Invest in a Knowledge-management System
I know, lacking in suspense, right? I agree, but for a purpose. I wanted to get you the answer first so we can focus on the what and, more importantly, the why.
What is a Knowledge Management System?
A knowledge-management system, or KMS, is essentially a digital library that houses all of your organization’s critical information in one easy-to-reference location. Its purpose is to organize useful information for each of your teams so that they can feel confident in their work.
This resource should be the first point of reference when your team needs assistance, and it should help them every time. Creating a KMS requires solid planning, expert input and updating whenever necessary.
Your KMS needs to clarify things for the user including specific text details, videos for easy info consumption and images highlight important areas. The more detail there is, the more your team will trust and reference the information.
Why Use a Knowledge Management System?
There are many reasons to utilize a KMS and what these are will vary based on the layout of your organization. But the biggest reasons are universal:
Informed Teams Are Powerful Teams
Teams that have all of the information they need to complete a task do so in an effective and efficient manner. When you take care of the team, the team takes care of the organization.
In a rapidly changing world, evolution isn’t a consideration, it’s a requirement. And in a rapidly changing environment it is critical that everyone impacted is kept in the loop. A KMS can help you evolve efficiently and become the benchmark for your industry.
Engaged Teams Are Productive Teams
Clarity creates value and value improves engagement. Often organizations fail with training and continual learning efforts because their focus is on teaching via methods such as extensive classroom training or drawn out reference material that isn’t clear. Because of this, engagement with these methods is low and relatively ineffective.
A properly utilized KMS helps eliminates clutter, and confusion, helping to keep teams engaged with learning.
A Cohesive Team Grows Together
A team that learns from each other grows together. Traditionally, this is done by helping one another when an issue came up. While this is good, it only benefits an individual or a small group at a time.
With a good KMS, individuals can alter the content of their “best practices” as problems arise so the whole team can benefit. This helps ensure that one person’s mistake will ultimately allow another to avoid it. This will also help you identify thought leaders within your organization.
How Does This Affect Specific Teams?
Increase Sales with a KMS
Let’s be honest, confidence sells. And understanding the value of a product or service helps build that confidence. Building value requires an understanding of the product or service being offered and then relaying that to the prospective buyer.
Providing an accessible body of knowledge to your teams equips them with a 24/7 reference tool. They can learn on their own time and access information any time a prospect has a question. The system also keeps them updated as to when there are any changes in offerings. Consider the feeling of walking into your next pitch knowing that no matter what you’re asked, you’re ready…confidence is sky high.
When considering the knowledge management build for sales, consider topics outside of offering specifics such as:
- Dress code suggestions
- Securing pitches
- Materials to bring to the pitch
- Powerful Ttuchpoints
- Success stories
Improve Production and Service Fulfillment with a KMS
It should come as no surprise that a KMS is valuable for your production and service teams as well. Generally, members of these teams have more technical knowledge than any other group and this requires expertise.
The problem? Expertise takes time. Even new hires with years of experience require time to familiarize themselves with your product and the little idiosyncrasies that make it more valuable than a competitor’s.
This time requirement is an investment that can be quite costly. And it seems that questions typically arise at the most inopportune time possible.
So how do you help your team overcome these obstacles? You guessed it, with a properly compiled KMS. Provide details about each product or service the team member is responsible for and may encounter.
- Required tools (including safety equipment and location of said tools)
- Step-by-step directions (including videos, images, etc. for clarification)
- Best practices
- Safety and tech tips (experience input from high performers)
- Diagnostic questions
- External references for outside information
- Any other information pertinent to the respective task
Build Better Customer Service with a KMS
As a client, you’ve undoubtedly run into a situation where you needed feedback to a question that you couldn’t answer. Most of us instinctively turn to a helpline or Google.
Helplines sometimes provide an answer but are often accompanied by an exhaustingly long conversation about details, many times repeated to multiple representatives and too frequently ending in a “we’ll get back to you” message… that is if you can even get a hold of an actual person
And while Google may deliver the information you require, you may then need to confirm the validity of the answer and the expertise of the provider.
What if we could eliminate that? We can.
By utilizing a KMS, you not only can provide information to those on your team but also provide public reference information to those who make your very existence possible, your clients. By doing so, you help your clients and confirm that you are an expert in your field.
When considering going public with information, consider:
- What information is pertinent to your client base? (Share what they need, leave out anything they don’t)
- How can you provide the clearest message? (consider how frustrating traditional user manuals can be)
- If someone isn’t able to find the info they need, who should they contact and how? (Phone, email, etc.)
Bonus: Improve Training with a KMS
No matter the level of experience your new hires, there will be things they don’t know about your organization. A KMS can help onboard them quickly and effectively. This saves you both time and money.
Building a strong base from Day 1 is essential to ensuring that your team is both knowledgeable and cohesive. Consider the following when building training:
- Remember to include internal tasks outside of day-to-day operations (setting up email, signing up for platforms and programs, filling out tax documents, etc.)
- Be sure to cover any company rules
- Create training programs that completely preps them for their first time performing their tasks
- Maximize engagement – don’t fill their training with information that doesn’t relate to their position
Looking to expand on improving training effectiveness? Check this out.
Mastering continuous improvement is within reach. Empower your team, educate your client base and prepare your organization for the future with a KMS.