Knowledge Centered Support Principles in Action
Providing a world-class support using knowledge centered support principles involves a concerted effort and coordination from all parties involved. Here are just a few concepts to consider.
Classify knowledge articles
Each knowledge articles needs to be appropriately classified so that it becomes searchable, useable and readable.
Classification is based around several key concepts such as Issues, resolution, platform/technology, metadata.
Use a well-structured naming convention (either manually, or automatically if your software supports it) to name your knowledge base articles (see below)
Use automation to create knowledge article IDs
Establish a naming convention for your knowledge articles.
Where the software allows for it, configure your knowledge article IDs to be automatically generated based on the style, content or classification of the article. Don't leave article ID generation up to guess work. When articles IDs are clear and follow a well-defined naming convention, they become easier to search, manage and report on.
Link to other content
Once a knowledge article has been created, improve the value of its content by linking it to other sources of information and knowledge content.
Link knowledge articles to
- External documents, graphics, video, sound etc
- Other knowledge articles
- Websites, URLs,
- Existing incidents, problems
- Assets / configuration items
- Customers and Clients
Publish knowledge articles to web self-service portals
Link articles to web self-service portals for your clients and customers. Once an article has been written and approved, allow your clients and customers using your web portal to search for, and browse your content.
Link knowledge articles to ticket creation process, so that clients can read and solve their issues before even logging a new ticket, or contacting the help desk again.
Be proactive with your knowledge - help your clients to help themselves!
Link knowledge articles to incidents
If a knowledge articles is relevant to an incident, or problem that has already been logged in your system, link to it. This will add weight to the relevance of the knowledge article, as well as improve search-ability and preserve it historical usage and relevance.
Where possible, endevour to link multiple articles to other content when appropriate. Furthermore, classify the nature of the relationship, or link.
For example. Several knowledge base articles may be linked to the same incident. The relationship metadata for the link may include:
- Resolving article
- Referring article
- Further information article
When the relationship of the link is captured, it gives further meaning to both the article and the entity that is being linked to. This improves search-ability, reporting and statistics.
Capture search history and relevance
Whenever someone searches for a knowledge article, the words they use to search play an important part in building feedback and increasing the effectiveness for future searches. In order to create and author articles using terms "in their own words", you first need to know what these are. Capture all search criteria and then cross-link this to the knowledge base articles that are presented to the user. Survey the user to ask them whether what was presented was helpful or not.
Link multiple articles and classify the relationship
Search terms should be captured to understand how client are phrasing their search queries. Knowledge articles that are returned in the search results can be ranked according to how effectively they match the users expectations for their search. System administrators can gain a keen insight into the searching behaviours and mindset of clients looking for information. Articles can evolve over time to be better suited for particular search terms and relevancy.
Get the statistics on knowledge use
Effective knowledge centered support relies on a solid statistical foundation. Get the statistics on knowledge base usages, feedback, ratings, historical relevance and search-ability. Track the performance of individual knowledge base articles, or look at an overall-aggregated view of your entire knowledge stack. Regular examination of knowledge base usage and statistics will help you to keep the evolution of your corporate knowledge alive and well.