Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Shift to Web Self-Service: Establishing a Knowledge Management Initiative

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Shift to Web Self-Service: Establishing a Knowledge Management Initiative

Article excerpt

Most customers expect businesses to have a web self-service offering.

According to a 2006 Forrester Research report, customer behavior changes are driving companies to invest more in self-service. Additionally, businesses are realizing the benefits of not paying $5 per interaction to provide web call-back or chat--they can pay 25 cents or less to resolve the issue and provide 24/7 customer service via web self-service. Leveraging knowledge management (KM) best practices is essential for all companies, but it's even more critical for those replacing ineffective solutions or implementing a knowledge base for the first time.

A recent Jupiter Research/Ipsos executive survey indicates that most companies are not monitoring self-service resolution failure. Only 21% of executives at companies with more than $50 million in annual revenue and with self-service deployed monitor their offerings for failure. In these cases some of the major benefits (i.e., cost savings and improvements in overall agent efficiency) associated with deploying a knowledge base won't matter if customers are left frustrated after an issue is unresolved. You may think the easy answer is for businesses to monitor the effectiveness of their web self-service, but that is only part of the solution. To mitigate this problem businesses need to ensure their KM initiative is established through best practices.


Let's start with the difference between KM and a knowledge base. KM is a philosophy, a set of practices. A knowledge base is the technology or repository for knowledge. Before deploying a knowledge base, a company must have a solid KM vision. Executive sponsorship is essential to KM implementation. It begins with a clear statement of the value that KM has in the business, and then puts expectations, resources, and communications in place that constantly reinforce the value statement. Vision comes first, technology second. The IT department's role is critical in acquiring and maintaining technology. Partner with IT early to ensure the technology is stable and will grow with the business. Temper the IT relationship, however, with the understanding that business users will drive the feature set.

Consistency, predictability, and repeatability (CPR) are the tenets of effective KM. Ensure that KM practices drive these tenets throughout the process, from capture through delivery and the feedback/improvement loop. …

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