A customer-obsessed culture is everyone’s responsibility, and knowledge experience is critical to both. Why then, do most organizations maintain completely separated knowledge-bases for customers and employees?
The simple, and common, answer is that employees need knowledge content that is confidential, or at least, not public. In other words, different knowledge-bases are required because they have slightly different information for employees and customers. And in the past this has meant you must maintain two separate sets of content, but this is no longer the case.
For the sake of our CX and EX, it’s time we all caught up.
Consistent Knowledge Across Customer and Employee Experience
So, is that the one simple thing? Deliver the same content to employees and customers where it’s shared? Almost.
The key is consistency. We need to deliver the same knowledge to employees and customers consistently throughout their journey. To really execute well on a customer-obsessed culture that flows from seamless CX and EX, knowledge management needs to be viewed as much broader than a knowledge-base.
The truth is, every touch point with a customer that is educational in nature needs a perfectly consistent experience. To achieve this, every piece of knowledge, content and information needs its own single source of truth. Everything needs its place of origin and there can be only one place of origin for each thing.
Single Source of Truth
This is the one simple thing. A hyper-focus on and dedication to enterprise-wide single source of truth (SSOT).
The push for SSOT is not new, but the approaches to achieving it available to us today are. Historically, working towards SSOT was code for putting everything in one big repository. This was one of the driving forces behind the implementation of large enterprise content management systems (ECMs) in the 2000s and 2010s.
While these efforts were mostly well intentioned, they were missing a key piece — it doesn’t matter if you can put everything in one place if you can’t directly access that content for any and all required experiences. If I’m a developer creating an information experience, having the information I need in the ECM in a document is as good as it not existing at all. Best case, I can copy it. Worst case, I’ll have to recreate it. Either way, SSOT is broken.
We’ve come a long way since those days. Today, we have the technology and practices that open up the ability to truly achieve SSOT. The key ingredients are just three things:
- Structure and componentize all content.
- Catalog all structures.
- Know where everything is.
These three things, taken to their absolutes, unlock true SSOT. Obviously, actually implementing them is an extraordinary effort, so it needs to be done piece by piece. Even so, these three conceptually simple things are the north star that can bring your organization to a SSOT. And every bit of progress along that journey reduces the number of inconsistent and unhelpful experiences your customers and employees have.
Put Content Where It Belongs
One last thought. I want to point out that moving towards this goal is not a process of buying a single piece of technology and stuffing everything into it. There won’t ever be a world where one system can hold all the information and content our customers and employees need. That’s the “know where everything is” piece.
Fewer systems are typically better, because they’re easier to keep track of, but putting information in a system that isn’t designed to manage it is worse than having another system added to the ecosystem. Put things where they belong and have a strategy for pulling them together where they’re needed.