Crowdsourcing for Customer Support Part 2 – Leverage the Existing Knowledge Within Your Organization

Growing Demand leads to a New Model of Customer Support Crowdsourcing Part 2:  Leverage the Existing Knowledge Within Your Organization

As your company experiences rapid growth you’ll see Customer Support start to stretch its already thin resources to meet the growing demand.  The traditional Customer Support one-to-many model (one support person supporting many customers via phone, chat, and email) is clearly not scalable in today’s environment—especially with the challenges of completely different working paradigms (onsite, hybrid, remote) compared to just a few years ago.

An alternate approach is the many-to-many relationship, or crowdsourcing, which involves:

  • A much larger number of technical support representatives provides support to an even larger audience
  • Replacing phone and email channels with more efficient self-service channels to enable crowdsourcing

We had discussed the benefits of crowdsourcing in Crowdsourcing for Customer Support: A New Way to Meet the Growing Demand, with an example of how the community can be used to help handle this growth. Crowdsourcing was also covered in the webinar Customer Service: Do Phone and Email Channels belong in the Dumpster?

Reducing Support Times and Expense with Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is powerful because you leverage the existing knowledge within your organization. It’s also simple because you use the basic 80-20 Pareto Principle, where 80 percent of your customer service effort comes from 20 percent of your customers. Using the 80/20 principle, you build a Knowledge Base containing responses that address the vast majority of potential tickets to reduce customer wait times, in-house support times, and expense.

First, Let’s Define What is Meant by Knowledge

There are two types of Knowledge, Traditional and Real, and the danger is not to lump them together into one bucket:

1. Traditional Knowledge

Traditional Knowledge is:

  • Created typically by a few specialists within the organization
  • Resides in User Guides, FAQs, an app’s Help system, web sites, online libraries, etc.
  • Used by Customer Support Agents, Customers, and Partners
  • Time consuming because users usually spend a fair amount of time wading through large amounts of documentation to find the answer they are looking for

Traditional Knowledge is imported into the KB when rolling out a Knowledge Base solution (often as part of a larger Customer Service Management solution).

2. The Real Knowledge

Real Knowledge is what resides in support tickets that have already been addressed and stay in people’s heads over time. Real Knowledge is significantly more valuable since it succinctly answers specific questions asked by customers. Time spent to get to these responses is much less than when it is compared to browsing through larger traditional knowledge sources.

How to Tap Into a More Worthwhile Knowledge Source

Relying on a few experts at your company to create documents associated with Traditional Knowledge continues to be a necessity. However, the key is to get your Customer Support Agents involved with the creation and maintenance of the knowledge articles, by:

  1. Not Importing Legacy Data
    Unless there is a significant value-add to your legacy data, avoid clutter and start off with a clean slate.
  2. Refer to KB Articles Often
    Support Agents should solve every support case by referring to a KB article as much as possible. The Support Agent can search for an article that helps answer the customer’s specific question and then appends it to the Case.
  3. Create KB Articles to Fill in Gaps
    If a search does not return any useful results, the Support Agent should write an article upon closing out the Case to help future queries.
  4. Maintain KB Articles
    With the speed increasing of constant updates/upgrades, Support Agents should regularly update KB articles with needed content corrections.

Shangri-La is here (brought to you by Milestone and Crowdsourcing)

In just a few short months, your Knowledge Base will contain invaluable information that has been validated by Agents for the benefit of many more Agents, customers, and partners, i.e., the crowdsourcing approach. With such a substantial KB, your Support Agents can quickly respond to the 80% repeating issues, while freeing up their time to focus on the 20% that need more research and attention.

Will I Need to Implement an Approval Workflow?

An approval workflow for an agent-facing Knowledge Base is not needed in order to encourage Agents to continue to create more articles. The approval workflow is recommended only when publishing it to an external audience, so articles are reviewed by the appropriate Subject Matter Experts for language and technical accuracy.

How do I Start?

Simply rolling out a Knowledge Management solution and expecting it to work by importing legacy data isn’t sufficient. Crowdsourcing has been recommended by The KCS Academy which puts together the Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) methodology (best practices on rolling out a Knowledge Management application).

Milestone provides crowdsourcing-process guidance when implementing ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management application which includes the Knowledge Base.

Our Solutions Architects are always looking for ways to help you work better with ServiceNow. To find out more,

Connect with the Milestone team at


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