10 Ways Your IT Service Desk Will Benefit from a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is arguably one of the most important tools that your organization’s IT service desk needs. Without a knowledge base, your organization runs the risk of inconsistent support, lengthy telephone calls, and unhappy customers to name but a few of the associated issues.

A knowledge base also holds articles that help end users/customers to resolve their own issues, lists of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and technical documentation that your support staff can access to assist with more specialist questions.

If you’re not convinced and fully on-board yet – or maybe you need to convince the powers-that-be that this is something worth investing in – I’ve compiled this list for you! You’re welcome.

Here are 10 ways your IT service desk, and wider IT support and IT service management (ITSM) activities, will benefit from implementing a knowledge base.

1. Improve Your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score

A knowledge base contains articles that an end user or customer can use to resolve their own issue. They simply search for their issue, select the article that will help them, and follow the guidance to fix the issue. The customer gets what they need immediately, resolves their own issue, and doesn’t have to pick up the phone or log a ticket.

Happy days!

If they do need to call the IT service desk for assistance, then the service desk agent can use the knowledge base to either: direct the customer to the correct article so they may assist themselves, or reference an article to fix the issue directly, resulting in a closed ticket with minimal time on the phone.

A customer that has their issue resolved within minutes, or doesn’t have to contact the IT service desk at all, is likely to be a happy customer.

2. Retain Knowledge

You’ll often find that organizations have an IT service desk hero –  someone who knows every fix for every incident or at least knows who to go to to get the job done. While these individuals are wonderful people they can also be the root cause for a lack of urgency in getting knowledge documented.

Colleagues will direct difficult questions to the hero instead of learning what needs to be done, thinking: “Documentation can wait because the desk has someone who knows what to do, and there are more urgent tasks to sort out anyway.”

This will roll along OK until… the hero leaves. Now you’re in a jam. All the knowledge the IT service desk had, has disappeared. Just like that. Overnight. Gone. No more.

A knowledge base ensures that this doesn’t happen – everything is documented, categorized, and organized neatly in one knowledge-sharing solution.

This time, your hero has gone, but the knowledge hasn’t. In fact, you’ve got a team of heroes now because they all have the same knowledge at their fingertips.

3. Improve SLA Stats

Struggling to meet your service level agreement (SLA) targets? A knowledge base can help because it helps your service desk agents to resolve incidents quickly. A ticket comes in, the agent checks the knowledge base to find the information they need, they follow the steps in the document, the issue is sorted, and the ticket is closed.

Plus, if they can’t fix it, then the document tells them which team needs to assist next so that the ticket lands with the correct resolver team and doesn’t bounce around looking for a home.

4. Improve the First-Time Fix (FTF) Rate

Your service desk agents might not know how to fix an incident that lands with them. Without knowledge articles to refer to, your agents will waste time asking questions and wondering where to turn trying to find out the resolution.

It’s much quicker, much easier, and much less stressful for your staff if they’ve got a place to find what they need, when they need it, i.e. a knowledge base.

5. Adapt Quickly to Change

When your IT service desk has a knowledge base, you have an area to store new documentation immediately. This means that when your organization is asked to support a new piece of tech or service, you can pick it up quickly and offer quality support from day one.

There’s not excessive time spent training agents and hoping that they remember what needs to be done. The documentation simply gets categorized and input into the knowledge base ready for go-live.

6. Reduce Incoming Ticket Volumes

When customers are using the organization’s knowledge base to resolve their own issues then there’s no need to log a support ticket with the IT service desk.

The knowledge base can be made available to search on the self-service portal before the customer can access the area to log a ticket. If the found document helps them, they simply click to exit and return to their normal, daily tasks. Job done!

7. Reduce Call-Waiting Times

Because your service desk agents now have the knowledge they need to fix incidents in an easy to search solution, the length of time they’re on the telephone to end users/customers decreases. Instead of putting the customer on hold while they ask questions (to colleagues) or rummage through training notes, they simply locate the document they need, fix the issue, and get right on to the next call.

Quicker resolution means more calls answered, therefore customers are spending less time waiting in a queue for assistance.

8. Reduce Training Time

It’s always awesome getting a new agent joining your IT service desk but it can be a burden in the beginning – someone else from the desk is removed from their daily tasks (of answering calls and resolving tickets) because they need to show the new kid on the block what needs to be done.

Depending on the scope of what your IT organization supports, and how many tickets your IT service desk handles, the new-employee training period could take weeks and your team stats might suffer.

If you have a knowledge base, then this training time can be significantly reduced – your new agent gets shown the gist of what happens and how they need to work, and then they support themselves and learn on the job using the knowledge documentation for guidance as they need it.

This also encourages new staff members to get up and running quickly, and to support themselves, instead of relying too heavily on more experienced agents.

9. Avoid Duplication (and the Associated Costs)

A knowledge base can prevent your service desk agents from answering the same questions over and over again. You can store an FAQ document that is made available to all customers for them to peruse at their leisure.

As the knowledge base can also be used by customers to fix their own issues, it prevents agents from having to repeatedly perform simple fixes.

Not only does a knowledge base empower your customers, it also allows your agents to engage in a more interesting and varied workload.

10. Lower Costs (Without Lowering Quality)

By saving your service desk agents’ time, reducing incoming ticket volumes, and reducing the length of support calls, it’s highly likely that a knowledge base will also help your IT organization to save money on support costs. At the same time as lowering costs, you can be confident that you’re not decreasing the quality of support (if anything you’re improving it) because support is consistent, fast, and effective.

A knowledge base is also available 24×7, so if your IT service desk is closed overnight, or for a public holiday or the weekend, then your customer can still jump in and find the resolution they need.

Finally, a knowledge base has the power to create a happier working environment for both staff and end users/customers alike – speeding up resolution times and removing the stress from agents by aiding their support. Along with the potential to save your organization money in terms of operational costs, it also ensures that you are delivering a level of consistent, quality support.

Sounds like the perfect tool, wouldn’t you say? What other benefits has your organization realized from its use of a knowledge base? Please let me know in the comments!

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Posted by Joe the IT Guy

Joe the IT Guy
Joe the IT Guy

Native New Yorker. Loves everything IT-related (and hugs). Passionate blogger and Twitter addict. Oh...and resident IT Guy at SysAid Technologies (almost forgot the day job!).


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