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From Crowdsourcing to Knowledge Management


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Smart companies are fast discovering that the quickest path to a robust support knowledge base is to bring the crowd—social customers and their conversations—into the fold. They’re creating and promoting online support communities, solving more problems faster, and enjoying stunning returns.

Knowledge management is among the most valuable things the crowd can do—and it does it very, very well. Find out how top brands like HP and Lenovo are saving tens of millions by tapping the crowd for product knowledge and solutions—and scaling their support functions by many fold in the process.

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From Crowdsourcing to Knowledge Management

  1. 1. from crowdsourcing toknowledge management
  2. 2. share this whitepapercontents 1 crowdsourcing—what is it? 2 the impact of crowdsourcing 3 where do online communities come in? 4 knowledge management in a nutshell 5 crowdsourcing knowledge management 7 conclusion subscribe to request a demo SocialMatterswe help companies unlock the passion of their customers.The Lithium Social Customer Suite allows brands to build vibrant customer communities that: reduce service costs with grow brand advocay with drive sales with innovate faster with social support social marketing social commerce social | © 2012 Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. share this whitepapercrowdsourcing—what is it? How do companies like Autodesk save millions annually by Crowdsourcing is a business revolution so powerful it’s tapping their customers for ideas and solutions? How do changing everything about the way we do business. It turns companies like giffgaff shake up the UK telecom market with out that the power of a distributed network (again, your social a handful of employees? customers) is so immense, its capability to produce value literally dwarfs anything we could possibly do through our By tapping the power of the crowd. Smart companies internal teams. Crowdsourcing is leveraging the power of the like Autodesk, giffgaff and many others use social software many to achieve what was once relegated to a few specialists. to create virtual crowds around shared product interests It’s a new and hugely efficient mechanism for matching talent and brand passion. They build online communities of and knowledge with those who need it—a novel opportunity passionate social customers and tap them for service, for businesses to realize off-the-chart scale. Using the knowledge and ideas. power of the crowd, smart businesses grow their service and The Internet distributes knowledge faster and more widely support teams exponentially, deepen their knowledge bases than anything we’ve seen. The way it works shows us that by many-fold, and rapidly accelerate innovation by looking at humans don’t always behave in predictable self-interested thousands of ideas instead of several. patterns. It throws our deeply social nature into bold relief and reveals our strong desire to collaborate. The crowd is quick to contribute, jumps at opportunities to cultivate talent the spectacular scale and loves passing knowledge on to others. The crowd has of crowdsourcing way more than just wisdom. It has talent, creativity, and it’s HP Customer Experts handle amazingly productive. 20% of customer care across 200 countries and 7 languages. Crowdsourcing is when a company takes a job that was once performed by employees and outsources it to the crowd. It’s 30 Lenovo Superfans have letting a self-organized community of amateurs (your social created 44% of Accepted Solutions. customers) design new products, support other customers, solve problems and find new ways to share their passion for The 02 community generated the things they use every day—your products. 900 customer ideas in 6 months. 1
  4. 4. share this whitepaperthe impact ofcrowdsourcing The impact of crowdsourcing (as with all transformative When conditions are right, the crowd will almost always out innovations) is not the new technology it brings, but the perform any number of employees. Because the right person human behavior it propagates. With so many new chances to for the job is not always who we expect, labor is often better excel at more than one creative endeavor, we’re turning into organized through community than organizational hierarchy. veritable fountainheads of knowledge and experience. The Further, peer evaluation almost always surfaces the best Internet makes it easy to publish. Social technologies make ideas the fastest, and peer evaluation is also best facilitated it easy to share. The resulting explosion of user-generated- through community. content (UCG)—real , authentic voices of shared experience— Crowdsourcing gives us access to a far greater range of talent has indelibly changed our economy. and creativity than could possibly exist in our own workforce. Because crowdsourcing is triggering a tectonic shift in And it more than just surfaces talent, it cultivates and the way we organize work, apply talent, conduct research, nurtures talent, enriching everyone’s experience. and make and market our products, it’s putting enormous pressure on business to make dramatic changes. It’s forcing us to approach our customers as potential partners—a cultural leap many organizations are proving ill-equipped to take. But from the customer point of view, it’s an opportunity for a much more interesting and exciting relationship with the brands they love. They want to participate more meaningfully in the process of product design and creation, more meaningfully in their customer experiences. Now that they can, there’s no going back. 2
  5. 5. share this whitepaperwhere do onlinecommunitiescome in? Communities are groups in the crowd who come together But it’s important to remember that approaching an online around ideas. They’re collections of like-minded enthusiasts, community as a form of cheap labor can often backfire. places where amateurs self-organize around shared In order to reap the full benefits of an online customer interests. Today it’s very easy for communities to live online community, companies must both demonstrate a deep where they can reach thousands if not millions of people. commitment and let the community feel a sense of ownership But amazing reach is just one important quality of online over its own creations. Today’s bottom line is that people communities. More valuable is their authenticity, spirit and don’t want to be passive consumers. The more opportunity passion—something no business can fabricate. they have to participate in the design of their customer experiences—from shopping to product use to service—the And online communities are phenomenally productive. more spirit and passion they invest, and the more vibrant and When businesses develop online communities as a context useful their communities become. for work to take place, amazing things happen. Customers engage each other in meaningful conversation, they get their questions answered and problems solved, they share and iterate on ideas for better products. What once took a bureaucratic hierarchy, can now be done with an active, vibrant online community. 3
