One of my favorite proverbs of all times is this:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life” (Attributed to Maimonides, 12th century A.D).
Why do I like this proverb so much? Because it embodies a great truth in it that we should all implement in our day-to-day work as IT professionals: Share your knowledge.
The more you share, the better your business will become as more and more professionals will be able to operate both the system and problems that may occur (I do incident management for a living, so the more people I can train to operate the system, the more I get to sleep… 😇).
In the following blog post I’ll review how we share knowledge here at Gett, what are the tools we use and how it improves our incidents MTTX (MTTD — Mean time to Detect, MTTU — Mean time to understand & MTTR — Mean time to resolve).
Tools of the trade
When sharing knowledge, you want to think as efficiently as possible; i.e a knowledge sharing tool that is:
- Commonly used by your peers
- Easy to operate
- Doesn’t impose an additional cost to your company
As we have 2 distinct, and very different, customers —R&D from one side and our regional customer operations department from the other side, we use both Confluence and SalesForce knowledge modules as our KB engines.
We’ve set up our own space in Confluence where we regularly update technical challenges we face and how we solved them, as well as our very own FAQ section to help with our own onboarding process.
The SalesForce knowledge module has been set up for the benefit of our Customer Care department. When answering a call from a customer (be it rider or driver), The customer care representative will start typing the topic of the ticket and a list of knowledge articles will be presented adjacent to the ticket. The operator can then get to the bottom of the problem and either resolve it, or escalate it to the next level — Tier 2 (Global tech support).
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
― Maya Angelou
Sharing is caring
Now, you may think to yourself “Why should I share my hard earned knowledge with everyone? How can it possibly benefit me in my day-to-day?”. Well, knowledge sharing is the number 1 tool to improve your work efficiency. The more people know how to operate issues, the more potential “working hands” you have on it and the less work load falls on just a single person.
Let’s hypothesize — A recurring problem is escalated weekly to the tech support team. The tech support team solves this recurring problem daily and just returns it back to customer care as resolved. Does this sound like a healthy work procedure? We thought so as well, so we took the following steps to improve:
- Create a knowledge-base article on this specific problem (along with FAQs and screenshots)
- Educate senior customer care operators with specific tools that Tech support use to eliminate minor problems
- Create a 3 slides tutorial on how to solve this specific recurring issue and share it in new customer care representative onboarding process
Additionally, we ran a full analysis on all the tickets escalated to Tech Support in the previous year. Each ticket that was solved with a common action, or that could have been solved with a simple database query, was labeled as “Knowledge Base Needed”. Each of these “KB” (Knowledge Base) topics received either a Database report that will assist customer care to quickly find the root cause of the customer’s problem, or a KB wizard with some guiding questions that will help the customer care representative get as much data as possible to assist the escalation engineer in solving the problem.
As I mentioned before, we use SalesForce as our ticket management tool when we work with the regional customer care. SalesForce has an amazing reports module and low and behold, within 2 quarters of implementing this knowledge process, we’ve managed to eliminate 20% of the tickets volume globally (and even more in specific regions).
Furthermore, since this implementation of knowledge sharing, our local customer have significantly reduced the time it takes to resolve a customer issue; the knowledge is present at their fingertips, allowing a faster MTTR, improving their workload, increasing customer satisfaction and generally making everyone more content — it’s a “win win” for all…
When in doubt, try something new…
We’re always improving: there’s so much more you can do if you want to share your knowledge:
- Periodic webinars: we routinely analyze the tickets escalated to tech support and when we find a proverbial “weak spot”, we create a 15 minute webinar where we explain the issue at hand in 5 slides (no more) and record a session about the issue and how to solve it. These webinars are then shared with all regional customer care departments to be delivered by the shift managers to all employees.
- Weekly sync meetings: In these meetings, Tier 1 & Tier 2 support teams meet, go over weekly topics that were escalated and try to find areas that need enforcement. These areas are then put to a backlog in Jira and are later converted to either Knowledge articles, Database reports and - most importantly - shared with all who can benefit from them.
- “If you see something, say something”: Don’t wait for the question, but rather be proactive and provide the answer in advance to issues you know your customers need to know.
As the great Douglas Adams used to say: “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”
I urge you to go and prove Douglas wrong this time :-)
So long for now (and thanks for all the fish 🐟). Until we meet again…