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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

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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

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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.

Delivering World Class Customer Service

How do you deliver world class customer service and support?

Be prepared...some of your customers may act shocked when you ask them for unsolicited feedback. Their other vendors are probably not as inquisitive and curious about them. Keep "peeling the onion" on your customers. Uncover their needs and pain that is there, but not quite at the surface.

If the customer service department has managed to solve a customer problem on the phone and they seem satisfied, then you are in a good position to leverage the phone call.

  1. Ask customers for ideas to enhance the current product and build entirely new products.
  2. Conduct market and competitive research.

More on this topic at another time.

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

Is Everything Kosher With Your Customers?

Here are a few additional thoughts on customer satisfaction surveys. Look for these features when assessing the customer satisfaction survey capability in Help Desk and Customer Service software.

Personalized Customer Satisfaction Surveys

This provides the capability to include a digital photograph of the person who closed the service request along with the customer satisfaction survey that is sent via email. This allows employees to view a picture of the person that resolved their problem. This helps connect employees to the help desk department and puts a "face" on the people in the department.

Choice of Customer Satisfaction Survey Delivery Method

This provides an option for the customer satisfaction survey to be sent either in an independent "customer satisfaction survey" email or integrated with the standard close service request email notification. The customer satisfaction survey will display as a nice sharp looking HTML document directly in the email. This will increase customer satisfaction survey response rates.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Alerts- "Please call me"

This provides a "check box" that the customer can check if they would like a help desk manager to call them. When checked, a manager is immediately notified giving them a "heads-up" that a customer wants to speak with them. This allows for a written record and an opportunity to more closely communicate and meet the needs of your customers.

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Do You Have Customer Satisfaction Survey Sirens?

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

Create Your Own Customer Satisfaction Surveys or Use a Default

This provides for creating your own customer satisfaction survey greetings, questions, answer formats and values including follow-up thank you notes. It is important to be to able to generate your own custom customer satisfaction surveys. Customer satisfaction surveys that can be set up with text, lists, text inputs and radio buttons allow for the most customization. A default survey will also help you get started right a way with surveying. An associated customer satisfaction report allows for quickly viewing the survey results.

Customer Satisfaction Rating Alerts

This provides for setting minimum levels of customer satisfaction ratings that trigger alert notifications if levels are not achieved. This allows quick remediation.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Frequency and Survey Exceptions

This provides the capability to survey each customer every X service requests, but no more than Y service requests over Z time interval. System Administrators should be able to place some customers on a survey exception list so that they do not receive surveys. Senior executives sometimes do not want to complete customer satisfaction surveys. Some employees who frequently use the help desk many not want surveys each time they call the help desk.

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Perform Customer Satisfaction Surveys On a Daily Basis

Customers will always let you know when they are completely dissatisfied with your service. However, daily customer satisfaction surveys performed by your call tracking software provides valuable information from a broad sampling of employees. A continuous customer satisfaction survey process improvement philosophy will drive customer satisfaction and loyalty to even higher levels. According to a 2007 Help Desk Institute Survey, 21% of their members send customer satisfaction surveys with every service request. This is an increase of 40% from the 2005 survey.


Frequency Response
Continuous Customer Survey Sampling 21%
As Needed Customer Survey 17%
Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey 14%
Do Not Conduct Customer Satisfaction Surveys 13%
Quarterly Customer Satisfaction Survey 8.5%
Daily Customer Satisfaction Survey 8%
Weekly Customer Satisfaction Survey 8%
Semi-Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey 8%
Monthly Customer Satisfaction Survey 6.5%

Source: HDI Practices Customer Satisfaction Survey 2007

If you would like a white paper on this topic please download it at:

Is this interesting information? Please share your thoughts. Thank you!

Exceptional Customer Service-Viral Marketing and Word-of-Mouth

The customer service organization has no ulterior motive other than to provide the very best of "care and feeding" of customers. You can break through the noise and elevate your brand and product to an unexpected level of amaze and delight. It is not enough that you simply meet customer needs. Most vendors can do that. The truly exceptional companies go beyond meeting needs to differentiate themselves and build long term shareholder value by building strong customer loyalty. You want your customers to tell their circle of friends and family about how well you take care of them. Over time, the viral marketing by word of mouth will happen and build.

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

Send a Customer Surveys with a Gift-Increase Response Rate

Remember when you were courting someone you cared about? You did crazy little things like sending them notes with candy, calling them to ask if everything is going fine, and keeping your commitments when you made a promise. Are you with me? This is the role of customer service. They are charged with the care and feeding of relationships for the long term.

You may say that this is the role of your Sales organization. No customer can question the sincerity of the customer service organization that sends out love notes and gifts to customers. The Customer service department has no self-interest in a commission so this kind of care and feeding comes across pure and sincere. Have you considered sending a small gift along with a customer survey indicating to your customer that you care about them and would like them to take some time and provide some feedback?

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

Amaze Your Customers-Do The Unexpected

We are all in the business of winning popularity contests with our customers …everyday. This is especially true when customers are upset at your company. Amaze your customers with a replacement of 1.5x the value of what they purchased with product, upgrades or service coupons. Wow, that makes me more than completely whole again!

Figure out how to amaze and delight your customers every time they reach out to you and you will probably endear them to you for more years then your competitors can. Maybe they will tell their children about your great company and products. Everybody loves to tell amazing stories about how well they were taken care of…since it is such a surprise when it happens today!! The good news is that the bar is not very high! Can you can begin to see how this all makes sense. When a customer has an urgent need or they are in a bind, you must dazzle them so they remember what it feels like to be amazed and delighted.

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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