  6. 6. share this whitepaperknowledgemanagement ina nutshell Knowledge Bases (KBs) for technical support and call centers first emerged in the 1990s in order to increase call center agent productivity. Traditionally, the process involved assigning employees with the task of compiling incoming cases to the call center, organizing them, creating content around the issues they raise, and then publishing that content Knowledge management is the process of back to the agents. codifying support cases—putting them into a digestible, widely consumable format. When it comes to customer care, those who have invested in codifying their support cases—made the knowledge they contain more digestible and findable—have realized business impact of knowledge management tremendous bottom-line gains. Operationally, the business handles more incidents over time, reduces issue reopen ↑ increased incidents handled/time and /channel rates, invests less in training and realizes significant ↑ increased first contact resolution rates decreases in cost per interaction. From a market perspective, ↓ decreased issue reopen rates their customers experience reduced hold times, faster resolution times and report higher satisfaction rates. ↓ decreased training days per year ↓ decreased cost per interaction Although the traditional process of knowledge management does have measurable benefits, by today’s standards, it’s ↓ decreased assisted service deflection rate cumbersome, expensive and slow. By the time codified ↑ increased self-service success rate knowledge is back in the hands of the agents, the opportunity to use it for case resolution could well be gone. And as the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, the time-value customer experience impact of knowledge management of knowledge becomes even more significant. The quicker we fold real-world use-case feedback into our business, the ↓ reduced hold time more competitive advantage we’ll have. ↓ reduced abandonment rate ↑ increased satisfaction with incident ↑ increased satisfaction with overall support ↓ decreased time to resolution ↑ better customer experiences 4
  7. 7. share this whitepapercrowdsourcingknowledgemanagement The Crowd Knows Best Social Puts the Crowd on Steriods Knowledge creation, cataloging and curation are among the Social applications—customer forums, blogs, groups, Q&As— most valuable things the crowd can do—and it does them have now fully revolutionized the process of knowledge very, very well. Consider Wikipedia: 4.5 million articles to date management. No longer do we have to gather support cases, and still growing. Because the crowd is fast, efficient and organize them, create content around them and publish that effective, it makes information (knowledge) more valuable. content. With the right technology, our social customers can do it for us. Not only is the crowd a perfect resource for creating support knowledge around our products, they provide a unique The proliferation of social platforms and technologies have vantage point we can’t create from inside the business. There put an enormous amount of crowdsourced knowledge across are entire classes of problems that only customers can the social web. Smart companies are fast discovering that the answer. They live in interconnected world, hooking products quickest path to a robust support knowledge base is to bring together from multiple vendors and using them under social customers and their conversations into the fold. They complex scenarios we couldn’t possibly have imagined before create and promote online support communities, incentive product release. They are out there unraveling problems and reward customer contributions, make more information and finding new solutions—creating new knowledge—every available to more people, solve more problems faster and day. Our customers are more knowledgeable about our enjoy stunning returns. products that we can ever be. And because knowledge they create is more current, it tends to be more accurate. When our customers get their problems solved the first time with accurate information, they are more satisfied. case in point: HP 500 million community posts have $ $ $solved 50% of issues $ $ $ $ across 40 million customers $ $ $ $ $ $ saving HP $50 million $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ in support costs since 2009. $ $ $ $ $ 5 $ $ $
  8. 8. share this whitepaperSmart companies are corralling social customer By letting their social customers drive as much of theconversations from across the web and steering them onto knowledge management process as they can from end-to-their own domain where they can: end—letting their social customer identify what’s important for others to know and decide what to teach—forward1. capture and manage content. thinking companies are bringing social customers into theMore accurately, capture and let their customers manage fold and letting them assume a new role in the company.content. Businesses are finding that the more control theygive up over their support knowledge, the better. Using acombination of system intelligence (recognizing contentvalue by the number of views it gets, how often it comes upin searches) with customer intelligence (kudos, ratings andreviews, knowledge base nominations), smart business arebuilding both a bullet train to big savings and a more engagedand committed audience. case in point: Lenovo2. provide more engaging social customer experiences. 1200 community producedYour customers are already out there talking about their knowledge articles provide 44%experiences with your products—without prompting, of customer support.without feedback, without reward. Incentivizing the processof knowledge management—rewarding folks for contentcreation and curation—gets more people involved and getsthem to step up their level of contribution. In an owned onlinecommunity, using the principles of gamification, talent isrecognized and rewarded with greater status and privilege.Customers have more engaging social customer experiencesand they contribute even more. 6
  9. 9. share this whitepaperconclusion Moving forward, we can expect knowledge management The phenomenon of crowdsourcing teaches us that processes to become even more collaborative. Community humans have enormous hidden talents and a deep desire to members will weigh in on the taxonomy and evolve the entire collaborate. When they come together around their shared community experience. We can expect social technologies passions, they do amazing things. All a business need do, to get smarter and better, giving more customers access to is create a supportive, motivating environment (an online more dynamic content in real-time. We can expect content support community), encourage its customers to contribute, generation to become more specialized as communities and then tap the enormous content they produce for service, surface folks good at writing, others who are great at tagging, knowledge and ideas. When they do, they come away with 2 still others who are a wizard at making good content more significant benefits: scaled service at low cost, and a deeply searchable. All this will serve to make knowledge bases both engaged audience. more useful and easier to use. Lithium social software helps the world’s most iconic brands to build brand nations—vibrant online communities of passionate social customers. Lithium helps top brands such as AT&T, Sephora, Univision, and PayPal build active online communities that turn customer passion into social media marketing ROI. For more information on how to create lasting competitive advantage with the social customer experience, visit, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our own brand nation – the Lithosphere. | © 2012 Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved 7