So, you want to shrink your email inbox? Who doesn’t?
If the service desk has a knowledge base, that’s a good start. Hopefully, your organization refers to it whenever a technician is stuck on an issue or a user needs help with a problem that they can solve on their own. It’s a great thing to have that will only make your business stronger — if you know how to properly utilize it.
Chances are, you can utilize it even more effectively. As we’ve discussed before, it doesn’t matter if you have all the knowledge in the world if you don’t do anything with it. Encyclopedias aren’t just made to look pretty on a shelf (or to serve as a Wikipedia page, don’t act like you didn’t use it on college essays), their purpose is to be used to inform future decisions and help people draw conclusions that will make the world a better place.
Okay, so that’s a little grandiose. But you get my point. One of the best ways to take advantage of all that knowledge is through automation. You can probably guess where we’re going considering our theme this month, but email is not doing your knowledge base any good. Automation gives you the opportunity to streamline requests without a technician needing to be called upon every single time something comes up.
But what do we mean when we talk about automation?
Knowledge Free from Email
We’ve talked a lot about automation in the past, and it’s one of the most powerful ways you can empower your service desk and take your knowledge base to the next level. One of the great things about it is that you can make it as small (a PDF document that fills in data into a system as fields are completed) or as big (automated requests for services from all the departments in the enterprise) as is needed.
In its most basic form, automation links two systems together so that they are self-fulfilling. This means that you don’t have to have a technician monitoring requests that come in through email each day, and it also means that your employees can find the answers themselves. And it’s not just limited to IT; every department has a store of knowledge that’s unique to their processes.
Today’s service desk tools will even help users find the knowledge they’re looking for. As you populate the knowledge base with new articles and resources, your portal can suggest these solutions to users before they go through the trouble of creating a ticket. Through modern search functions and smart technology, users are more connected to your knowledge base than ever before. It’s almost unavoidable!
Sharing is Caring
While it’s easy to try and keep your department’s information close to the vest, the reality of the modern enterprise is that everyone needs to work together. It can be easier said than done, particularly if you have multiple offices in multiple locations. But this doesn’t mean that you have to share everything that you know; it just means that you can pick and choose the information that other departments frequently request.
You can make that information readily available so that you don’t get an email each time someone wants to know about PTO policies, expense report submissions, or anything else that’s frequently asked. This process can be applied to almost any information that you keep in your knowledge base, and will also allow you to find best practices.
Let’s say that you need a service that requires multiple permissions. Maybe you think you’d benefit from a tablet in your department, or you’d like to be reimbursed for expenses you paid out of pocket during a business trip. Instead of the craziness of emailing back and forth, you can automate permissions based on the process that’s outlined in the knowledge base. You can also create automations that route and prioritize requests based on the departments and requesters from whom they originate.
All of these advantages of the modern service portal (and its integration with a robust knowledge base) will help solve tickets and fulfill requests with minimal intervention from the service desk. If, for example, you’ve forgotten your password again, you can easily find the steps to reset it without a technician’s help. Empower your users by allowing them to seek the answers themselves instead of waiting around for someone from IT.
Requesters and technicians will all thank you for it.
This post has been updated from its original publish on 4/14/16 to reflect new ideas in knowledge management, suggested solutions, and automation.