Online help tools allow organizations to create different forms of documentation such as manuals, guides, and FAQs. As companies continue to grow they encounter an increasing influx of information and confront the risk of not being able to capitalize it due to its complexity and nature. In this sense, online help tools help categorize information and provide content structure allowing employees to create and find pertinent information dynamically. Although the use of online help tools is widespread there are many ways of improving their potential to the extent of supporting company goals and strategy. Below are seven methods which will help improve online help tool performance:
The task of online help tools has been restricted to the creation of various forms of documentation (eBooks, manuals, user guides, FAQs). Recent changes in technology allow online help tools to centralize access to information meaning that in time you can create authentic knowledge bases. Considering the broad spectrum of information resources and the rise of borderless teams, a centralized knowledge base will become the most important resource for employees in order to carry out their tasks.
Allowing teams to come together in order to co-create content (in real time) is one of the new features available in online help tools such as ProProfs Knowledgebase. In this sense, subject matter experts across various regions and business units have the power to edit and create content on demand. Imagine working on a design project and being able to instantly incorporate best practices and lessons learned. In this sense, online help tools become an extension of the physical work stations giving employees the opportunity to collaborate digitally and share knowledge.
At the outset of projects or when solving complex problems, there may be a need to register experiences and best practices so that they won’t be lost in time. Keeping teams informed with this information does not only reduce the error rate, but helps promote learning and productivity. Focusing online help tools and customer support software solutions as a form of lesson learned capture can help teams to rapidly come together in order to discuss what went wrong or right, how the problem was tackled and any recommendations for future reuse.
As information continues to grow there is an ongoing concern regarding content accuracy and validity. What happens to all the manuals and user guides you’ve created? How can you know if practices have been modified or new technology replaces old ones so the content is not outdated? Questions like this need to be tackled when approaching online help tools as some of the new collaborative functions allow employees to place comments and complement the information by being able to edit it directly from the software. This is a form of “crowd sourcing” at work where employees are also responsible for maintaining content relevance. This will help organizations reduce errors and promote best practices use.
Keeping track of content usage is a form of measuring impact and ROI. It doesn’t take a detective like work to find what content is being used since tools such as Google Analytics can also be integrated with online help tools in order to measure content usage. This is a primary concern for CEOs who choose to invest time and money implement this type of tools. However, when considering the amount of time being saved by avoiding reinventing the wheel moments and promoting content reuse the benefits largely outweigh the initial implementation efforts.
Take for example a situation where a field specialist needs to design a project model. Why start from scratch when he can access similar models? Furthermore, if he finds better design proposals he can also add that information to the original content.
Online help tools are commonplace in the help desk industry where FAQ guides and manuals are developed as a form of providing users with step by step guides to solve certain problems and prevent them from happening again. However, as access is centralized, clients can also access this information directly in real-time so that before a ticket is created, a consultation process can help determine the root cause and provide answers. This is a form of self service which helps reduce the amount of time it takes an analyst to serve clients and work on common or ordinary problems.
The need for information can be crucial at many steps but we can’t expect people to immediately join the cause simply because the technology is available. Culture must be strengthened and communication will play a crucial role in this. Having the technology at hand and showcasing its benefits and friendly user-interface is a good way to start getting people involved. Developing a knowledge driven culture should be at the heart of any type of initiative of this sort aligned to the company’s vision and primary objectives. Without a proper culture technology will remain a Stonehenge, basically sitting there while waiting for people to come to it.
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