Knowledge management is definitely one of the most underappreciated practices in IT service management (ITSM). Done well, it can upskill your IT service desk, build better relationships between support teams, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction (CSAT). If you want to get better at knowledge sharing in your organization, then here are ten tips for creating better knowledge articles. If you’re looking for tips for better knowledge management as a whole, then see this article here instead.
Tip #1: Look at what you have already.
Many people panic because they think they’ll have to “do knowledge management” completely from scratch – but the reality is that there will nearly always be some knowledge in place. So, look for little pockets of excellence around you. For example, service desk “how to” guides, induction training, or the “hints and tips” section of project documentation.
Tip #2: Keep it simple.
For instance, start with your top ten ticket types. What are the things that you get asked to fix day-in-day-out? No matter what type of organization you work for, you’ll always be asked about network, email, and desktop issues so make sure that you capture that content and have the steps needed to restore service (documented with screenshots and diagrams if appropriate).
Tip #3: Use customer questions to drive content.
We’ve looked at the most frequently logged break-fix incidents, now let’s look at service requests and customer questions to add even greater value. Importantly, use the customer’s own words to capture the question and explain the answer – because if your article is full of technical terms and jargon, we can promise you that the business won't engage.
Tip #4: Incentivize your teams.
Make your support teams your biggest champions of knowledge management by making the submission of quality articles “worth their while.” Whether it’s a league table type dashboard that highlights the top performers or an Amazon voucher for the best submission of the month – incentivize people to submit knowledge articles so that you get a variety of content.
Tip #5: Shift left and upskill your people.
One of our favorite knowledge management principles is “shift left.” Put simply, shift left is where more senior IT technicians in the back office make their knowledge available to the less experienced front-office agents, helping them to answer more difficult customer questions. Ask third-line support for tips that second-line support can use and second-line support teams for tips to be handed to first-line support. If you invest time and effort in your people, then they’ll become more engaged and it builds loyalty and a sense of team spirit as well as delivering the required sharing knowledge.
Tip #6: Also create knowledge articles for self-help.
Don’t limit knowledge sharing to technical teams, open it out to end users too. There’s nothing more frustrating as an end user than to spend ages trying to get through to the service desk for what turns out to be a very simple resolution. Instead, make a searchable knowledge base available for hints, tips, and FAQs.
Tip #7: Build knowledge sharing into the day job.
Make it easy for your people to create and share knowledge articles and build a culture such that it becomes second nature for everyone in IT. The more knowledge management becomes part of the day job, the more articles you’ll generate and the potential for helping other support teams and ultimately end customers increases exponentially.
Tip #8: Don’t forget about known errors.
Work with problem management to capture known errors and workarounds. All too often people see problem management as a black hole where issues that are too complicated to fix go to die.
Problem management shouldn’t just focus on permanent resolutions, it can also focus on temporary solutions such as redirecting network traffic or having a regular reboot schedule for servers. So, make sure that any workaround is documented, shared, and labeled with the appropriate service or configuration item (CI) so that everyone has access to it.
Tip #9: Make your content easy to access.
There’s no point having great knowledge articles if no one is using them. Have a central place to share knowledge such that your content is visible to all. Make sure your knowledge articles are easy to find and labeled accordingly.
Tip #10: Keep up the good work.
Build a review cycle into your knowledge article creation process to ensure that they’re still correct, relevant, and add value. Add in links to related articles and content to drive traffic to the right places. Look for opportunities to be proactive – for example, creating FAQs for new services coming down the pipeline.
What knowledge article creation tips would you add to these? Please let us know in the comments.