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Your Practical Guide to Help Desk Knowledge Management

Many organizations struggle to make knowledge easily available in one central location. Even then, only 20% of knowledge in the average organization is documented. Employees open thousands of help tickets every year to get the answers they need, but these requests create bottlenecks and waste time and resources. Improved help desk knowledge management can remove these barriers to knowledge sharing.

Modern knowledge management systems help teams find answers quickly and connect with subject matter experts who can address outstanding questions or issues. This structure can be incredibly beneficial for help desks and shared services by reducing service ticket volume and allowing for quicker resolutions. Learn more about the purpose of modern knowledge management and how it can improve your help desk.

What Is Knowledge Management's Main Purpose?

Knowledge management as a discipline is, essentially, about collecting and sharing knowledge so it can be used effectively. As Marydee Ojala, editor-in-chief at Online Searcher: Information Discovery, Technology, Strategies, explains, “Initial attempts at KM centered on regarding information as an asset” but has expanded to a variety of information types and communication forms

Early knowledge management advocates identified two types of knowledge — tacit and explicit. Explicit knowledge is documented. It could be policies, procedures or any other codified, formal knowledge. Tacit, or implicit, knowledge is not documented. It’s often based on individual experience and can be difficult to express or transfer to another person through documentation or verbalization. 

Modern knowledge management requires systems to capture, store and disseminate knowledge effectively. It also requires a culture of engagement and encouragement. A prerequisite is identifying team members with extensive knowledge about a subject. That will inform the development of processes to share and build upon existing knowledge, streamline work and save resources. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have made information more valuable by unlocking additional insights from existing knowledge and expediting processes. 

When your organization develops a human-centric knowledge management strategy, you retain existing knowledge and establish a starting point to build on. This approach also enables you to recognize centers of expertise — subject matter experts can be identified for future needs and additional development opportunities. Onboarding processes can also be accelerated, as new employees have access to essential information and resources for questions they may have. 

Another benefit of a human-centric knowledge management strategy is that help desk support tickets can be reduced because common issues or questions are addressed by a single source for all employees. As these support tickets decline, you’ll reduce the associated costs, and your team will quickly find the answers they need to move their work forward.

Why Is Knowledge Management Important for Your Help Desk?

Knowledge management can help you reduce support ticket volumes and speed up time to resolution by giving your team access to the knowledge they need. These result in savings of time and money. 

This was the case for Swiss Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurance companies. The company’s 14,000-plus employees were wasting time trying to find experts to answer questions across a variety of channels. This extra work led to an added workload for support functions, including repetitive requests and questions, resulting in longer service times, reduced productivity and lower employee satisfaction. 

Swiss Re consolidated more than 200 corporate services on a self-service portal called ContactOne, with Starmind integration, providing its employees with access to context-based information whenever they need it. Starmind’s integration provided access to knowledge for employees visiting ContactOne for support and service requests, and it’s included in search and chatbot features, pulling in contextual information to enable a higher rate of self-resolution.

This approach resulted in a 12% reduction of service tickets, as employees could quickly get access to the knowledge they need. Engagement improved, with a 58% increase in monthly active users. The Starmind integration into ContactOne brought a 175% increase in questions and 131% increase in answers across the company. 

“Even our service desk agents started to use it as a source for new knowledge,” said Simon Margulies, head of self-service solutions at Swiss Re, “but most value derives from the reuse of that collective knowledge stored on Starmind. And that knowledge has risen by 76%.”

Improving Customer Service With Knowledge Management

Effective knowledge management can improve your customer service by making knowledge and solutions more accessible and actionable. When your teams have answers and resources readily available, they can focus on their work without having to interrupt themselves for time-consuming research. 

Additionally, many service tickets can be avoided with self-service options. Analyzing knowledge sharing metrics can also give insight into business performance and areas to focus on.

How Does It Affect Employees?

Many employees initially try to self-resolve issues, but finding the information they need can be difficult in traditional knowledge management systems. The result? It’s usually easier for employees to open support tickets, adding to lengthy ticket queues. Giving employees the knowledge they need to be self-sufficient reduces support ticket volume and enables teams to quickly resolve issues. 

Employee satisfaction can improve when your team members are confident that they’ll be able to find what they need without wasting time or creating extra work. When employers not only find information but also contribute their knowledge, you can eliminate knowledge silos between positions, departments or locations while enabling employees to access knowledge outside of their typical areas of responsibility.

Knowledge Management Tips to Improve Your Help Desk

Make Knowledge Accessible

Research from Forrester commissioned by Starmind shows that while most organizations have systems in place to store knowledge, these systems often fall short. The research found that:

  • 36% of knowledge workers struggle to exchange information across teams.
  • 47% say information is located across too many sources. 
  • 25% say there is too much raw data to sift through.
  • 26% say information they access is outdated.

When teams have accessible knowledge bases, they are more likely to quickly self-resolve issues or find resources that can help.

Make It Part of Your Workflow

The amount of knowledge inside your organization can feel overwhelming. There’s likely no way to practically document all existing knowledge in a single attempt. Instead, focus on existing knowledge areas to build upon. Integrate knowledge management practices into your daily workflows. Look for additional ways to optimize your workflows, such as service desk automation, which can reduce some manual tasks. 

Reduce Ticketing With Self-Service

Employees who can’t quickly find answers will revert to filing support tickets. This halts progress of work related to the issue and adds work to your help desk, potentially creating a backlog and a cascading negative effect on productivity and outcomes. When knowledge is available on demand, by contrast, employees can quickly resolve issues without additional support. 

Always Allow Feedback

Feedback is critical to improve any organization or system. What can’t be collected and analyzed from reporting can be obtained through surveys, questionnaires, ratings or direct communication. Applying insights gained from feedback can help you create a better user experience for your teams, leading to improved user adoption and better results.

Connecting the Right Knowledge From the Right People at the Right Time

Your employees’ knowledge is your most valuable asset. Amplify that asset by making your organization’s knowledge available to everyone. Effective help desk knowledge management is a powerful example of this effect, as it reduces ticket volumes and cuts costs by empowering employees to self-resolve issues. Service support spend can always be improved, as 80% of service tickets are standard repeatable questions.

Traditional knowledge management systems make it difficult for employees to self-resolve their issues. With Starmind’s use of artificial intelligence to build a real-time knowledge network, your team has on-demand access to the answers they need, right when they need them — so everyone can do their best work.

Learn more about how Starmind supports help desks to reduce ticket volume and speed up time to resolution.

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  • Learn more about how Starmind can connect knowledge across your business.
  • Discover the use cases that best fit your needs.
  • See how you can bring all of your company’s knowledge into one central platform.
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