In the early days of most startups, communication between team members and customers can usually be managed with an email inbox and a few spreadsheets. But as an organization grows, employee and customer numbers swell, making these techniques laughably insufficient. In a few short months, the quality of customer service and employee satisfaction can plummet if an organization doesn’t adapt its technology.
A knowledge sharing platform for startups can help ease growing pains in a few key ways:
- Customer support employees can post common questions they hear from customers, and subject matter experts can add a response, making it easier to provide fast service.
- As you develop research reports, marketing collateral, and other important documents, you can store them in one place. Stakeholders can search for and quickly access the information they need to do their jobs, rather than running around the office looking for someone who’s in-the-know.
- Team members can comment on, bookmark, and share content within the platform, adding a social element and keeping everyone aligned around the same goals.
So, how do you know if your growing startup needs knowledge sharing software to continue scaling efficiently?
Team Members Are Using Many Platforms to Store Content–and Having Trouble Finding What They Need
As a growing startup, you’re developing business processes from scratch, researching your target customers, and figuring out how to position your company in the market. And hopefully you’re documenting everything along the way. As Corey Brown points out in an article for software company Dozuki, “The biggest value of good documentation is standardizing things that already work, and sharing that information with other employees.”
Documentation can help your startup scale–but only if it’s easy for employees to find the information they need to succeed.
If you’re primarily relying on paper, email inboxes, messaging platforms, and spreadsheets to communicate and keep track of content and ongoing projects, information can become buried quickly.
A knowledge sharing platform for startups helps surface that content by keeping it in one place and making it searchable. Stakeholders can find what they need using a search bar and filters, reducing the time they spend looking for information and freeing up more time and resources for meaningful collaboration.
Employees Aren’t Aligned Around the Same Goals and Priorities
Aligning priorities can be a challenge for teams and individuals within an organization of any size, but it can be especially difficult for rapidly growing startups. As roles change and new hires join the company, top objectives can be obscured, and goals are changed to compensate. If you find that your teams are becoming siloed and that no one seems to understand how their role fits with the company’s major objectives, it’s time to do something.
Fortunately, keeping everyone aligned around the same goals doesn’t have to be a pipe dream for startups. Posting your mission statement, core company values, and quarterly or annual goals in your knowledge sharing platform will keep your team thinking about what your business stands for and what you’re trying to achieve.
You could also use your knowledge sharing platform to define the purpose of specific projects, or even to share examples of how specific employees have helped your startup live up to its vision. A knowledge sharing platform allows your startup to be more transparent and celebrate wins across the organization–and that’s something your employees can rally around.
Your Onboarding Process Consists of Handing Out a Laptop
As startups begin to grow, onboarding is often a low priority. The focus is on getting talented people in the door as quickly as possible and having them “dive right in.”
But if you don’t invest in onboarding, new employees will feel undervalued or confused about their role, and you risk losing those talented people before they’ve even had time to learn your office layout. “People who are this talented get calls from recruiters all the time,” HR professional Carly Guthrie points out in an interview with First Round Review. “If they suddenly realize they’re just a number or a cog in the machine to you now, they have other options.”
You can build a scalable onboarding process with a knowledge sharing platform for startups. The platform can house training series that will help bring employees up to speed in their first days and weeks. New hires can also use the platform to ask questions and get fast responses from their peers; these answers will continue to live on the platform so that future employees can benefit from them as well.
While your knowledge sharing platform shouldn’t replace face-to-face training with a manager, it can help streamline your onboarding process. By making onboarding documents accessible and easy to search for, you’ll arm new employees with the information they need to ramp up and start feeling like a valued team member.
Your Customer Service Team Has Been Struggling to Keep Up with Demand
The last thing any company wants is customer complaints. However, complaints are sometimes inevitable, especially when you’re working out the kinks in a new product or service. It’s important for your startup to respond to all customer feedback–and to pay attention to common threads. If you’re receiving a lot of negative feedback because of redundancy or miscommunication across your customer support team, you likely need a knowledge sharing platform.
One of the most frustrating experiences for customers is receiving conflicting information from multiple employees. And when your customer service reps can’t easily access the information they need to answer customer questions, it’s difficult to keep messaging consistent.
Within a knowledge sharing platform for startups, information is organized for simplified searching and quick access. Customers will view an organization as competent when the information they receive is consistent no matter who they speak to, and when their questions and concerns are addressed quickly.
Because knowledge sharing software compiles information in one convenient location, employees will be able to answer most customer questions themselves, without passing a customer to another department and employee. Knowledge sharing software makes for speedier resolution, fewer irritated customers, and increased customer retention.
Finding a Knowledge Sharing Platform to Scale with Your Startup
Whether your startup consists of you and your co-founder working out of your garage or a 50-person workforce in a hip warehouse office, you probably still have plans to grow. And to grow successfully, you need the right tools in place. A knowledge sharing platform will help you keep company information centralized so that everyone’s united around the same goals and able to deliver the best possible experience to your customers.