How Talla Automates Knowledge-Centered Support

September, 4 2019

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What is Knowledge-Centered Support?

Knowledge-Centered Support is the industry buzzword for a very basic but often overlooked idea: Once you find a solution to a customer's problem, write it down so no one has to figure out the same solution again.

Life gets easier when your Customer Support and Customer Success teams don't have to reinvent the wheel every time the same problem crops up. Knowledge-Centered Support makes documenting solutions part of the support process, so that the first step in solving a "new" problem is to check a centralized Knowledge Base to see if this problem already has a known solution. And if you have to create a new solution, add it to your shared Knowledge Base of documented answers so no one has to recreate that same solution from scratch.

It seems simple, yet the benefits of Knowledge-Centered Support elude many organizations.

What's So Hard About Knowledge-Centered Support?

Frankly, Knowledge-Centered Support requires a lot of up-front work to realize a big long-term payoff. Your organization has to invest in some infrastructure (a decent, centralized Knowledge Base), invest in some training (to lay out the documentation best practices and "look it up first" support processes) and invest in a whole lot of content (writing down every known customer support solution anyone can remember). This leads to some obvious problems.

  • If your Knowledge Base is hard to search, support staff won't consult it
  • If your Knowledge Base is hard to update, staff won't add to it
  • If your Knowledge Base doesn't have useful, accurate content in it, staff won't trust it

It's only after you've got a relatively comprehensive, well-structured, easy-to-search and easy-to-update Knowledge Base that it becomes worth your support team's time to deal with the Knowledge Base (and Knowledge-Centered Support) rather than work out a solution for themselves for each customer issue.

If you want to embrace Knowledge-centered Support, you have to find a way to make it easy.

Automation Makes Knowledge-Centered Support Practical

Artificial intelligence is finally at a place where many of the major roadblocks to Knowledge-Centered Support can be automated away. There are four basic but time-consuming tasks required for Knowledge-Centered support. AI solutions like Talla can automate all of them.

Automatically Capture Knowledge

When your support team develops (or remembers) a new, previously undocumented solution, it needs to be written down in your Knowledge Base so it can be easily found later. Rather than adding the entire "write it down" task to your already overburdened support staff's workload, AI can capture some or all of this knowledge for you.

Talla isn't just a Knowledge Base; it's a workflow tool that can prompt your support staff to complete a documentation "worksheet" at the end of any support call that includes a novel solution. And by observing the chats that were a part of that support call, Talla can even fill in large portions of that worksheet -- what products were involved, what customers were affected, what software integrations were impacted -- so the support staffer doesn't have to.

Suddenly writing down a known solution in your Knowledge Base becomes a lot less cumbersome -- or easily overlooked.

Automatically Structure Knowledge

It's not enough to document a new solution, your support staff has to know where and how to file it away in your Knowledge Base. Unfortunately, most support staff don't moonlight as experts on data taxonomy and ontology, so this is another barrier to effective Knowledge-Centered Support. It's also the easiest problem for automation like Talla to solve.

All those prefilled worksheet fields we mentioned above give AI the data it needs to suggest the titles, subheads, tags, categories, and meta-data that a Knowledge Base entry needs to be easily found by humans browsing a table of contents and easily indexed by automated search tools. Once your support team has written down the actual solution part of a solution document, Talla takes care of the rest of the virtual paperwork.

Automatically Reuse Knowledge

It's all fine and good to write down your solutions as you create them, but if support staff don't go looking for documented solutions when they encounter customer problems, there's no point in writing anything down in the first place. Fortunately, the same workflow tools and reminders that ensure your staff captures new solutions can also prompt them to ask Talla for help whenever a new issue or customer request comes in.

And since Talla helped write and organize all the data in your Knowledge Base, it can look for solutions within that knowledge base super-effectively, returning actual, plain-text excerpts and answers, rather than a list of links to keyword-matched PDFs and Word documents. Known solutions get used when they are served up on a silver platter for your support team, precisely when they need it.

Automatically Improve Knowledge

Over time, even the most comprehensive Knowledge Base falls out of date. But the same tools that help your support staff populate your Knowledge Base can prompt and guide them in updating your documentation to ensure it's accurate and complete. If, for example, a Knowledge Base article on product pricing gets an update, Talla can automatically flag every related pricing document for review and update. If a new product version is released, Talla can ask for the same updates to every document related to that product line, and so on.

Talla can even note who the likely subject matter expert is for a documentation update, so no one has to guess the right Product Manager or Sales Director to get the right information.

Empowering Knowledge-Centered Support with Talla

Talla has developed an automated Knowledge Base and AI support assistant that provides the customer support automation you need to make Knowledge-Centered Support an achievable process in your organization.

Do you want to automatically capture, structure, reuse and improve the information that makes customer support easy? Contact Talla today.

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