Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Knowledge Sharing Can Reduce Costs

Ever feel like you are solving the same issue over and over? Do your customers or patients call you with similar problems and questions repeatedly? Do you wish you could share your knowledge with team members so that everyone has the same understanding and are communicating the same message when asked about a specific issue? If you answered YES to any of these, it may be time to invest in a knowledge base. Knowledge base systems have many benefits; here are a few:

Improved customer support: By having a repository of knowledge, your team can quickly respond to customer questions and issues. By providing consistent answers to questions and issues, your customer is always assured of the right answer and consistent communications.

Reduced costs: A properly implemented knowledge base will reduce the number of customer/patient questions and will reduce the amount of time it takes to respond to problems. This can reduce the number of employees needed, quickly reducing costs.

If you are convinced that a knowledge base is beneficial, the next step is to begin setting up your knowledge base and training your team. Depending on your budget and the flexibility needed, you have several options to get your knowledge base operational:

Small Budget: If you are working on a very limited budget, you can create a knowledge base using a spreadsheet system. Although not ideal, this approach is beneficial, as you can keep track of issues that arise often, along with the solution. Therefore, when an issue comes up, you simply find the issue in your spreadsheet (along with the solution), then you can quickly supply the solution to your client (or team). This ensures consistent communication for issues and reduces costs, as your team can reduce the time spent on communicating solutions for common issues. The disadvantage of using a spreadsheet is that it is not easily shared between team members. If a specific team member has the spreadsheet open, others can not update it until no one else is using it. This can be limiting, but it is much better than not having a knowledge base. Another disadvantage is that you can not easily provide the knowledge base to your clients, so that they first search the knowledge base prior to calling your team for help.

Maximum Flexibility: If you prefer more flexibility, you will want to opt for a knowledge base system that eliminates the disadvantages of the spreadsheet system. A flexible knowledge base will allow you to:

1. Define custom fields you wish to track within the knowledge base.
2. Have a flexible search engine.
3. Allow file attachments.
4. Run over a network.
5. Have a portal to integrate with your website.
Choosing a knowledge base: When researching a knowledge base look for one that integrates well with your existing network.

Extending the Knowledge Base to your Customers: To maximize the use of your knowledge base, setup a knowledge base search portal on your website and make customers aware of it. This can eliminate unnecessary phone calls and reduce costs.

By Brandon Doyle

DoyleSoft pioneered the world's easiest to use Knowledge Base software. The peace of mind a Knowledge Base program can bring you may be more affordable than you might think.

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