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Important Features to Look for in a Knowledge Base

Here are a few features that you should look for in a knowledge base.

Knowledge Base Accepts Attachments and Screen Shots

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. With a good knowledge base software system, files and screen shots can be attached to knowledge base records for further documentation. Attachments that are audio and video presentations of typical "How To" questions are excellent examples. The files are indexed by the knowledge base search engine and become part of the knowledge base software system.

Import Third Party Knowledge Bases for Agent and Customer Self-Help

This provides the ability to purchase knowledge bases from third party vendors and import for use in your own knowledge base software system. Assign security levels to knowledge records This provides the ability to assign a security level to knowledge base records, agents and customers. Accordingly, agents and customers can only view knowledge base records designated with the matching security level in their profile.

Knowledge Base Approval Process

All new knowledge base records must go through an approval process.

"Contact Me" option

After a customer reviews knowledge base records in a customer service self-help portal, if no records answer the query, the customer can request someone contact them. By clicking a "Contact Me" hyperlink, the knowledge base software application automatically creates a service request with the search criteria already tried by the customer. This service request also documents the possible need for new knowledge base information to fill voids.

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Senior Executives Should Meet With Customers

If you really want to impress an important customer, send a senior executive to the site when things are not going well. Every company sends executives to close the big deals. Your customers never see senior executives again until it is time for more deal closing. Senior executives as a group are not use to having demanding people talk to them. Everybody around the office treats them with respect and walks on eggshells when around them. They have isolated themselves into a corner office. If you are a senior executive or want to be one, understand that one important measure of your success is in your ability to turnaround situations. If you are a smart executive, hook up with a few top sales people in the company and let them use you as a resource when trouble strikes. Many of your peers will be hiding in their offices. Go out and face the music and take some responsibility for your company. Just simply listen to what your customers tell you. Bring that skillful listening back to your company and work with the appropriate teams to make the necessary changes.  Also, keep the customer informed on the status and what you plan to deliver to make them happy again. If you can turn the situation around, many people will hear about it.  Let your Division President know that you are trying to delight and amaze an important customer that is not very happy with your company. Simply taking initiative and trying to fix things will earn you a lot of credit while your peers shy away from this type of customer engagement. If you actually lead a turnaround success, all the more valuable you will become to your company. When senior executives are trying to figure out who adds the most value to the company your name will be on that list.

Thanks for reading. Here is a good White Paper on customer service best practices. See

Why Do You Use Competitor's Products?

Within the marketing department, some companies have competitive intelligence gathering organizations. However, the customer service department is the best and the least expensive forum to obtain competitive intelligence. Agents can be trained to ask questions about competitive products. Your customers might be using your products along with competitor's products. You want to keep on making sure they use more of your products and services. Customers have friends and colleagues that are using competitive products. This is a rich opportunity for dialogue and it's dirt cheap. Just say no to the high priced market research firms and start a competitive intelligence program in the customer service department.  Better yet, talk to the the VP of Marketing and run this idea by them over lunch. When you explain that your agents can be leveraged for competitive intelligence and save the marketing department a lot of money, the VP better pick up the tab for lunch!

Customer Feedback Loops

On April 29th, I wrote about customer feedback loops. Here are a few more thoughts.

Your customers will be amazed when they are transferred directly to an engineer that works on the product they are using. It is a very satisfying experience for your customers to establish a dialogue with more than just the customer service department. There is nothing so quite as satisfying as to have a direct impact and effect on a product that we use. Customers will give the people who build your products and services the best ideas for enhancements and new products. Also, consider placing some of your biggest and most important customers on a Customer Advisory Board and invite feedback from them on a regular basis.

Listen to your customers! Encourage and invite their feedback. They will tell you things that will never occur to you or anybody in your company.

Here is a great White Paper that may interest you.

KPIs For Knowledgebase Software

Yes, it is important to build a knowledge base to help increase first call resolution, provide consistent answers and stop your team from reinventing the solution every time the same type of call is received by the call center or IT help desk.  A great knowledge base software tool should also have exceptional Real-time Reports. You should be able to generate the following Real-time Reports about your knowledge base and employees to lead your organization.

  • In ten seconds or less, can you determine which employees are generating knowledge records and at a very granular level can you determine if this knowledge is solving problems?
  • In ten seconds or less, can you determine what categories of knowledge employees and customers need?
  • In ten seconds or less, can you determine the quality of knowledge by user ratings and how often knowledge records were used to solve problems?
  • In ten seconds or less, can you determine if an increase in knowledge records is causing an associated increase in First Contact Resolution?

Does your firm provide valuable incentives to reward employees for building and maintaining a high quality knowledge base? People need to know that you can measure their contributions and differentiate between employees on the help desk or in the call center. If you provide some valuable incentives to motive people and you can measure the value/quality of knowledge over time...just watch your high performers..they will seek to impress and help you build an outstanding knowledge base.

Let everybody know about the incentives that are available. Think iPods, iPhones, digital camcorders and cameras or some of the bling on display at  It will actually be cool to work on the help desk or in customer service.

Here is a White Paper with more detail.

