2020 was for many enterprises a time of survival. The new year offers a chance to set fresh priorities, find innovative ways to drive growth and learn to thrive in uncertain times.
Technology is sure to play a role in helping organizations thrive, not just survive in 2021. Using digital tools to cope with a crisis will likely lead more companies to fully adopt technologies like knowledge management (KM), which can deliver real value to businesses in two important ways:
1. It allows internal processes to be defined to enable real and lasting change.
2. It enables the delivery of knowledge to the people (employees and customers) who need it in new and better ways.
As the CEO of a company that has developed a KM platform, I’ve seen firsthand how KM can help businesses, but it’s important to understand the role that data plays before you dive in.
Understanding The Role Of Data
Most organizations now realize that data in and of itself doesn’t create a competitive advantage or generate business value. It’s what you do with data that significantly moves the needle. A KM solution can help convert data into knowledge that can be easily shared across your entire organization.
What will drive KM in 2021? It will, as always, be about improving the customer experience (CX) while simultaneously acknowledging the role that a positive employee experience (EX) plays in the process. And as we see many companies accelerating their adoption of digital technologies, I think KM will likely become embedded in broader organizational data strategies.
Here’s my advice on how to find a platform that fits your needs.
Stay Focused On CX And EX
Companies that focus on creating a great EX inevitably see an improved customer experience. Why? Because happy employees tend to be more productive, engaged and invested in a company’s success. That positive mindset spills over into customer interactions, which results in exceptional experiences that promote trust and loyalty.
A recent C-suite poll found that three-quarters of executives believe that one of the pandemic’s lasting effects will be organizations working faster and with more agility. A central KM system can make everything easier and more efficient for employees and customers alike. It can provide a simpler, more manageable infrastructure that can be used to drive better CX.
To ensure it increases value and reduces costs, look for a KM platform that prioritizes designing, managing and measuring the EX. Remote employees, in particular, may need increased support through automation, collaboration and artificial intelligence tools such as chatbots to streamline their workloads and allow them to focus on higher-value activities.
Self-service can make it easier and faster for customers to get information, place orders and solve common issues. Driven mainly by the increase in support calls during the pandemic, many companies are now doubling down on self-service solutions that can keep waiting times low and customer satisfaction high.
Many customer problems are easily solvable if they know where to look for answers. Creating a knowledge base, FAQ section and other online documentation that provides solutions to common problems makes for the exceptional CX that a more digitally savvy audience demands. Consumers have long said they’d use an online knowledge base if it were available — and tailored to their needs.
It’s critical when choosing a KM platform to find one that has self-service capabilities that make customers’ lives much easier. Ideally, you want a solution that assists users in completing the most common tasks your live agents get queries about, provides 24-hour support to anyone seeking assistance, and is simple enough to use but sophisticated enough to meet complex needs. It should also allow customers to have conversations on any channel, including email, chat, voice and social messaging apps.
Easy Collaboration Is Key
KM provides a more effective exchange of ideas, which can lead to improved decision-making and better quality customer service. Plus, the stronger a workforce collaborative culture is, the more innovative an organization tends to be.
Organizations looking for a flexible collaboration tool that allows users to create and publish self-service and other knowledge bases should consider KM software that offers customization, powerful search functions and easy collaboration across teams.
Look For A User-Friendly Interface
It’s easy to focus too much on the technology side of a digital tool. It’s a common issue when implementing a KM program. It’s imperative, though, for organizations to offer a truly great user experience (UX) from the moment employees log in. A well-designed UX allows companies to leverage their KM system properly and provide employees with an enjoyable, more human-centered solution that doesn’t overwhelm them.
What does a user-friendly KM system look like? It lets people quickly find answers by topic, is easy to learn and understand and reliably delivers information users need when and where they need it.
Ensure That It’s Customizable And Scalable
Not every organization uses knowledge in the same way. For instance, each company has its own specialized knowledge, customer service practices and compliance issues.
Look for easy-to-use customization features that not only help to provide a great UX but also give leadership deeper insights into business process performance. You want your platform to be flexible enough to grow along with your business, which will prevent it from becoming inefficient and irrelevant. True scalability ensures that what works for your company now will continue to work as it changes and grows.
Knowledge Management: A Tool To Thrive On
KM empowers employees to share best practices and contribute to both their team’s and the company’s greater good. Employees who feel their voices are heard and who see their contribution become part of the company’s fabric are more likely to become engaged, active participants in its success. That can lead to higher productivity and profitability, which are goals for just about every organization.
Good KM solutions are purpose-built, simple to use, easy to customize and scale, and they offer satisfying customer and employee experiences. When selecting a KM system for your organization, make features like search speed and data and security compliance top priorities. Finally, be sure to regularly measure your KM system’s effectiveness so you can fully realize your knowledge management goals.