Once upon a time there was a support agent, who worked very hard to keep his customers happy. He answered all their questions as best he could, but he just couldn’t keep up with the demand. So he launched a self-service site. At first he was happy to have his customers ask their questions online, but they began to call in even more – “give us more online answers” they said. It was no different than before: he needed to keep up with demand!

As he was fishing through the Internet looking for ideas a fishbowl icon appeared onscreen. He couldn’t help but click on it, and up popped a magical fish. “How can I help you?” asked the fish in the bowl. “My customers need more information”, said the agent. “Go back to your website, the content will be there”, said the magical fish. And sure enough, all the content he’d ever need was there – accurate, up to date, and easy to read! ‘Now I’m set!’, thought the agent.

No sooner had he the thought than the phone was ringing off the hook. “We can’t find anything!”, the customers cried. Sure enough, there was now so much content, even though it was good nobody could figure out which to use when. The agent clicked again on the fishbowl. “How can I help you?” asked the fish. “My customers can’t FIND anything!” said the agent. “Go back to your website, the information is now properly structured for findability”. Sure enough, now there were consistent headers, sub-sections, metadata and keywords for all his information. “NOW we’re cooking” he thought.

But soon the calls came pouring in again: “We don’t know HOW to find the right information” the customers cried. Back to the icon he went to supplicate the fish – “go to your website, you now have the proper tools”. And now the agent had great web pages, search features, browse trees, troubleshooting scripts and all manner of interactive tools. “THIS is the best!” he thought. And for a while, it was. Slowly the calls began to rise again: “This content’s getting out of date!” “I have new questions I need answered!” “Can’t you put more info for MY products online?” With a sigh the agent clicked for the fish once more. “I can’t keep up – even with the best content, great structure and perfect tools!” “Go to your website, your reporting now shows you your latest issues, gaps and most important information to add”. “Thank you, oh wise fish!” said the agent.

FINALLY the agent had it all: the right information, proper structure to put it into context, powerful tools to deliver a great customer experience, and measures to make sure he was constantly in synch. How much wiser he felt than when he had only thought one or two little things would satisfy his customers! From then on he never forgot what the fish (and his customers) had taught him: knowledge management is a rose of many petals…