19 September 2017

How TOPdesk's documentation strategy changes

resources_outsourcing-it-services_header.jpgAt TOPdesk, our goal is to make our software so easy to use that no manual or explanation is needed. Often we succeed, and for when we don't, we have documentation and a great support department. In recent years, we started experimenting with Knowledge Centered Support (KCS)*. We believe this holds the future of our documentation strategy. In this blog I will explain what KCS is, the reasons behind our strategy, the ideal picture we have for documentation, the route we plan to take to get there, and how this affects you.

The essence of the KCS methodology is that support tickets are the trigger for writing knowledge items and/or updating existing knowledge. When you record and publish this knowledge in your Self-Service Portal, you prevent future calls. Your operators use these knowledge items  to resolve similar calls by simply applying existing knowledge to new tickets. Want to know more about this methodology? You can find a step by step guide in this blogpost.

The KCS methodology has helped our support department reduce the duration of calls, reduce escalations and helps getting new employees up to speed faster. Our success with the methodology made us reconsider the place of 'traditional' manuals on the Help & Support (H&S) site. All our knowledge items are in one portal and they are created based on demand. The questions that come up most often trigger knowledge items to be written and updated. When we have the questions determine what knowledge is maintained, it allows our teams to work on what we know is in demand. You get the content you really need, which is a lot harder to do with the Help & Support (H&S) site.

The KCS methodology, combined with the fact that the architecture of the Help & Support site was outdated, made us decide that the future for our documentation is in a solution that is demand-driven, can be updated real-time and is integrated in our extranet. That's the goal we have in mind. The route to get there will be found as we go, but the first steps have already been taken. To name a few examples; we've changed TOPdesk to make it easier to use and re-use knowledge items. For new customers, we are already working on an implementation wizard that guides them through the steps needed to set up TOPdesk.

For customers that are already up and running, we are investigating if it's possible to relate (existing) knowledge items from our extranet to the corresponding parts of the TOPdesk interface. Additionally, a project is underway to investigate the use of e-learning to help operators get started quickly. Both projects are in early stages, so we can't promise they will all work out. However, we hope it gives you some insight in the proposed future diection; finding knowledge in the easiest way possible.

These changes have implications for you as a customer. We now encourage you to first check the extranet for answers to all your questions. Over time we will remove/replace the links to the H&S site from the software. The popular content from H&S will be migrated to the extranet (or a worthy addition to it). The less popular content will be left behind, which gives us breathing room to improve the popular content even further. Ultimately the H&S will be declared end of life and at some point, cease to exist. (The site will likely still be accessible for a few years, but not updated anymore.)

We hope the above offers some insight in the reasoning behind certain changes you will see happening, and we believe it will help you to use TOPdesk in the best way possible. As always, we're open to feedback, so please let us know if you have thoughts on this subject!


* Knowledge Centered Service is a methodology developed by the Consortium for Service Innovation. Everything in this article is an interpretation of this methodology and in no way suggests the correct one. All rights and interpretations belong to the Consortium for Service Innovation and can be found on www.serviceinnovation.org