― Daniel J. Boorstin, The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself
A recent article entitled, “To Engage Customers, Empower Employees with Knowledge” from Microsoft Dynamics, reflects a recent challenge that we faced in terms of employee knowledge capture.
The State of Knowledge Management 2014 report from John Ragsdale, the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), asks “If your organization was sharing knowledge as well as they possibly could, how much would it improve the productivity of your team?” Here are the results:
40% of respondents said that doing KM well could increase employee productivity by 20-30%, and a third of respondents said that KM had the potential of a 30-50%+ improvement. Further the report said that only 35% of the companies surveyed regularly update content on a daily or weekly basis, and 27% admit “we have not updated our content for a very long time.” Only 36% of those surveyed said they have a proactive process to identify content gaps, while 35% say they have no tools or processes to find the same.
Additionally, when asked if they used the same technology platform for both employee and customer-facing knowledge systems, the greatest majority, 32%, said they use totally separate technologies and management teams, meaning agents are seeing one answer, while the customer is seeing another, or either or both are seeing none.
My challenge is almost exactly the same but from a business-2-business context.
We serve customers and remotely support their end users in the retail stores where they operate. One of the key issues is to close the loop between the Service Desk where we talk to the end users in the stores and the field engineers that actually deliver the on-site services.
What approach do you take on this? You need to collect the feedback from the engineers and be able to then pass this back to the service desk to help improve the first call / resolution fix rate when the end users call in with problems. You could write formal articles, newsletters and helpsheets and place them on the service desk; you can try to capture insight from the field engineers whilst they are on site or you can make the assumption – incorrectly – that there is NO benefit from closing the loop. That the knowledge on the service desk is correct and that there are no issues.
Knowledge leads to Wisdom AND action!
I would contend that data leads to knowledge and the correct application of that knowledge, then leads to wisdom. CLosing that loops from the front line employees, back to the people that remotely support your customers is vital. You may have a service desk, call centre or remote operation that can deal with hundreds, or thousands of calls per day; but the value is where the person is in front ofthe cusotmer and is supporting, helping and resolving their issue. That is where real value can be captured and leveraged.
Whatever approach you decide to take to capturing that knowledge and feeding it back in to the system; you have to realise that it takes time, effort and you will make mistakes on the way. Our journey has just begun. We have started the changes and are continuing to learn, leverage and change our approach.
What have been the benefits so far?
The benefits so far for closing the loop are simple: we have shifted left over 9,600 calls; saved over 880,000 hours of customer down time; and 33,000 hours of wasted engineer time. The financials are huge in terms of the savings made.
How we did it, well……. You will have to ask me.
“Knowledge is power? No. Knowledge on its own is nothing, but the application of useful knowledge, now that is powerful.” ― Rob Liano