If you needed to build a submarine to discover new depths in the ocean, how would you get the job done? I’ll bet you’d use a talented team of mechanical and electrical engineers, welders, and electricians.

If you needed to create and maintain knowledge who would you need? To build and maintain a great knowledge base, I think the best people for the job are the ones who use that knowledge day in and day out.

In the case of a support team, those people are your agents who help customers every day. They have collective, tribal knowledge that can be used to develop a robust knowledge base.

What is tribal knowledge?

“Tribal Knowledge or Know-How is the collective wisdom of the organization. It is the sum of all the knowledge and capabilities of all the people.

The problem with tribal knowledge in many organizations is that it goes undocumented. It exists only in the minds of individuals. It can also be wrong. Different people may remember things differently and act on mistaken assumptions about what has happened in the past. Therefore, capturing and using tribal knowledge is a process improvement best practice.”
The Tribal Knowledge Paradigm, Dr. Leonard F Bertain Ph.D., George Sibbald

Know-how is only useful to the individual, below are the benefits of turning it into knowledge that the entire organization can use:

1. Easily share collective knowledge.

Your team can easily find and use the knowledge of others on the team by linking to existing articles in a ticket. This makes onboarding of new members or developing solutions for new issues faster.

2. Naturally maintain your knowledge base.

While they are finding and using knowledge they will find articles that are confusing, incorrect, or out of date, and can give in-line feedback on them to improve and update articles.

3. Identify and fill gaps in your knowledge base.

If they search the knowledge base and don’t find what they’re looking for, they can create and share the new knowledge they acquired to solve the issue.

4. Enable your customers to help themselves.

According to our Getting started with Zendesk Guide, 73% of consumers want to solve problems on their own, and a staggering 90% of consumers have come to expect a self-service customer support portal.

A robust knowledge base will enable your customers to find answers for themselves without ever needing to reach out to an agent for 1-1 support. This can help you scale and provide you the time you need to provide great 1-1 experience when they are needed.

5. Know your content trends and gaps.

Tracking how your team uses the knowledge base over time gives you a chance to find knowledge trends or patterns, and continue to improve your overall knowledge base.

By implementing a strategy and tool that empowers your team to use, maintain, and create knowledge in the course of their daily work, you are creating a cycle of continuous improvement that ensures that your knowledge base is a living, breathing home for your team’s collective knowledge.

How to leverage know-how

Know how is meaningless if your agents aren’t able to share it in an organized way. With the Knowledge Capture app on the Guide Professional Plan, agents can link Help Center knowledge to a ticket, flag tickets with in-line suggests or comments for update and improvement, and create new articles based on templates that you define.