Last updated on Mar 30, 2021
Effective knowledge management is becoming a priority for decision-makers in different industries. 58% of companies are planning to reinvest in knowledge management this year. This is because 47% of organisations that use a knowledge base report an increase in sales and web traffic.
Knowledge management is the process of recording, displaying, and using information. In business, this practice covers information that is useful to your customers or employees. This includes product specifications, internal practices, and much more.
Information management requires a systematic approach. This can be for internal and external use. External knowledge management refers to the information you make available to your customers. Internal data management covers information that helps your team members. For instance, workflows, guides, or instructions on how to handle certain situations.
With all this in mind, some managers have difficulties understanding the impact of knowledge management. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of acquiring, distributing, and using knowledge in the most effective way.
All companies can benefit from knowledge management. But, large enterprises usually reap the biggest rewards. These organisations tend to have complex products with different features. In most cases, this means that customers have more questions. And, complex products have longer employee training and customer on-boarding processes.
Having an effective knowledge management mechanism can help your customers and employees. Through an internal knowledge base, you can empower team members to deliver fast, high-quality support.
External knowledge bases allow customers to solve problems on their own. And, they will request help less often. As a result, you’ll be able to focus your resources on other essential activities.
Quality is crucial. But, big companies should also focus on the delivery and usability of their resources. Having a knowledge sharing platform that is easy to manage, allows effective storage, and simplifies distribution, can improve the usability of your resources.
Large companies also experience higher employee turnover. Clear and consistent information management can speed up the integration of new employees.
That said, there are a few basic challenges you’ll need to overcome. For example, you’ll need to build a custom library that has the features you need. Knowledge management technology also moves fast, so you need to keep an eye on the evolution of the current platforms. And, it should be easy to use so that your knowledgeable team members can manage it without help.
Information management has a huge number of benefits, but it relies on four basic concepts. Together, these elements make up your knowledge management system. All the steps you take to handle information should fall under one of these categories. So, you need to master each individual component and create an ecosystem that revolves around them.
The four components of knowledge management are:
Content management is the process of creating and sharing information. In most cases, this happens through knowledge bases or similar platforms. By managing internal content, you can ensure that employees have easy access to information. Which, in turn, can reduce costs and create a better experience for your customers.
External content management ensures that customers have a seamless experience. Plus, it will also ensure that the information they receive is up to date.
To capture information, you need to find it first. Expertise location is the process of establishing which employees hold the most knowledge. The main goal is to identify the team members that have the most practical expertise. Later on, these team members should be in charge of developing your knowledge base content.
Expertise location can create a more relaxing work environment for the employees that hold the most knowledge. Instead of having to support their peers, your knowledgeable team members can share information through knowledge management.
From an external point of view, your customers will also have access to insightful data. And, they won’t have to ask for help from your team to take advantage of their knowledge.
‘Lessons learned’ databases cover best practices and how-tos. In most cases, lessons learned come from your employee’s first-hand experience. Your team members can use this information to improve efficiency. Customers enjoy similar benefits because they have information available at all times. This means that they can decide when to take care of their issue and how to go about it, rather than working around your call centre’s schedule.
In general terms, a community of practice or CoP is created by people that have similar interests. This group of people interact regularly and share knowledge in order to learn more about the topic together. The same concept can be applied to internal and external knowledge management.
Communities of practice can promote the proactive sharing of information. These CoPs can be formed by employees internally. External CoPs can be formed by your customers and they usually take place in forums or similar platforms. You can encourage CoPs by providing a space to share knowledge. But, you should also try to find effective ways to moderate and manage the sharing platforms.
Efficient knowledge management can have a great effect on the performance of your organisation. Aside from making information more accessible, this practice promotes innovation and collaboration in your company.
Here are some of the most common benefits of effective knowledge management.
Dedicated knowledge bases like Document360 allow commenting on each piece. This opens up new lines of communication within your organisation. At the same time, you can also view the article lifecycle to see the changes made in different stages.
Besides providing information, knowledge management can also provide valuable insight into your customers. This can help you polish your customer acquisition techniques. Aside from bringing in more customers, you can also focus on creating a comprehensive on-boarding process.
When customers have a problem, they usually turn to your support team. And, if your support agent needs help, they will seek help from their knowledgeable peers.
Instead of going through this process, knowledge management empowers customer and employees. It allows them to solve complex issues without requesting help. But, you need to make sure that each article has clear instructions and includes all the necessary steps.
The average employee can spend up to 12.5 hours per week researching information. Through effective data management, you can reduce the amount of time your team spend researching. This can increase productivity and help them reclaim a large part of their workday.
Today, product-centric business models are becoming less common. Establishing a customer-first culture will allow your team members to deliver the best experience. And, you’ll be able to connect with your audience by showing them that you value their loyalty.
Aside from researching, employees can spend a large chunk of their workday recreating resources. The worse part is that many of these resources already exist, but employees can’t track them down. You can avoid this by having a reliable knowledge base that’s powered by a robust search engine.
Reducing churn is very important for companies that rely on recurring services. Unfortunately, many customers cancel their subscription because of a negative encounter.
More than 30% of customers stop doing business with a company after one bad experience. But, if information is more available your employees can claim back as much as 35% of their workday. This can help them focus on delivering a better experience to your clients.
External knowledge management can also give customers tools to perform basic and advanced troubleshooting. This can boost engagement, enhance customer experience, and improve retention rates.
Taking the time to develop effective knowledge management systems can bring many benefits. External knowledge bases can empower clients to solve problems on their own. And, internal knowledge management will yield more knowledgeable, efficient employees.
The benefits above should give you a good idea of the impact that effective knowledge management can have. That said, remember that you have to establish a customer-centric approach. And, you need to keep the four keys of information management in mind to build a reliable knowledge base.