There’s a quote I’ve seen attributed to Donald Miller that says, “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” From an individual perspective, I think this is absolutely true. From an organizational perspective, I think the quote holds merit but becomes a bit more complex because the access to information doesn’t rest in the hands of the individual. In a service organization, the ability to manage and disburse knowledge well is directly tied to success.

A recent Service Strategies study showed that of 100 service executives that participated, 35 percent are using internally-developed knowledge management systems; 29 percent are using Knowledge Centered Support (KCS); 24 percent are using informal knowledge management processes; and 12 percent aren’t using anything. Based on these results, there’s a big opportunity for service organizations to make some significant improvements by adopting a better approach to knowledge management. Here are three ways improved knowledge management will benefit your organization.

1: Improved Customer Experience

Providing your field technicians with all the information they need in an easy-to-use way can make a major impact – in and of itself – on your customers’ experiences. Knowledge is power – your technicians having access to a well organized and easy-to-use knowledge base gives them what they need to get the job done. The more complete and easily accessible it is, the faster and more effectively they can satisfactorily complete the job they are at and move to the next. While you have technicians leafing through manuals or making time-consuming calls to support to try to find the information they need to complete a job, your customer is waiting. When they can’t find what they need and have to schedule a second visit, your customer satisfaction plummets. Putting information your technicians and support staff need at their fingertips is one of the most powerful tools you can provide to ensure your customers aren’t inconvenienced unnecessarily.

2: Higher Employee Satisfaction

Do you know how frustrating it is for a customer-facing employee to feel ill-equipped to do their job? As the face of your brand and the one on the front lines, your technicians and support staff bear the brunt of not having answers when they need them. Employees that can easily find the answers they need when they need them are happier, more engaged, and more satisfied. I’ve experienced firsthand service provided by an employee who was clearly frustrated and alienated and, trust me, it wasn’t pleasant. In an age of information, choose to empower your workforce by putting it at their fingertips.

3: Eases Pain of The Talent Gap

As more and more of the field force retire, knowledge management becomes increasingly critical. The effects of losing tribal knowledge can wreak havoc on your organization and your customers. You need to take steps now to ensure that the valuable insights your experienced technicians have are captured, not lost. Almost all field service organizations are struggle to acquire new talent, and there’s more of a need now than ever to bring technicians on board that perhaps are capable but not yet experienced. Therefore, equipping them with knowledge is transformative in shortening the learning curve and speeding up their confidence.

Sarah Nicastro
Author

Field Service Evangelist, Future of Field Service