This article focus on the ways in which IT Service Desk productivity can be enhanced through the implementation of a quality knowledge management solution.
This initial post introduces knowledge management solutions and the many benefits as well as the many challenges that may be faced without it. Subsequent articles will look at each area in more depth.
Do More with Less
Given the current economic climate, it is now more important than ever that businesses aim to ‘do more with less’; increased budget constraints and reduced staffing levels are just two of the many challenges faced by entire organisations – but nowhere are these challenges more prominent than within a modern day service desk. Can efficiency and productivity be increased against the odds?
A Complex set of Challenges
The challenges of a service desk are vast; not only are senior staff asked to support an increasing number of often complex technologies with fewer resources but they are also under pressure to ensure that the resource that they do have is trained adequately and, most importantly, quickly.
Additionally, they are required to increase first line resolution whilst reducing escalations all without relying too heavily on individual ‘experts’ that, should they be absent for any reason, can leave behind a number of unresolved issues. Add to this the desire to implement a self-service strategy and it’s clear to see why an intelligent knowledge management solution is required.
The Time Spent Searching for Information
45% of the US workforce spends at least 3 hours per week just searching for information in the workplace¹. This shocking statistic becomes even more considerable when it is within the context of a service desk where the inability to find relevant information at first contact can cost the satisfaction of a customer and affect revenue.
Using Knowledge Management to Leverage Existing Information
Such is the reason why companies are keen to implement a knowledge management solution where the ability to leverage existing information is key. One centralised knowledge base that sits over the top of an entire information estate (and all the departments that sit within it) allows staff to quickly and easily find key information at the point of need, consequently making self-service and its many benefits (increased service levels and customer satisfaction plus lowered costs and call volumes) a possibility.
What are the Alternatives?
The consequence of not implementing such a system? Low customer satisfaction and high customer turnover; in a survey of 58 business and technology decision-makers, nearly 40% evaluated their knowledge management abilities as poor or below average.
This gap makes it difficult for customer service agents to quickly find the most relevant information with which to respond to customer requests. This lengthens call-handle times and frustrates customers who are not provided the most pertinent advice for solving their problems.²
Reduce Training Times for New Users
Another advantage to having one ‘overarching’ knowledge management solution is the reduction in (new user) training times. The ability for ‘experts’ along with any other member of staff to share experience and knowledge in a reusable and easy-to-find format allows new employees to quickly gain the confidence that they require to be productive.
This would also help experienced staff to further increase their existing knowledge. This consequently improves the customer experience, reduces escalations and most importantly significantly lowers training time and costs. In fact, some best of breed knowledge bases used effectively have reported reductions in training times from 6 months to 6 weeks to gain 80% operational effectiveness.
Delivering Benefits to Secure Stakeholder Support
Whilst it is true that technology alone cannot transform a business, securing the buy-in of senior members of staff (and consequently adding the final piece to the jigsaw) becomes much easier when they can see a return on their input the value of knowledge management can be measured by the increased effectiveness of staff using the knowledge³ refined speed to resolution and quality, aided adherence to SLAs and, most importantly within this context, a significant improvement in the productivity and efficiency of the service desk.
¹Forrester October 2012, “Take Control of Your Content” report.
²January 10, 2008, “Customer Service Best Practice Adoption” report
³March 9, 2010, “Knowledge Management Is A Foundation For Good Customer Support” report