KCS in Action: Sustaining Content Health & Customer Success with Content Strategy

Padma Prasad, Senior Manager, Digital Support Operations– Evolve Loop Programs Team, shared how NetApp handles the KCS Evolve Loop.  She shared so many best practices in this webinar, as well as a few lessons learned.  I will share just a few of the highlights below.

When starting a KCS journey, one of the first tasks is determining what to do with the legacy knowledge.  NetApp chose to manually migrate only their high-demand articles.  This migration included formatting the articles into the new templates and aligning them to their new Content Standard.  Padma shared that they manually migrated 20% of their legacy content.  The remaining 80% was still accessible by their knowledge workers, but no longer viewable by their customers.  They proactively defined a process to quickly add any additional legacy content if the need appeared. Padma shared that they were initially worried that 20 percent was not enough, but in retrospect, they could have migrated much less.

Quickly handling customer feedback on articles is a key part of any Evolve Loop.  NetApp has embodied the KCS Core Concept of Collective Ownership of the knowledge base by modifying its feedback routing process.  Rather than route feedback to a single owner for action, NetApp routes feedback to a much larger group.  Anyone in that larger group, including the original knowledge author, can take action on that feedback.  This practice has greatly improved the time to process feedback.  As customers are seeing that their feedback is being heard by NetApp and being processed so quickly, they now are providing more feedback–double the previous amount they were receiving!

Padma also shared how they have implemented Reuse is Review.  In addition to knowledge workers improving knowledge in the Solve Loop as they reuse articles, she has a team of editors that evaluates highly used content in the Evolve Loop.  Padma was quick to stress that the editors have no role in the Solve Loop; publishers have the autonomy to quickly publish to the knowledge base, while editors review highly used articles for improvement opportunities.  These improvements often consist of adding screen captures and embedded videos to improve the usability of the articles.  

Recording

This KCS in Action webinar was packed with a wealth of information and we had great questions and answers in the chat and Q&A at the end. We encourage you to access a PDF of the slides, or view the recording and chat highlights below.

Chat Highlights

Resources Shared

Extra Details

Program Design and Size

  • Team size: Evolve Loop team is 12 including Padma, 7 full time KDEs, ~35 part time KDEs. I think we have 500 publishers and around 100 candidates and another 300 readers. Most of our L2 org are publishers unless they are new and have 90 days to become publishers. We even have some sales/field teams who work on KBs!
  • Article structure: we have 3 types of Solve Loop articles. 8 types of Evolve Loop articles. Evolve Loop articles have several formats: 1) the three Solution/How-To/Question Solve Loop templates with extra info, 2) hub articles (called Resolution Guides), 3) troubleshooting/ interactive/etc. workflows, 4) specific error message KBs
  • KB vs. chatbot channels: all content is KB. all other support channels use the KB then (documentations is the second big one). The script is maintained in the bot but the “solution” is stored and presented from the KB.
  • Migrated content usage: Don’t have exact numbers but it was closer to zero than not. Today I would be much more strict on migrating less articles and have it be driven by demand. As one of the SMEs involved in the migration, we do now think we added too much to the list to migrate.  99% of what I migrated has been archived now.  There was a KCS learning curve we had to make as individuals.

Feedback

  • Internal feedback: We do separate customer and internal feedback on the dashboard. Internal feedback can be from anyone within the company that cannot fix it himself, due to license or no knowledge. Internal feedback for “high value” articles is often acted on by the KDEs (everything that is Evolve Loop)
  • Customer feedback: external customer feedback is responded to and addressed within the same day. KDEs take the lead on this. When external feedback is resolved, are customers informed about it. Even if we are not able to resolve a problem completely, they are informed as such. We also often interact with customers on their feedback to see if we addressed it to their expectations.
  • Feedback handling: We hired several full time KDEs for one which has helped responding to feedback. When feedback comes from a customer it goes directly to the KDEs, to the group of KDEs of that domain. When it’s internal it’s slower, we let publishers engage and if needed a KDE takes the lead later on. We can loop in management on those requests as well to handle the follow through. Generally the team is eager to fix the mistakes fairly fast.

Solve Loop and Coaching

  • Content accuracy and audits: We do a Content Standard Checklist audit for content quality. We maintain a sample of the quarterly CSC/PAR audits as a KCS Council and do our own calibration. We sample approx 30% of KBs created.
  • Coaches: coaches are senior support engineers who have expertise on products as well. Each Coach has a few engineers assigned.
  • Article quality and automation: No automation on article quality.
  • Coach guidelines is in case of a miss to coach the case taker and follow-up to make sure the job is done, then we can do sample second audit to make sure coaches had worked this to completion
  • Article updates and accuracy: Our engineers must earn their publisher license. Ramp up typically takes 6-9 months. They are coached by another engineer in the same support specialization.  This way we ensure the engineer is fluent with PAR and content standard best practices which ultimately results in high quality articles and updates.  The technical accuracy of the content itself is reviewed by the coach after the article is first published.  Updates on the current published version of the article are reviewed whenever another publisher reuses that content. Each reuse is a review.  If something isn’t right, the publisher can fix it or flag it for review.

Evolve Loop and KDEs

  • PAR audits: There are assigned coaches assigned to engineers who perform PAR audits for them and coach them accordingly.
  • Content archiving and Google: archived articles become internal and subsequently off Google. We use Google analytics to remove from Google so the impact is minimal. Plus most content that is archived is already outdated or irrelevant, so they are not featuring on google anyways. Archiving is either on demand (by review during a case work or feedback) or automatically based on views, citations and so on)
  • Hub Articles: KDEs review and create them based on views and relevance. The linked articles are all Solve Loop articles. Regarding Hub/Evolve articles linking, we don’t allow links as resolved but only helpful. It is required if resolution is seen to make/reuse a Solve Loop article.
  • Digital Support Contact Ratio: We count the number of incoming sessions across all NetApp sites to the number of cases created. (cases vs sessions)
  • KDE measures: KDEs present outcomes.
  • Management approval for KDE resources: Management has been a top down support. Our VP is a big promoter and that has helped, as having the management buy-in at all levels has really helped. By having a lower cost-per-answer, we have increased the budget to hire full time KDEs because customers are loving our digital support.
  • Content gaps: Demand drives it. Failed search queries are considered as content gaps. We have “content gaps” for customer searches, articles, and so on. Some are addressed on demand by the cases handling. Some, especially in search, are addressed and reviewed by KDEs. I’ve also filed documentation enhancement requests several times when I see content gaps that don’t fit cleanly to just a KB.

Compliments from Attendees

  • Thank you Padma & Team – this was an excellent webinar!
  • Great presentation Padma and team, and congratulations on the recognition for your program this year!
  • Great job Padma and team – very impressive program!
  • Yes, excellent presentation
  • Thanks so much. Very useful and amazing presentation, great job.
  • Amazing presentation – very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your KCS journey!!
  • Great presentation! Thank you!
  • Incredible session. Thank you Padma and team !!!
  • NetApp swarmed the KCS in Action webinar 🙂
  • Great session 🙂
  • Well done NetApp! Thanks
  • Wonderful job, team!

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