Many of us work in silos and rarely share knowledge across teams – how could we work smarter? Where are the opportunities to work together that could improve things across the board?
We’re exploring these questions and more with two teams that need to collaborate – knowledge management and customer support leadership.
Support Driven and Cleverly turned to seasoned customer support professionals to answer these questions and more. We asked active members of our Slack community to participate in a round table about everything knowledge management. Stay tuned to learn about approaches and ideas shared by our talented pros.
Representing the knowledge management perspective
Representing the customer support leadership perspective
Something Old, Something New?
When talking about knowledge base management, we often think about creating new content, but what about existing one? Our participants agree, revisiting past articles is as important, if not more so, than writing new ones.
The way of reviewing the knowledge base often varies from team to team. Let’s say you can pick from ten to twenty most popular articles according to your metrics and make sure they offer the top-notch, most reliable data. If your customers read them the most, that means they would judge everything else according to them.
We track our knowledge base usage analytics to understand which articles are most popular. We then review the top 10-20 articles to ensure that they are up-to-date and any screenshots reflect the latest version of the product.Tadas Labudis, Founder and CEO at Prodsight
Certainly, leaning on data is a great way to keep everything most recent up to date. But there are certain risks of such an approach. What if, when concentrating on the most popular articles, we oversee less successful but dated content?
Keeping a regular cadence of reviewing your oldest articles is helpful to make sure everything is still accurate.Claire Littell, Customer Success Program Manager at Pendo
Knowledge Base Audit
In the ever-changing world of tech – where products get updates faster than Kit Kat in Japan to release new flavors – we have to dedicate time and resources to assert not only parts of it but the knowledge base as a whole. Gladly, there is a solution for that: Knowledge Base Audit.
I do a comprehensive audit at least twice annually, in which I review each article line-by-line and test every set of instructions to make sure they accurately reflect our product’s current interface.Sara Collins, Community Manager at NerdWallet
The idea sounds excellent. If you want to keep your whole knowledge base up to date, it makes sense to review all the articles. Of course, that may sound like a lot of work. But like with all big tasks – planning is the key.
Before I start I do note any general objectives I have besides updating the content, like updating all instances of “member” to “user” when our company made that change, or looking for opportunities to add naturally placed monetizing links.
I also try to keep a holistic perspective in mind, not just focusing on the content of individual articles but looking for opportunities to make the knowledge base’s structure clearer or more navigable.
Our KB has a little over 150 articles and the audit generally takes a couple of weeks, give or take a few days depending on what other projects I have on my plate.
Sara Collins, Community Manager at NerdWallet
We also suggest performing the audit 2-4 times a year. More would be overkill, too tedious, and possibly unnecessary. As for what to do if you manage a massive knowledge base or several of them, summoning your teammates for help will be the most rewarding. Or you can hire folks from outside if your team too busy with the queue.
BWe’ll usually do a short kick-off meeting where I mention things to look out for – like language changes (again, like changing “member” to “user”) – and give instructions like making sure to actually test numbered instructions in the app. It’s not usually too hard to find someone who would enjoy a break from the support queue, just to mix things up.Sara Collins, Community Manager at NerdWallet
Asking For Help and Building Camaraderie
When talking about teammates, let’s not forget that folks from other teams – Product, Engineering, or Marketing – also can help with keeping the knowledge base nice and reliable. Set a pipeline for feedback and create a workflow to turn it into content updates.
I have a Slack channel for the help center, and a Trello workflow. it’s a public channel and people are good about asking for articles, and giving feedback on existing articles. When a post is made in this channel that requires action, I use a reactji to make a card in Trello. From there, I make notes, label it and move it to “Urgent”, “Prioritized soon”, “Nice to Have”, “Needs review”, “In process/Not me” and “Done”Sarah Betts, Senior Customer Support Agent at Alyce
Work closely with product teams and make sure knowledge management is aware of any product changes before they are released, combined with a process to have documentation created and/or updated.Cristina Fonseca, Co-Founder and CEO at Cleverly.ai
And when looking for time and resources to keep the knowledge base updated, let’s also turn to the support team. Assigning small projects to fellow support members, can not just serve as a nice breather outside of the queue, but also pave a new career path!
Anytime someone highlighted the needs for an article in the knowledge base, we’d ask them to take a stab at creating one. Thereafter a senior team member or a supervisor would review it and viola! This has been working well and has also empowered the team. It’s a win-win!
We looked at agents whose performance was strong, who were contributing in onboarding and ramping up new agents and those who had a high CSAT.
Anytime the need for an article was flagged, it was assigned to that agent as long as they met the above-mentioned criteria; then we allocated time in their rota to work on the article which was then vetted by a supervisor and ready to be published
Dimple Pattani, Frontline Customer Support Team Lead at GoCardless
And let’s not forget that our customers also love to be heard. Give them an opportunity to leave feedback about the articles and it’ll prove to be a major source for knowledge base updates.
We review every piece of feedback that comes in, update our content based on the feedback, and inform our customers about the changes we made. Customer feedback is one of our strongest qualitative feedback loops, and provides an opportunity to delight customers – they love to know that their input directly resulted in a change to our content.Jason Schulke, Support Content Operations Manager at Airtable
No matter what approach you choose for keeping your knowledge base up to date, let’s not forget to put customers first. We work on and maintain this tool to help them find answers and get help as fast as possible.
Credits: Written by Sasha Shumovskaia – Community Management & Customer Support