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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Harvesting staff knowledge

It's easy to think of KM as providing staff with product or service information and carrying out the occasional customer satisfaction survey. But you could be missing a great opportunity. Here are five top tips for getting the best ROI from the wealth of knowledge held by your people.

1. Breakout sessions
Call breakout sessions as often as you can and in a fun, engaging way so staff feel relaxed and happy to pass on the valuable information they hold about your customers. Liven it up, be creative, make a plan of different themes to keep them interesting.

2. Create knowledge gurus
Create knowledge gurus who can "champion" customer feedback, interface directly with their teams, product development, marketing and HR and mentor new staff. Utilize them externally too, e.g. to present at industry events or presenting at corporate pitches.

3. Senior management sponsorship
Senior managers should brief customer advisors in person, passing on their passion for the brand, product or service. Spend time in the contact centre listening to calls, hearing what customers are saying and how the advisors interact with them. You get a far better feel for the market and the advisors feel more valued.

Do it regularly, as one of the UK's biggest financial institutions does, so that advisors feel comfortable with senior managers around. You'll reap the rewards in just a couple of months and it will "humanize" senior management.

4. Reward and recognition
Create an R&R scheme that focuses on business benefits gained from customer services' feedback. Create the right feedback channels to get their suggestions and clearly demonstrate the financial impact of successful ideas.

5. The company intranet site
An effective intranet underpins all the above suggestions and is a great meeting point for all sorts of information. However, you need to easily navigate information and give feedback, robust systems, non-paper backup (otherwise they'll never use the intranet) and it needs to be "sticky" i.e. fun, to bring them back.

A virtual magazine, with competitions, photos of team nights celebrating employee and company successes and maybe a regular SMT profile e.g. favorite holiday/celebrity can make them come back regularly. Make it personal and fun and make sure it is a two-way communication tool.
Harvesting staff knowledge is a crucial exercise and it really is vital to use that knowledge to drive your business. So, have fun and act on the information you get.

Adapted from Harvesting knowledge from frontline staff by Matthew Taylor, Calcom, in the current issue of KM Review.

Hi upay, I found your post Harvesting staff knowledge while doing some research on employee appraisal. I like your blog, thank you for sharing the information and keep up the good work!. I really found some useful info!
I'll be back to see if you have any posts about employee appraisal. Bye
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