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It’s High Time Knowledge Management Went Omnichannel

4 minute read
Patrick Bosek avatar
The knowledge management infrastructure used by businesses needs to be omnichannel, but far too often, it still isn’t.

…and stopped relying on the Library Model.

Knowledge content is the foundation of the post-sale experience, especially the post-sale support experience.

Today’s post-sale experience, including service and support, involve constantly shifting channels for almost every business. This means that the knowledge management infrastructure used by these businesses needs to be omnichannel, but far too often, it still isn’t.

What Is Omnichannel?

Omnichannel is often confused as being a synonym for multichannel, but it isn’t. Multichannel is simply the ability to deliver content to more than one channel. Omnichannel is the ability to deliver content to any channel.

The key difference here is that many content systems are set up with two or three channels in mind, and while the system works well for this small, predefined set of channels, it can’t support anything past that. This is a classic multichannel architecture.

On the other hand, modern omnichannel content systems are effectively channel agnostic. They can be configured to support the two or three channels needed on day one, but just as easily expand to support the next four, five or 10 channels as they appear.

Related Article: How to Unleash Your Omnichannel Content Strategy

Why Is Omnichannel Important for Knowledge Management?

One of the historical problems with knowledge management projects was using the library model. This is where a knowledge-base is created as a distinct digital place, akin to a physical library in the middle of a city, then users are instructed to go to that place if they want knowledge. This is the core paradigm we get with “wiki” style knowledge-bases.

For many reasons, this is a bad model.

Learning Opportunities

All of those reasons can be summarized with the concept of digital proximity. Digital proximity is the notion that we have a place in our digital world, just like our physical world. Just like in the physical world, proximity in the digital world is measured by how long it takes to arrive somewhere or acquire something.

In the physical world when you ask someone “how far away is the store?” — the common answer is in time, “About 15 minutes.” For your customers in the digital world, the question is often “how far away is an answer?” When the answer takes less time to acquire, it’s closer; its digital proximity is better. Omnichannel is required for organizations to improve their digital proximity. When you find customers are spending too much time moving from point A to point B to acquire answers and assistance, you open a new channel at point A, thus moving closer to them.

Success with omnichannel and digital proximity can be measured with customer effort score (CES). The closer something is, the lower the effort in accessing it. And it matters, a lot. Research suggests that CES is the top factor in customer loyalty.

Where Are Your Knowledge Ecosystems Going?

One additional piece to consider is that in the digital world, proximity is defined by how closely a digital experience matches not just where you are, but also who you are. To meet someone where they are in this context is more along the lines of the metaphysical sense used when attempting to interact with someone in their mental, emotional or cultural space.

We all see customer and digital experience moving this direction, but how many of us are actively pushing our knowledge ecosystems toward supporting it? Omnichannel matters here, too. Good omnichannel infrastructures are built to adapt to the audience, not just the channel. It’s not about just having content in the app, it’s about having the right content for the specific person using the app.

The job for knowledge managers today is not just the creation and curation of knowledge, it’s also the delivery of knowledge. As customers continue embracing self-service in a true digital first world for customer experience, companies need to be ahead of their customers with knowledge delivery. The only way to get ahead with the pace of change in today’s digital world is through a robust omnichannel strategy.

About the author

Patrick Bosek

Patrick is a co-founder and CEO of Heretto. Since beginning his career in 2005 Patrick, has worked on a wide range of projects all focused on improving authoring, production, and distribution of content.