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Krista Lyons | January 04, 2022

5 Considerations to Refine Your Knowledge Management Experience

Searching for answers at work before reaching out for help is becoming the norm. In fact, 81% of people attempt to help themselves before reaching out for support. Yet, fewer than 12% of self-service initiatives deliver the anticipated ROI. There are a number of theories or ideas to help you bridge the gap between self-service and user adoption, but one of the most important factors is creating a memorable and refined knowledge management experience.

Whether you’re looking to improve your self-service adoption or simply create a personalized, comprehensive, and positive customer experience, we have a few tips to help.

Find out how much interactive knowledge experiences can save your business with our Shift-Left ROI Calculation Worksheet.

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What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is the core of self-service and effective service delivery. Think of knowledge management as the foundation below your entire service structure.

In terms of IT service management (ITSM) best practice, ITIL 4 Foundation Edition describes knowledge management’s purpose as: “… to maintain and improve the effective, efficient, and convenient use of information and knowledge across the organization.”

Your knowledge base is more than just your company Wiki or text-based articles saved in a shared drive. Your knowledge base consists of all of the knowledge that can and should be shared to help teams across the business do their jobs well. This can be articles shared within a business unit to help employees do their jobs or bits of knowledge shared between departments to streamline communication.

Why is it Important to Create a Positive Knowledge Experience?

A positive knowledge experience will impact the business beyond those looking for IT support, because knowledge management isn’t just for IT anymore – in fact, knowledge management is used outside of IT by 40% of respondents, according to a recent survey from ITSM.tools.

There is an idea surrounding knowledge management that “if you build it, they will come” which often makes knowledge management and self-service fall flat. Using an intelligent knowledge management software is just the beginning – the focus has to shift to the user experience.

Why create a better user experience? When you shift your focus to center on the customer experience, you’ll find improved user adoption and a better ROI on your knowledge base technology. But going beyond that, you’ll realize improved communication as employees are empowered to solve their own problems and understand the processes taking place outside of their own business unit.

All of this amounts to one thing: greater employee satisfaction and better organizational culture. When your employee satisfaction improves, employee turnover can be reduced, and you’ll ultimately see a greater cost optimization as the knowledge software is utilized more and more.

EasyVista eBook Blueprint for Proactive IT Service Delivery & Support

5 Considerations to Refine Your Knowledge Experiences

Creating a memorable knowledge management experience, especially in the context of self-service, is achievable with a few simple best practices.

To find more best practices, check out this webinar with industry expert Stephen Mann.

1. Create bite-sized knowledge articles

Customers of the service desk (or any department, really) are busy. Whether they’re searching for knowledge because something is not working or simply looking to be proactive, they don’t have time to read through lengthy articles to find one or two helpful tips.

Instead, give them concise, bite-sized knowledge articles.

There’s research to back this best practice. A 1992 study found that people are only able to comprehend about one page of an instructional text or organizational learning article, and continuing studies have found that this had held true throughout the years.

However, using content management to simplify articles is sometimes easier said than done – especially when you’re not certain what information is truly vital to share and what is better left out. Ask for help from those who create the documents as well as feedback and input from those who use them the most. From there, break longer knowledge articles down into shorter articles that are easily digested.

2. Deliver Interesting and Relevant Content

Creating bite-sized knowledge articles is just the first step. The next has to do with the way that knowledge is delivered and how to keep it interesting and relevant.

Think about the way you search the web in your personal life. Do you prefer reading long Wiki articles, or are you more likely to watch short videos that show or explain how to do something? If you’re anything like me, you prefer the latter.

In fact, in a recent poll conducted by Pearson, 59% of people prefer watching Youtube videos to learn something new over reading articles, and the preference for either reading or watching videos as a learning tool can be influenced by age. But, creating videos alone isn’t enough – they must be engaging with content that matters to the person consuming that content (not just the creator).

Videos or other interactive mediums shouldn’t be long or filled with too much jargon, instead opting to focus on highlighting the most important information. The goal is to deliver the bite-size content we mentioned earlier in a way that makes the information easily digestible and memorable.

Just as you would in the first tip, engage with knowledge creators and consumers to find out what is the most important to them, and use that as the foundation for videos and other interactive mediums.

3. Make Sure Knowledge is Indexable and Crawlable

The best information is useless if it’s difficult to locate. Imagine if you were trying to Google something but could only locate the answer if you knew the exact spelling of the term or the exact order of the question. To say the least, it would be frustrating – after all, most of us are searching on mobile devices and our searches might look something like this: “ITSM eaxmples knowledge mgmt”. (Hopefully I’m not alone in my lack of ability to spell on mobile).

To combat this, make sure that the knowledge articles are indexable and crawlable, even if your users don't always have perfect spelling. Search engines, including those in an ITSM software with knowledge management and self-service, operate with bots that crawl the articles for key words and terms. To help these bots locate your articles, stay away from overly obscure descriptions or wording, and try to include several spellings and ways to pose the same question within.

To learn more about how to make articles indexable and crawlable, check out this blog post.

4. Automate Processes to Provide Knowledge Faster

Automated workflows are one of the simplest ways to streamline processes. However, one thing people often forget is that automated workflows are also an incredibly efficient way to provide access to knowledge (all while optimizing the onboarding process).

For example, let’s say you have a new IT service desk agent who is going to start working on a ticket to troubleshoot someone’s mobile phone. When the workflow is triggered, imagine knowledge articles that are automatically triggered as well with each step that give step-by-step instructions on troubleshooting that specific phone. These articles can be ignored by seasoned veterans but will be incredibly useful for those who are new or those looking to learn about changes to a process.

That’s only one example of the ways you can deploy automation to share knowledge. Check out this recent blog post to get more ideas on automation in action.

5. Integrate Knowledge with ITSM 

I mentioned automating workflows and integrating automated knowledge base articles, but that is only possible with a comprehensive ITSM solution. 

The best way to get the most out of, and to create, contextualized knowledge is by integrating it with other platforms. These integrations help ensure that your customers can access the knowledge in the way they want to – directly through the systems they use the most.

Furthermore, through integration with your ITSM tool, you can change, edit, and refine knowledge articles as tickets are worked and problems are solved. Get an in-depth picture of ITSM with knowledge management and self-service here.

Make Knowledge Management Easy

It’s been said that often the best solution to any given problem or process is the easiest. Learn how EasyVista can make IT easy with an intelligent knowledge management solution integrated with our easy-to-use IT service management tool. Request a demo today. 

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Krista Lyons

Krista Lyons is the Content Marketing Manager at EasyVista and is dedicated to sharing helpful information and industry insights through EasyVista's website, social media, and communications. A graduate of the University of Tampa, Lyons has a background in journalism and communications. She enjoys all things tech and has a passion for reading and writing about artificial intelligence.