They say knowledge is power and it can certainly be worth remembering this when working on a help desk. The days of answering the phone, asking the caller to turn it on and off again and then assigning a ticket to an appropriate team are long gone.
The industry demands that agents are capable of fixing issues on their own and only in severe cases should tickets be assigned to specialist teams. Why? Because it is cheaper for the supporting company who might have to pay specialist teams extra money and it is more efficient for the user who doesn’t want to wait 3 days for an issue that has a 5 minute fix. A help desk therefore, needs to have motivated agents with the knowledge to fix things.
Where do they get the knowledge? From a knowledge base of course! Depending on contracts and SLA’s, an agent might have hundreds of various systems and procedures to follow and it would be impossible and inefficient for him or her to try and remember all of them. That’s why we have a knowledge base; to show us what route we should follow and how to deal with an issue that is raised. A knowledge base is an online library of documents, or articles, which can be adapted and upgraded as the supported services change. Software upgrades so often that there are now applications whose sole purpose is to update previous versions of itself; well maybe not, but software updates and upgrades regularly meaning the knowledge base should also evolve.
5 ways to keep the knowledge base working well
1. Get the agents to comment on the articles
The agents of the help desk are the ones who get all the information. They are the one who remotely access the user’s computer and see first-hand the problems. They are also the ones who are finding new ways to fix the issues which means that the knowledge is with them. If an agent sees information in the knowledge base that is outdated or misleading, they should have a way of commenting on the procedure and recommending an addition or editing of the article. In some scenarios, the agent can recommend removal of an article if it is outdated.
2. Have a knowledge coordinator
Having someone tasked to keep the knowledge database running efficiently is a great way to ensure that the articles are relevant, updated and easy to use. The coordinator should be an agent that is experienced, in order for him or her to bring that experience to the team via the knowledge base. Having an experienced agent as the coordinator will also give them perspective in creating articles that are easy to understand. Someone that has not worked on the issues before might have trouble creating something that is easy to read. An experienced agent will be able to create articles that include images and instructional information.
3. Allow agents to make the articles themselves
The agents are the ones who will be fixing the issues. Therefore, they will be the ones that actually use the database. It stands to reason, that agents should be the ones creating the articles for each other. Have the agents create articles when they find a new fix to a common issue, then send the new article to the coordinator for approval and posting. This should be standardized and all agents should get a copy of the template to ensure uniformity when creating the articles.
4. Ensure all agents are using the database – always
A knowledge base is not going to be effective unless everybody is using it. Very often, agents will become experienced and think that they are beyond using the database for simple queries. Process changes and service changes happen extremely often in the modern business world and skipping the article might mean that the agent on the phone does not follow the correct procedure. It also ensures that anything in the knowledge base that is outdated will get updated if necessary.
5. Only include relevant information
An agent does not want to scroll through tons and tons of information that is irrelevant to the here and now. An agent wants to type their issue into the search field and have articles come up that’s how him or her how to fix the issue and that is that. Information that the agent does not need should be excluded and an experienced knowledge coordinator should be able to decide what is relevant or not. Important information relevant to what the agent has to do should always be included, and screenshots where necessary, but tons of garbage is just going to switch the agent off.
Knowledge is power – keep an awesome knowledge database and you help desk will perform at a higher standard, guaranteed.