Knowledge management in a one stop centre

How well you manage to create, store and disseminate information in a one stop centre, a helpdesk or any other type of customer service institution will be fateful for the success of your business. A one stop centre that only employs people to inform the public that the issue has been made sure to be taken care of by a responsible party is as useless as pointe shoes for a hippo.

It is important that customer service representatives (CSR’s) have a clear role in providing customers with necessary information about services, products and status. In order for them to be able to deliver qualitative service to your customers at first contact, you are to make the process of how knowledge is captured, managed and kept up-to-date as seamless and their work as efficient as possible. Here are some things that I think are, though important, often neglected when procuring a system for knowledge management.

1. Web-based systems

Web-based knowledge management systems are easy to maintain and they are (or must be) future-friendly and bullet-proof.

2. Real-time updates

Refreshing a page to see if something new has been added is yesterday. Make sure the CSR’s have access to the latest version of a document, whether they have just opened a page or have had it sitting in an open browser window for hours.

3. Simultaneous collaboration

“The document is locked for editing. Try again later.” should never be an option. Social collaboration in real-time is not a phenomenon too old not to be implemented and utilised in a knowledge management piece of software.

4. Comments, flags and notes

Your customers, and therefore your one stop centre, know more about the current events that might affect your rules, regulations and content than you are aware of. Make it possible for CSR’s to flag or leave comments and notes on content.

5. Notifications

You CSR’s, if anyone, need to stay in the loop of things constantly. Make it possible for them to choose to be notified about every little detail or update. You don’t want to risk your customers being misinformed by a one stop centre employee that did not receive an update.

Also, it is important that the comments, flags and notes on content get taken care of by adequate authorities in your organisation. Helpdesk for your helpdesk is crucial, which, again, points to the importance of having functioning underlying processes.

6. Segregation and adaptation of content per user

Finally, all CSR’s are not, I suppose, expected to know everything about everything. Do not show irrelevant content to your CSR’s. Let them instead choose which content to display should the need arise.

What are your tips on optimising the process of distributing knowledge in a one stop centre? Please, share them with me in the comments below or on Twitter @clartem.

One stop to happiness

In Sweden, there’s a general mistrust of the public sector in general and the municipalities in particular. To put it more precisely, people do not trust the competence of those employed by Sweden’s “lower-level local government entities.” It is most probably characteristic of other countries as well though, and not just Sweden.

The mistrust is best revealed and observed at the first point of contact between the municipality officials and the public in need of service. Usually, it is a kind of a customer service centre called “One stop shop” or “One stop centre”. (It is safe to assert that the one stop centre trend has been soaring over Sweden for the past several years. Skellefteå started it, I guess. The project Innoveta continued.) Both links are in Swedish.

The name of such centres in the English language has been amusing and intriguing me for some time. One stop. The idea is that regardless of the nature of one’s enquiry or its inherence in the organisation of the municipality, the public can get their questions taken care of only having to contact the local authority once.

One stop. The idea is fairly complex. Before one can fully buy it (as if it were a goal in itself), I believe, one needs to get the answers to the questions regarding knowledge management, case management, channel management, etc. On a totally different level, the idea is straightforward, too. The public sector pride themselves in customer-centric perspective. It is therefore natural for them to see the benefit of say cutting on administration to pursue efficiency for the sake of the public’s gain.

On a quite subjective and somewhat unexperienced level, I’ll be touching on different issues of establishing and running a one stop centre within the coming couple of months. More specifically, I am interested in operations and operational (business) development of one stop centres, which will probably lead me to consider the role that self-service plays in the interaction between the local government and the public.