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The real bite of knowledge sharing

By adamk on February 18, 2013

Blog by Adam Krob, Senior Advisor

There is an old saying (and a song by a 1980s hair band) in English – “once bitten, twice shy.”  Effectively, it means that if you do something that leads to a negative or painful outcome, then you are unlikely to do it again.  In the old saying, if you pet a dog that bites you, you are less likely to pet that dog again.

Most organizations start knowledge sharing because of a real pain that they want to eliminate.  For support organizations, that pain is the overwhelming volume of the same questions over and over again-questions that, most of the time, someone on the team has answered before.  Knowledge sharing addresses that pain by putting the knowledge of the entire team into a repository that the team and the customers can use to answer these repeating questions, before they become cases.  The words we use to describe knowledge sharing outcomes reflect the desire to avoid the repeating case bite.  We talk about “case avoidance” or “customer deflection” as our goals.

For most of organizations, even those who do knowledge sharing well, they stop here.  Knowledge sharing focuses on gathering knowledge as we answer customer questions, sharing it to prevent other cases from appearing.

I would argue that there is much more power in knowledge sharing.  In even the best practice of knowledge sharing (I believe that Knowledge Centered Support, KCS, is that best practice), the focus is on the case workflow as the primary means to find, improve, and create knowledge.  To go beyond just avoiding the pain of massively repeating cases to truly learning from our entire organization, our partners, and our customers, I suggest a two-step plan.

  1. Identify other events that trigger a need for knowledge
  2. Start to build a process that incorporates sharing, improving, and creating knowledge into that event

Where do you see an event that triggers a need for knowledge in your organization?  A new software release?  A government regulation change?  Training for new partners or
resellers?

How could you build knowledge sharing into the processes you use to address each one?

Want to pursue these ideas further?

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