If You Can't Measure Customer Satisfaction, You Can't Lead

Any good help desk and customer service software should allow you to, in ten seconds or less, measure overall customer satisfaction as follows:

By Service Group

By Analyst

By Call Category

By Root Cause


           Further by time:   This morning, Yesterday,  Last Week, Last month

           Further by:  Region, Country, Office,  Department, Customer


Also, in ten seconds or less, can you also review survey comments made by customers?

If you have to spend hours preparing reports, that will not allow you to react in Real-time to important customer situations. Reports are everything!

Thanks for reading.

You may find this White Paper interesting.

Leverage a Knowledgebase To Solve IT Problems

If you are evaluating help desk and customer service software these are some key features that you should look for when assessing the the knowledge base capability.

FAQ and Most Frequently Used

These allow both agents and customers to leverage a list of common questions and answers in the knowledge base software application. An FAQ can easily be set-up by specifically designating that a knowledge base record is included in the FAQ listing. A Most Frequently Used listing of knowledge base records will leverage the knowledge base and help customers and Agents to quickly find answers.

Problem Solving Score- Knowledge Base Record

When a knowledge base record is used, a "Problem Solving Score" is incremented. The search engine utilizes these ratings to prioritize subsequent knowledge base search results. Reports use the “Problem Solving Score” to indicate which knowledge base records have the highest value and which may need improvement. A knowledge base software system should learn and get “smarter” over time.

User Rating Score-Knowledge Base Record

An Agent can rate knowledge base records each time they are used. The search engine utilizes these user ratings to improve subsequent knowledge base search results. Reports use knowledge base record ratings to indicate which records have the highest value and which may need improvement. A knowledge base software system should learn and get “smarter” over time.

Here is a great White Paper on Customer Service Best Practices-What Features and Functions to look for in Customer Service Software.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the weekend.

Provide Consistent Answers to Customer's Questions

What benefits can companies expect from a Knowledge Base and Self-Help Knowledge Portal?

Some benefits of a Knowledge Base software system correlate directly to bottom-line savings, while others are more difficult to quantify. In today's information-driven economy, companies uncover the most opportunities — and ultimately derive the most value — from intellectual rather than physical assets. To get the most value from a company's intellectual assets, Knowledge Management practitioners maintain that knowledge must be shared and serve as the foundation for collaboration. Yet better collaboration is not an end in itself; without an overarching business context, a Knowledge Base is meaningless at best and harmful at worst. Consequently, an effective Knowledge Base software system should help a company do one or more of the following:

  • Foster innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas
  • Improve customer service by streamlining response time
  • Boost revenues by getting products and services to market faster
  • Enhance employee retention rates by recognizing the value of employees' knowledge and rewarding them for it
  • Streamline operations and reduce costs by eliminating redundant or unnecessary processes
  • Increases customer satisfaction since a knowledge base portal is available 24 hours/day


Source: CIO Magazine. The ABCs of Knowledge Management, Megan Santosus & John Sermacz

If you would like a White Paper on this topic please download it at:

Thank for reading! Please let me know the topics that interest you.

IT Help Desk Best Practices-Knowledgebase Tool

In conjunction with using a web-based help desk software system, using a fully integrated web-based knowledge base software tool is a very important help desk best practice. The greatest asset a service organization has is the knowledge of the staff. When an employee leaves the organization, they take all that knowledge with them. By encouraging and rewarding employees to document their knowledge, in a centralized knowledge base software system, it becomes available for all the staff to leverage. Independent research supports that a knowledge base will decrease call handle time, talk time, call escalation percentages, employee turnover, agent training time and increases first call resolution rates. A knowledge base software application will also increase consistency in answers and overall customer satisfaction.

When customers use a knowledge base software self-help tool, it reduces repeat calls to the Help Desk. Using a customer accessible self-help portal will reduce calls by increasing call avoidance and is a great way for your support organization to save costs. In the 2007 Help Desk Institute Practices Survey, 48% of respondents use a web portal knowledge base system. When companies employ web-based self-help technologies, 74.5% of them use knowledge base search tool!


Technology Response
Knowledge base search tools 74.5%
FAQs 72%
Self-diagnostic/Self-healing 38%
Other 22%

Source: HDI Practices Survey 2007

If you would like a White Paper on this topic please download it at:

Thank you!

Reassignee Employees To Customer Service

Did you know that customer feedback loops can help build long-term customer loyalty?

Whether your company is a product or service company, there is an organization that produces new products. In high technology, this department is Engineering. Every engineer should spend 1 day/week working in the customer service department listening to real live customers. The people who make the products should listen directly to the people who use the products. If Engineering gets feedback from the customer service department, they are likely to discount it. This is especially true if it is highly critical. Send a few promising engineers or folks who create your products to customer service training and "embed" them in the customer service department 1 day/week for a month. They will gain valuable insights to share with fellow engineers. World class companies know the value of “embedding” engineers on a rotating basis in customer service. Their creditability within their own team will increase and you will have an advocate to help spread the truth about what customers really think about your company’s products.

Here is a great White Paper on Customer Service Best Practices-What Features and Functions to look for in Customer Service Software.


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