Knowledge Management in the Age of Social Content

With the growing popularity of online communities, curated content, the wisdom of the crowd and other social trends, organizations may wonder if formal knowledge management should still play a part in future customer service plans. Although social content is an important innovation that can add value to your overall customer support landscape, formal knowledge management is still vital and offers several benefits that extend beyond these more informal content sources:

Established and trusted authors. Perhaps the most important distinction between formal knowledge and informal social content is the accuracy and trust of authorship it provides. While there is no lack of content available on any given subject online, the quality of responses can vary widely. Knowledgebase content authored by trusted subject matter experts can give customers the peace of mind that their question will be resolved to their satisfaction.

Reviewed for accuracy. While social content is published with a single click, accuracy can sometimes be sacrificed for speed. Knowledgebase articles can be sent through a sophisticated workflow process, routing articles to the appropriate experts at each step, to better ensure content accuracy.

Structured for readability. Because social content is written by the masses, there are typically no formal processes in place for content structure. Threads can grow to monumental length and grammar, spelling and readability can be compromised. On the other hand, knowledgebase content is shorter, restricted to a single topic, and formatted into highly readable sections, lists and bullets.

Tagged for findability. Content is only useful if you can find it when you need it. A formal system of tagging allows end users to quickly find content through searches, as well as by browsing through product, topic, problem type or other categories.

Enhanced by context. Customers and employees have access to more information than ever. While we often benefit from this access, it can also be difficult to find the single piece of information needed, especially since end users often only type one or two words into a search box. Advanced knowledge management systems can combine this search query with information about the customer, such as location or products owned, to filter search results much more effectively.

Integrated to the desktop. When a contact center agent works with a customer, accessing community sites and other content management systems may not be a seamless process. To find information, the agent typically needs to toggle to a new window and type the customer’s issue into a search box. Integrated knowledge management automatically returns knowledge articles directly to the agent’s desktop based on the context of the query, saving precious handle time and making interactions more efficient for the end customer.

Built-for-purpose templates. Knowledge management systems incorporate templates, built for a specific purpose. These include standard templates, such as alerts and FAQs, as well as more complex content types, such as decision trees. Decision trees allow users to walk through an interactive question-and-answer tree to find a path to resolution in a way that is unavailable from static content.

Managed search. Knowledge search algorithms for customer service are much different than standard Internet searches. Knowledge management systems have the advantage of knowing that the searcher is looking to solve a problem. As such, algorithms are tuned to weight problem statements higher, sort by recent version numbers, and more. For general queries, managed answers can force certain results to the top, or clarifying questions can guide a user to a specific resolution.

Enhanced security. While some security mechanisms are available in social content, security architecture is much richer in a formal knowledge management system. Within a knowledgebase, authors can create content that is restricted to a specific audience, and even restrict certain sections of an article to different audiences.

Simplified maintenance. Knowledge is ever-changing, and maintenance of an organization’s knowledge is a critical function. By storing knowledge in a formal knowledge management system, an organization can leverage time-saving tools, such as templates, reusable content snippets, cloned content and more.

Embedded workflow and analysis tools allow administrators to assess what content is resonating and what knowledge is missing. Tools such as these can help organizations ensure they are providing the most up-to-date accurate content for their users.

Knowledge management is here to stay, even in an age of social content and engagement. In fact, formal and informal content can work together to add even more value. By leveraging social sources as content in knowledge searches and mining social content to find new articles for contribution, your organization can offer a complete solution for both its employees and customers.


Verint is a global leader in actionable intelligence solutions for customer engagement optimization, security intelligence, fraud, risk and compliance. Contact 800-4VERINT or visit www.verint.com.

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