When the team behind the internet's favorite sheets had to onboard remote hires fast during their biggest sales rush of all time, they realized something had to be improved: their access to internal company knowledge. We sat down with Brooklinen's Knowledge & Training Manager, Caroline Svenson, who shares more about their journey to wrinkle-free knowledge management while navigating COVID-19.
Tell us more about what Brooklinen does and how your team is set up.
Caroline: Brooklinen is an online based home comfort brand. Our CX team is full of comfort experts, but we're also shipping, processing, payment, promotion, fulfillment and deescalation experts, basically everything that has to do with our customers. Our company as a whole has about 80 people. We have an in-house CX team of 10 people, and then two remote BPOs that we brought on within the last few months, one US-based and one in the Philippines.
Starting on the journey to Knowledge Management
Which teams at Brooklinen use Guru?
Caroline: Our Guru users right now are mostly from the CX team, but in order to empower the CX team with the knowledge they need, we work with operations, product and product development, marketing, and any other team that would have information customer-facing associates need to know. Our people ops team also use it for general employee information.
When did Brooklinen’s journey with knowledge management start?
Caroline: Summer 2019 was when our team first brought on Guru. We began to add Cards in Guru and organize our knowledge, but stayed focused on getting our team through the holiday season.
Once the season was over and we made it to January, we spent some time recovering and made the decision to lean down our team, bring all CX back in house, and focus on building a stronger foundation for the next holiday season. We officially ended our relationship with our original BPO the first week of March. Little did we know, one week later, our world was about to get flipped upside down. COVID-19 hit the second week of March, and our sales and support needs began to skyrocket.
COVID-19 and shifting support gears
Wow, so your team goes lean, and then COVID-19 hits. What specific challenges did you come across within the past few months?
Caroline: The incredible and unexpected sales increase was awesome for the company, but forced us to bring on a remote BPO team ASAP, which was extremely challenging to navigate.
We quickly turned to Guru, leaning more heavily on the platform to be our central source of knowledge. It didn’t take our team long to realize that we were going to need more than one team member (me) adding content into Guru.
"We needed to rapidly organize our knowledge and get information out of our heads and into Guru."
How did you approach changing your Guru instance to serve your team’s growing needs?
Caroline: We did a complete overhaul of the information we had in Guru. What we had in Guru already was great for people that had background knowledge of how our CX team worked — but we needed baseline information to successfully onboard new hires. We created more board groups and boards to cover the specifics that our BPOs needed. To get this content in place, we…
🙋🏻♀️Assigned specific subject matter experts, making sure folks were specialized to tackle all of the cards needed in one area.
🏃🏽♂️Held content sprints, where all subject matter experts jumped on a Zoom together for an hour to focus on creating content.
🗳Maintained a Guru request Slack channel, and organized requests in a joint spreadsheet to split up production.
The more progress we made together, the more subject matter experts were motivated by the value Guru brought to the organization and the amount of time they could save answering repeat questions.
Guru's longterm impact
Did Guru bring value to your team in any unexpected ways?
Caroline: Oh yes. COVID-19 and the uprising of other events challenging our country required our team members to speak about our company’s proactive approach very specifically. Our PR team relied on Guru to provide the team with up-to-date statements and approved language for email communication. That was an unexpected challenge that Guru helped us navigate in 2020.
Overall, what would you describe the impact Guru has had on your organization?
Caroline: With a remote team sitting all over the world, Guru has become one of the most important tools we have.
"Guru has helped us onboard new hires in one of the craziest times our company has ever experienced."
We’ve become a stronger team with more streamlined processes, and are in a better position to tackle whatever comes our way next!
Personally, what has been the impact Guru has had on your role?
Guru has completely changed my role at Brooklinen and has started to pave a career path for me. I started as a CX Associate, focused on responding to emails. Taking over Guru has pushed me into a field that I can see myself growing in. As the knowledge management and training lead now, I’ll be continuing to improve the way we use Guru, grow our content, but most importantly, we’re building out a QA system using MaestroQA and a learning management system using Lessonly. Both of these will supplement Guru to help keep our remote team on the same page with our in-house team.
To wrap up our conversation, what advice would you give to other companies, specifically direct-to-consumer companies, heading into their own busy seasons?
Caroline: If I could have given myself advice several months ago heading into this craziness, I would have said,
"When it comes to organizing your company’s knowledge, the best time to start is yesterday. And the next best time to start is right now."
When I first started working in Guru, I was hesitant to go all in. I questioned if I could lead the process as my role transitioned, questioned if others would be able to keep up with the content and react positively to new workflows, but I also learned: don’t be afraid to change what’s not working. Find your supporters so you don’t have to do it alone, and get your knowledge in a better place than where it is now. It’s worth it!