledge base around these topics and competencies.

Bonus tip: Consider using the customer journey or the voice of your customer to inform what information the agent needs. Great knowledge mapping involves a deep understanding of the customer, and will help you build an internal knowledge management strategy. Don’t just optimise for the obvious issues—think about underlying problems that the customer may need help with and create content around those topics.

How to scale your

Assign ownership of bite-sized chunks

Successful projects have engaged owners—and building out a training program or knowledge management system is no exception. Choose a quarterback (or team of coaches) who will lead the charge on creating the new system. However, these leaders should not be creating all the content in this new repository.

Who in your business knows what frontline agents need most? You guessed it—other frontline agents. We’ve found that the best knowledge management happens when creation is democratised. Rather than expecting distant human resources teams to create all the content, ask the smartest and most seniors agents to contribute. It won’t take much time to create a bite-sized lesson—but it will be exactly what less-experienced reps need. Self-service software makes this type of democratic contribution easier than ever.

Optimise for speed over fidelity

Many of us have read or watched (or even created) content that may have been effective and cutting-edge at one point, but now is just plain out-of-date. That’s why we recommend optimising your knowledge management strategy to favour speed over fidelity.

What exactly does that mean? Fidelity refers to highly produced content, such as broadcast-quality videos or intensive, interactive walkthroughs. This content is expensive to make and immensely difficult to maintain—it could take months to update a high-fidelity video, for example. Optimising for speed, on the other hand, ensures that the knowledge base can be updated rapidly—with easily editable text, pictures, screenshots, and more.

Fidelity is useful for static ideas or processes, but most customer service teams work with constantly changing information—they need to move quickly in order to be effective. In cases like this, prioritising speed over fidelity in your knowledge base will save time and pay remarkable dividends.

Set a maintenance schedule

Internal knowledge bases and training content need intentional care. Nothing is more detrimental to healthy knowledge management than out-of-date—and thus useless—content. As your team creates content, set a cadence for reviewing and updating the lesson or information: perhaps weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Then, assign owners who are responsible for specific information in the knowledge base. This level of shared ownership alongside a cadence of review sets the internal knowledge management strategy up for maximum implementation, engagement, and impact.

So why does knowledge management matter?

Building a central hub of company knowledge takes forethought and effort—but it’s worth every minute. The benefits of a singular source of truth for employees affects productivity, work quality, and employee engagement. At Lessonly, we’ve watched CSAT and NPS scores skyrocket as agents improve consistency and have access to the most updated information. Similarly, we’ve seen first-contact resolution increase as reps have the knowledge they need; not just to solve the problem at hand, but to anticipate future problems.

Best of all—we see employees thriving at life and work. When people feel empowered to do their jobs, their confidence rises, and so does their happiness at work. That’s why internal knowledge management, coupled with great training, is worth it.

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