Knowledge management challenges in customer support: a case study

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International Conference on Information, Process, and Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management Challenges in Customer Support: A Case Study
Marko Jäntti University of Kuopio Department of Computer Science P.O.B 1627 70211 Kuopio, Finland marko.jantti@uku.fi Kirsi Tanskanen, Jukka Kaukola TietoEnator Forest&Energy Oy Energy/Utility Partner P.O.B 1199 70211 Kuopio, Finlandfirstname.lastname@tietoenator.com

Abstract
Knowledge management plays an important role in customer support processes such as incident management and problem management. Knowledge-oriented approach on customer support provides an IT organisation with several benefits including faster incident resolution times and better identification of systematic incidents. Unfortunately, little attention has focused on examiningchallenges in customer support from the knowledge management perspective. In this study, the research question is: what kind of knowledge management challenges can arise in customer support. A case study method was used as a research method. Several knowledge management-related challenges were found, such as challenges in documenting incident resolutions and classifying incidents, a lack ofpublic knowledge base and the missing knowledge flow for urgent incidents.

share and use [1]. Hong and Ståhle have identified four perspectives of knowledge management [11]: The philosophical and psychological perspective (what is knowledge, where does it come from), the organisational and sociological perspective (how to create and master knowledge), the economic and business perspective (how toextract value from knowledge) and the technological perspective (how to provide efficient and effective tools for managing knowledge). Both the organizational/sociological and the technological perspective seem to be useful for our purposes. Additionally, there are frameworks that are focused on data mining, such as Crisp Data Mining Guide by Chapman et al. [2]. However, this study does not deal withdata mining issues. There are some attempts that have examined knowledge management in customer support service, for example, how to build a knowledge management-centric help desk [3, 9], how to start with an IT help desk [7], and what are the requirements for a multi-perspective knowledge-based system for customer service management [3]. Sawy and Bowles [20] have dealt with a customer supportknowledge base that is dynamically updated based on adaptive learning through customer interactions. Many knowledge base projects have started from the university environment. Davis [5] has described a deployment process of a knowledge base solution in Harward University. Jackson et al. [12] have presented the challenges of a knowledge base implementation project in the University of MichiganInformation Technology Division. Similarly, Graham and Hart [10] have reported on the successes and failures of a knowledge base project in the University of Pittsburgh. Knowledge-oriented IT service management is an important research topic. First, it helps IT organizations to improve customer satisfaction on support services (customers get enough information on the incident resolution process suchas information when the incident status is changed) and to decrease costs of handling incidents (customers are able to search incident and problem resolutions from a knowledge base that is open 24 hours which decreases the
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1. Introduction
A large part of customer support engineers’ work is knowledge management between customers, service desk workers and other support team members. Thework includes creating and storing new knowledge (incident records) based on the information received from the customers and users, searching and using the solutions and workarounds from the existing knowledge repositories such as a knowledge base, and sharing resolutions, for example, as FAQ items or external knowledge base articles. European Committee for Standardization (CEN) defines knowledge...
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