In the 1980s, there was a cartoon by the name of G.I. Joe, based on action figures manufactured by toy giant Hasbro. Due to the popularity of this cartoon, they set out time each week to do a brief PSA aimed to educate kids about the dangers of certain actions. The tagline, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” became entrenched in the lexicon. Now, over thirty years later, kids that grew up on G.I. Joe are business owners and have come to understand just how poignant that message is. Let’s take a look at a couple of ways businesses can expand their knowledge base and use it to improve their operations using IT.
A Knowledge Base Starts by Collecting Data
You can do a lot with the right access and understanding of data. You can alter your business strategies in procurement, operations, and customer service and product support. How do you go about gaining this knowledge? The same way you have accrued the knowledge you use every day, through education. You don’t necessarily need to go to school and spend large amounts of money to do it either. Experience will provide context and once it is coupled with understanding of subsequent analysis tactics, you can build new processes that work to make your business more efficient and productive.
To build a knowledge base your business can use, you need to have what you’ve learned documented. This can happen a number of different ways, but once you’ve committed to documenting your processes, you will have to rely that the people doing this transcription are writing down the right things. After all, if you have documentation that doesn’t give the how or why something is done a certain way, and what that process sets out to accomplish, you might as well not produce any documentation at all.
There are substantial benefits to producing a reliable knowledge base. They include:
- More consistent service delivery - If everyone is being trained from the same resources, and those resources are built with knowledge accrued in your time doing business, it stands to reason that once people are trained, your customers will see more consistency with the service delivery.
- Less time spent in support - With a good knowledge base in place, customer service representatives won’t waste your customer’s time. They can immediately find the resolution to the problem they are having, without having to ask up the chain of command. Moreover, if your knowledge base is extended to your customers, they can effectively troubleshoot their own problems, making it less resource-intensive on your business.
- Reduction in training-related costs - One major benefit it can have is that with a comprehensive knowledge base in place, you will spend less time and money training your staff. Some businesses spend a lot of time training their employees, which means that they are effectively being proactive and trying to eliminate major problems. With a knowledge base in place, you’ll have the resources to quickly onboard new staff members.
How to Start Your Knowledge Base
Chances are you already have. Have you considered that training is costing you more than you’d like and that even with the training you provide, your staff tends to ask questions they should already know the answers to? The first step is determining that your business could benefit from building out resources to help your staff fulfill their duties more effectively.
The next step is to sort through the content you already have and see what needs to be added so that your knowledge base is thorough. Additionally, you will want to pick a format and voice that makes it most effective and stick with it. Nothing is more confusing to new hires and established employees alike, than when there is process documentation that seems to have some sort of contradictory information.
Once you have your knowledge base resources published, you will need to manage it properly. Things change in business all the time and these documents will have to be updated. Furthermore, they won’t do any good if they aren’t readily available for your staff to use. Make sure these resources are up to date and easy to find.
Once you have a knowledge base that both your staff and your customers can utilize, you will find your customer support improving and your product/service easier to manage. If you would like some help getting the technological resources needed to support an effective knowledge base system, contact the IT professionals at Emerge today at 859-746-1030.