KM should be considered an idea or a methodology, not a product. And, the purpose for implementing KM should be to allow people to get their questions answered. Notice that I didn’t say that the purpose of KM is to serve up all of the information you have so users can search through it. The best KM projects provide a way (or several) for users to easily get their questions answered so they can “self-serve”. This is true whether you are doing the project for your web users or internally for employees. And once you go to all of the effort of creating your knowledge base, why limit it to the web? Why not extend it to Mobile, SMS Txt messaging, Social Media, Kiosks, IVR, etc?
The problem with traditional KM systems is that users often don’t know how to ask for what they need. They don’t know the “right” terms to search on. That is why many of them are more comfortable talking on the phone. If they engage with a person, they can state their problem and the customer service rep will engage in dialog with the user until they have clarified what the user really needs and then the CSR will answer the question. It is very hard for KM system to do this. However, there are other tools out there like virtual experts that can help. http://www.goarmy.com/ChatWithStar.do These systems can be trained to be more interactive than search. The good ones can engage in dialog with the user much like a CSR would. This adds a third dimension to KM which makes it much more effective. In addition, you are able to keep the user data to show the questions they ask. It is almost like you are running a 24x7x365 focus group of your users. You get constant feedback on what they are really looking for and can adjust your efforts to focus on the things that are most valuable which can be a big time saver.
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