More and more companies are realizing the benefits of owning a quality knowledge base that contains all the resources employees need to succeed in completing their day-to-day tasks.
Having such a knowledge base in place largely prevents team members from coming up with redundant solutions, helps them make informed decisions, makes business more efficient, and saves companies a substantial amount of money.
But in order for anyone to benefit from it, it's not enough to simply create such a knowledge base. You should also store it in one centralized platform so that everyone can easily access it and find the necessary information.
In this article, we've gathered five good reasons why you should have a knowledge-sharing platform if you want to run a successful business. Let's see what they are.
Find the Best Solution to the Problem Quickly
If you manage your company's knowledge properly and make it available to your employees, you'll save them a lot of time they would otherwise waste searching for answers.
Other employees will be able to find a quality solution to their problem quickly. They won't have to spend valuable time searching for the right explanation, the best way to solve a specific issue, or the most efficient strategy or a process.
As someone will have already resolved these issues before them, they will be able to simply continue where they've left off.
Take Xerox, the famous company that sells print and digital document products, as an example. The company boasts a very powerful knowledge management system to help users and service providers.
But it wasn’t always that way. Back in the 1990s, they had great difficulty with knowledge management in their company.
The most significant setbacks occurred in the communication between engineers who needed to fix equipment problems for customers.
Although they managed to repair the equipment without too much difficulty, the team members did not share these experiences and solutions with one another.
Engineer technical solutions were not recorded in product documentation, training materials, or updates for vendors. There was no sharing of knowledge among the engineers.
That's why Xerox developed its own knowledge management platform called Eureka, where engineers could document their solutions for common problems and other experiences. The system was, in no uncertain terms, revolutionary.
Even though it was first launched in the 1990s, people still remember it fondly. In fact, there are now college students writing papers about the system and how it revolutionized knowledge sharing.
And to motivate engineers to document their protocols, they later updated Eureka. Engineers were now able to put their names on every article they wrote.
As that had a positive influence on their reputation among peers, other engineers were more willing to write down what they knew and share it with the rest of the team.
Eureka later evolved into a comprehensive, online knowledge base that’s still invaluable to Xerox users and service providers.
From Xerox’s example, we can easily see that many redundant tasks can be avoided by accumulating the knowledge of employees in one centralized knowledge repository.
This way, the knowledge of others becomes reusable, and employees can make better decisions and solve problems faster in their day-to-day assignments.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Customers appreciate a company with the knowledge, experience, and ability to solve their problems. Also, being ready to respond immediately to customer needs can be a great way for a company to differentiate itself from its competitors.
Therefore, if you want to have satisfied customers, you should first and foremost focus on creating a knowledge base.
Sharing knowledge, experience, and innovation among employees will enable more successful delivery of a product or service, ultimately resulting in more satisfied customers.
Unfortunately, this often isn't the case in reality, as we can see from a Nintex study.
The study shows that 49% of the employees have trouble locating the right document, while 43% report that they experienced issues with document sharing.
These are unacceptable numbers, considering that they can lead to a bad customer experience. With the help of a centralized knowledge base, you can significantly facilitate your agents' work in the call center.
First, you’ll efficiently train them to become integral members of the support team quickly because you will provide them with all the documents and information they need to do the job successfully.
On the other hand, they will be able to answer customers' tickets without much difficulty. It'll be enough to peek into the knowledge base and find the answers.
We can see how a quality knowledge base can be extremely useful in help centers on the example from Vend, a retail management software company.
As you can see from the picture, they offer a myriad of features and options for their customers. And this means that their customer support needs to handle a large amount of information on a daily basis in order to be able to answer the inquiries of their users.
To make things easier for their agents, they decided to set up a knowledge management system.
But they didn’t stop there—they went above and beyond and asked their agents to become knowledge managers by encouraging them to participate in knowledge creation and sharing.
Taley Wood, Vice President of Support at Vend, describes how the system works:
"When a ticket comes in, the agent searches for the answer and either applies it to the ticket and solves it, or if the article doesn't exist, they write the answer as an article to be published to our help center."
Having implemented a knowledge management system, the company has noticed a 650% increase in the number of help center articles, a 29% improvement in customer satisfaction, and a 40% growth in one-touch solutions.
And these are impressive figures.
As you can see in this example, maintaining one centralized knowledge base library can significantly help you improve customer satisfaction.
If you empower your employees with the knowledge, they can provide customers with better service, giving them relevant and current answers to their questions in no time.
Have More Engaged Employees
Simply put, nothing kills productivity more than a time-consuming and tedious search for the right documents to get the job done.
A Panopto study found that 81% of team members get frustrated when they can't find the information they need.
In fact, according to a Technology Services Industry Association study, by setting up an efficient knowledge management system, more than 70% of companies anticipate that they can increase productivity by at least 20%.
To see what this looks like in practice, let's examine an example from Recteq.
Recteq is an e-commerce company that sells grills, coolers, tumblers, and condiments.
They offer a wide array of products, but information about them used to be scattered in various paper binders. At a certain point, it became difficult to work with so much physical paperwork.
