Recent Posts

What happens when self-service works well

It’s really exciting to see customer support and customer service becoming a career path of choice. In the 90s, customer service was something most people sought to transition out of. In my case, it was burnout that drove me to seek more specialised L2 & L3 analyst roles, before ‘retiring’ from customer-facing roles altogether. It’s that same burnout that drove me to take on stewardship of the knowledge base and then ultimately consult to others wanting to have the same sort of access to team know-how.

Nowadays, thanks to the SaaS economy, there’s a growing area of expertise in customer-facing roles that include customer success, customer engagement, and customer experience. And plenty of people are choosing those options as longer-term career moves for the joys of problem solving and the excitement of working in a fast-paced tech environment. With Everything As A Service, customer service etc may well be this …

How Can You Make Self-Service More Useful?

Regardless of your industry, a knowledge base can completely revolutionise the way your customers and employees feel about using your product or service. Chances are, you already have a knowledge base. But if you’re getting less than desirable feedback from your employees and customers about using it, you may be wondering: how can I make self-service more useful for my product or service? You’re in the right place! Let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to make self-service more useful to the people who matter the most.
Talk With Employees And Loyal Customers
First, there is no better way to improve your self-service than to speak with those who actually use it. Gather a few of your employees, as well as few loyal customers of your product or service, and have them fill out a questionnaire form about your knowledge base. Be sure to include questions that …

Are Chatbots Bad for Customer Service?

Chatbots are becoming a common part of our everyday online interactions. They help us with directions, to order food, and increasingly, they provide customer service. Many commercial websites have a chatbot cheerfully greet us on landing, standing ready to respond to our every need. But are these chirpy programs actually providing good customer service? If you’ve ever interacted with one, you probably know the answer is no.

Poor interactions with chatbots are frustrating, and according to a 2018 survey, we have a clear preference for human customer service agents over bots. While having a bot available to answer simple questions at any hour of the day can improve the customer experience, they can be a liability when dealing with more complex interactions, or when they don’t pick up on what the customer is asking.

The first chatbot, ELIZA, was developed in 1966, and simulated simple human conversations with pre-programmed responses. While …

KCS and ITIL 4

ITIL 4 has been launched and the Foundation material is in the early stages of being disseminated. I’ve done the training and taken the exam, and while it’s fresh in my mind, I wanted to note down how well-aligned ITIL’s new guiding principles are with KCS. Even more so, than the connections that were obvious in past versions of ITIL.  The principles of one support the practices of the other.

1. Focus on value – KCS requires changing our perspective from activity-based goals to value creation through better use of knowledge.

2. Start where you are – I take the view that KCS practices can be adopted at any stage of an organisation’s maturity—small or big. Everyone has something to gain from learning how to capture the customer’s context and describe an environment accurately, so that search and self-service work better.

3. Progress iteratively, with feedback – your agents can tell you what …

The role of the board in knowledge management and digital transformation

Digital transformation is a standing agenda item for almost all boards, but what does it mean, exactly? Essentially, “digital transformation is about how an organisation uses technology to better compete”. It’s more than simply digitising documents and switching people from paper-based forms to web-based forms. It’s more than looking for ways to realise operational efficiencies by introducing automated processes, although this is how management are justifying the current spend on digital transformation projects.

True digital transformation takes the customer experience and fundamentally changes it, potentially creating an entirely new business model based on the way data is used and managed. At the very least, the transformation should remove any friction in processes, so effectively, that systems of engagement are so embedded and intuitive that they feel natural. An outstanding transformation effort, though, can produce new products and services from the digital byproducts of core services. At this point in time, …

How to Integrate a Knowledge Management Program in Your Organisation

Knowledge has become an invaluable asset in today’s business world, it is the fuel that an organisation needs to sustain itself in its environment. A knowledge management program (KMP) is designed to help organisations utilise this invaluable asset and maximise efficiency, productivity, and also the quality of products and services that it provides to its consumers.

For an organisation to become successful and grow today, it needs to have some form of knowledge management system in place. Thinking along these lines drives many organisations to invest in such systems, but they often end up regretting this investment since it does no produce the kind of results that they had hoped for. Why does this happen? Simply because of the fact that many organisations make this decision blindly; they go into the field without figuring out exactly why they need a knowledge management system in the first place.

Remember, a knowledge management …

Helping Employees Meet the Demands of Ever-Changing IT

Technology continues to advance at an exponential rate, and businesses are struggling to keep up. One way to stay relevant in a crowded, sophisticated marketplace is to employ workers who can emulate the dizzying pace of progress. That isn’t as difficult as it sounds. It may be simply a matter of how — and when — employees learn that makes a difference.

Today’s skills, from business acumen to robotics, can’t be mastered in one-time training sessions. They’re too complex and multi-faceted. True mastery requires ongoing support, hands-on practice, and regular reinforcement.

Mentoring for Mastery

“Our clients routinely say they want to be ‘more digital,’” says Nancy Wolk, Co-Founder and Principal of mentoring software company eMentorConnect. “The reality is that ‘digital technology’ is a vast topic. You get a light learning of it in a classroom, but that’s all. You’re just scratching the surface. Mentoring lets you hone in on specific digital topics like …

Introducing the Service Intelligence Layer

The consumerisation of workplace apps is finally addressing the long-neglected software experience of the enterprise user. Our workday-selves are now being treated to the kind of attractive interfaces and convenient procurement paths that our weekend-selves have had for some time.

The laser-focused problem-solving of modern software has created new challenges that now need addressing, though. I’ve talked about this challenge before, and Work-Bench’s Jessica Lin, recently pointed out the growth in “Enterprise Knowledge Management 2.0″ or the” Team Intelligence Layer”. Besides the fractured knowledge sources that spawn like a mogwai drenched with water (google it), you also need to factor in the cost of each of the tools you add to your support stack. Nothing does everything well, so be prepared to add on, but do so with a total stack budget per agent in mind.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with founders of AI & ML solutions that aim …

The 8 pillars of a knowledge management strategy

There’s no standard definition of knowledge management and there’s a lack of understanding of what it is and where it fits, or should fit, in an organisation’s management toolset.
In my view, knowledge management is the strategic director of many activities to do with mobilising knowledge throughout an organisation and between the business and its partners and customers.
A knowledge management strategy should be connected to the overall strategy of the business and thought should be given to these 8 areas. Not all of them will fit with your strategy, but there may come a time when they will.
Knowledge auditing – know where your silos and repositories are and what the flow currently looks like.
Document management (or content management) – consider the information architecture for your explicit knowledge early on.
L&D – Map staff development with business goals.
Knowledge operations – This is the part concerned with that mobilisation of knowledge. What methods …

When we don’t know what we know

One of the biggest obstacles organisations have when they introduce a learning and development program for the first time is designing a curriculum. Creating individual content for an e-learning system, for example, can be a daunting exercise—not unlike the writer facing a blank page. Even preparing a new team member with what they need to know can be a challenge when you don’t know what you know. Well, you know what they need to be able to get done, but you may not be able to explain the process or articulate the how or even the why, because the way you get it done has become so automatic that you don’t even think about it. This is called tacit knowledge and it’s what Dave Snowden describes as being the knowledge we don’t know we have until someone asks us the question.


Here are some ways you can reveal that tacit knowledge, so …