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Understanding Your Knowledge Base Performance

Danette Beal
CX Service Strategist

Action Plan

Picture the scenario. Someone in your organization asks, "How well is your knowledge base performing?"

Where do you start? What metrics need to be evaluated to answer this question? In many of my own experiences, the inquiring manager is looking to me to define that criteria and educate him or her on whether or not the Customer Portal and knowledge base show a ROI. What seems like a pretty simple ask can lead Knowledge Managers into a rabbit hole with more plot twists than the original Matrix. The task of accurately measuring the success of your knowledge base can seem tedious, overwhelming and in many cases impossible.

To begin answering whether or not your knowledge base is performing well, you need to evaluate the reason for having a knowledge base. Empowering customers to self-serve effectively is one of the most powerful tools of the Oracle Service Cloud product. Providing customers with an area to find answers quickly not only saves money for your company but in many cases helps drive customer satisfaction. So how do we measure this?

Understanding how your knowledge base supports your overall channel engagement strategy can catapult your organization forward and set it apart from the competition. My advice, keep it simple and focus your efforts strategically on what's important to your business. My favorite starting point is to focus on portal navigation, answer effectiveness and answer deflection. These metrics can tell a compelling story of the journey your customers take in navigating your knowledge. Below, I will explore each area and introduce you to our newest report recipes by Joe Landers to help you unlock the secrets to your knowledge base performance. You can find them all on the Deriving Business Intelligence through Service Cloud Value Analytics.

How do you want customers to contact you?

Contact Channel

As a Knowledge Administrator, it is important to understand how your organization engages with your customer base. This understanding will help form a portal experience that supports your overall engagement strategy. Some companies may have extremely complex products and encourage customers to call with questions. In this scenario, the Customer Portal needs to have an easy-to-find Contact Us link that allows users to find the contact center phone number with little effort.  On the flip side, some companies may be more concerned with reducing cost per call and would prefer to engage with customers via chat or email as these are typically lower cost engagements. If this is the case, the page navigation should highlight chat and Ask a Question functionality and make it easy for end users to find these communications channels quickly. The Channel Distribution report recipe allows admins to easily understand what channels customers engage most frequently. Taking this analysis one step further, admins can evaluate the Contact Reasons report to see what call drivers customers are contacting them about. If these reports align with your expectations, you are in good shape. If not, it may be time to evaluate your Customer Portal page navigation strategy.

Whatever overall engagement strategy you prefer, companies should identify self-service engagements as a critical piece of that strategy. Although this may not be the primary concern, maintaining an effective knowledge base is the lynch pin. The Knowledge Base Performance and Knowledge Consumed by Interface report will help track effectiveness through time. The thing I love most about these two reports is the definitions Joe has included. Each is easy to understand and implement.

Is your content speaking to your audience?

How many times have you created and presented something to your peers only for them to either not understand it or not care about the content? Unfortunately, this scenario happens with answers within the knowledge base all too often. What makes perfect sense to you, as the answer creator, may not resonate with the sometimes thousands of people reviewing those answers. Knowledge Managers must create answers at a comprehension level low enough for everyone to understand, while being careful not to dumb it down so much that it alienates the audience. Crafting the answer, and the length of that answer, can mean the difference between a highly functioning knowledge base or a confusing and frustrating experience.   

The Answer Effectiveness Macro and Micro reporting helps tell the overall story of how your audience interacts with your knowledge base. The Answer Feedback Details report will help you understand exactly what your customers think in one easy-to-understand report.

Is your assistant assisting or annoying?

There is nothing more annoying than spending a large amount of time on a help page and not finding the answers you need. This situation may be compounded when a user finally submits a service request and experiences the Guided Assistant pop up with less-than-helpful information. Guided Assistance can be a powerful tool, but can also alienate your audience if not configured appropriately to meet the users' needs.

By reviewing the high level Guided Assistance Performance Summary, Knowledge Administrators and leadership can determine how many end users experience Guided Assistance and if it is effective. If a deeper dive is needed, Administrators can drill into individual guide performance with the Guided Assistant Effectiveness report.

Although the task of understanding your knowledge base may feel intimidating, it does not have to be. I encourage you all to review your own goals and expectations and upload Joe's recipes into your environment to help with the journey. If you have feedback on these reports, please feel free to leave them here or on the Driving Business Intelligence through Service Cloud guide itself.

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Comments ( 2 )
  • Anthony Smith Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Thanks for the write-up Danette.

    It's very relevant, especially when organisations go through endless restructures
    and every expense is reviewed to ensure the investment results in risk reduction or
    revenue increase, etc. Most of the time however to get this over the line you need
    to back knowledge-related costs with hard facts e.g. financial benefits, reduced costs,
    etc. This is where it gets tricky.

    A few years ago, after successfully implementing our benefits model across a few organisations,
    we wrote a white paper on financial benefits calculations based on frontline head
    count reduction that is driven by customer-facing knowledge usage. Our benefits model
    also includes forecasting to help understand investment vs expected benefit of various
    knowledge initiatives: http://www.betterresults.co.nz/files/Connections-A4-whitepaper-benefits.pdf

    As a result, we helped some of our customers retain their knowledge platforms or continue
    knowledge planned work. It takes a bit of effort but it's defintiely worth doing if
    you're struggling to justify knowledgebase costs.

  • Luis Melo Thursday, July 27, 2017

    Excellent post, Danette. Summarysing some of the key points and reports that can help
    a company really prove the effectiveness (and possibly ROI) of their KB.

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