In the picture, you can see that the equipment they sell is rather specialized. And to sell it, they had to have access to information about product sizes, materials, weights, technical manuals, shipping times, and maintenance.
As the company scaled very quickly, the problem arose because the employees did not have a central repository where they could find all the data they needed with just a few mouse clicks. That made their job difficult.
After deciding to digitize the product information, they scanned physical binders and included them in their knowledge base, which quickly grew after that.
Aaron Stone, Recteq's Customer Service Training Supervisor, explains:
"If there's a component that's giving people trouble, I'll write up a little essay on it and give our team a breakdown of how to handle it. That way, they can go by that guide when they're on the call with customers."
This example clearly shows us that by having a knowledge base in place, employees can easily access the information they need, thus becoming more productive and more engaging in their work.
A great way to get your knowledge base stored in one centralized place is to use a quality documentation software solution, such as our own product, Archbee.
Archbee enables you to create a knowledge base just for your company and your product. And that means that you can have your own Wikipedia that keeps all the information essential for your business in one place.
Thanks to advanced search options, employees can easily find the exact piece of information they need, when they need it. They no longer have to spend valuable time searching for data. And that leaves them more time to handle more meaningful tasks.
Remember, employees don't need much to be productive at work.
You can start with baby steps like empowering them with the right knowledge. When they don't have to spend hours looking for the information, they can be more focused on the task at hand and thus more productive in their daily work.
Reduce the Cost of Employee Training
Employee training can be rather pricey and time-consuming. For instance, Glassdoor reports that the average employer spends about $4000 and 24 days to hire a new employee.
That's why one of the primary goals of quality onboarding should be to train the new employees quickly and efficiently, so they can start being productive members of the team as soon as possible.
But it can take a long time for the new hires to become proficient in their roles. No matter how highly qualified they are, every company has its own set of protocols and rules that every new employee has to get a hold of.
Luckily, there is a simple and efficient way to speed up the training process and reduce the cost—and that way is proper knowledge management.
If you create your training materials, store them in your knowledge base, and give access to all new team members who come to work for your company, you will provide them with a more consistent and effective onboarding experience.
This way, new employees don't have to spend time tracking down the information and tools they need and can focus on getting the ropes quickly.
For example, TuneCore, a digital music distribution, publishing, and licensing service, needed to hire a large number of customer support representatives.
In the past, their onboarding process primarily entailed the manager instructing new hires for a week, and then they would start working.
But after the pandemic took hold, this was no longer a possibility. TuneCore then decided to digitize their training materials and put them on a centralized knowledge base platform.
They were able to onboard more people simultaneously than with a one-on-one approach, provide representatives with a quality training experience and reduce costs for the company.
Erica Clayton, Director of Artist Support at TuneCore, describes the difference:
"Now, there's a more formalized process, and part of that is our internal knowledge base that other departments are screaming for. They want a copy of it because it's been so helpful for us as we onboard new people."
As you can see from this example, the knowledge-sharing platform can also provide you with valuable help in the onboarding process. As it streamlines training, it allows new employees to get to know your business faster, which means you will also significantly reduce your costs.
Create a More Collaborative Culture
Sharing information among team members improves collaboration and communication, builds trust, and improves teamwork, while encouraging employees to become experts in their field.
As the company's success largely depends on all of the mentioned aspects, building a strong culture where these are some of the most appreciated values should be one of your top priorities.
One of the best ways to create such a collaborative culture is to invest in an internal enterprise social network such as Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Jabber, Jive or Slack.
Networking tools such as these can encourage employees to connect, socialize, share knowledge and ideas and help each other on a daily basis.
For instance, Slack is a great choice because, along with private messaging, it also features channels where project groups, departments, and entire teams can sync up, brainstorm ideas, or just hang out.
If they have a problem and are looking for a quick solution, employees can use an internal network to ask other team members for help. They can then either provide the answer or share a link from the knowledge base repository that discusses the issue more in-depth.
We can see how you can use such a network to encourage a collaborative culture in your company on an example from Faithful+Gould.
Faithful+Gould is a consulting firm that is primarily focused on project and program management.
While they already had a knowledge base in place, they wanted to enhance the sharing of resources, innovations, and ideas among team members.
They’ve decided to use Microsoft's Yammer as their internal social networking service for that purpose.
With Jammer, employees were able to subscribe to hundreds of groups where they could collaborate and communicate with other peers. And the project team receives a reminder each week to update Yammer with the necessary information so that it can stay current and relevant to all the employees.
Lead project manager at Faithful+Gould, Joseph Mooney, said this of the implementation:
"That seems to be a better tool for generating ideas. Yammer has become very popular with the various groups here."
Collaborative tools like Yammer or any other you choose will help you create a culture of trust and encourage sharing knowledge and experience among team members.
Companies that foster a culture of collaboration and a free exchange of ideas are bound to be successful in their endeavors.
A centralized knowledge base helps employees make better decisions, solve problems faster, and be more productive and engaged in their work.
In this article, we've tried to show you how you can reap many benefits of an organized and centralized source of information and encourage you to create a knowledge-sharing platform for your business.
Remember, the sooner you start building your knowledge base, the quicker you'll make your business a more successful, efficient, and desirable place to work.