Freee accelerated team sharing and support
freee K.K. provides cloud accounting software and personnel management software, which is used by over 1 million businesses.
Currently, Scrapbox is used in multiple departments such as the advisor support department and the personnel software development department. This time, we interviewed Ken Inoue and Shingo Nakajima of the advisor support department.
Scrapbox was selected because it is a tool that everyone can add to and update
At the time of the interview, the personnel software development team (from left, Yamamoto, Matsuzaki) were present.
How did you get started with Scrapbox?
Inoue: I've been in charge of customer support together with Nakajima for many years, but when the number of people increased, I had to repeat myself about three times. It was a waste even when I created the typical knowledge structure many times. There were times when I was thinking about quitting knowledge sharing because I was frustrated many times.
However, since many new staff members are joining during the busy season like the final tax filing period, it is still impossible to carry out operations without a knowledge-sharing system. Therefore, we launched a project to consider a mechanism for sharing knowledge.
When I was concerned about what kind of tool to use, I heard that the personnel development team was doing knowledge sharing well, I decided to take a chance with Scrapbox.
Inside the support team, there is a group for end-users and a group for professionals such as certified public accountants and tax accounts, and both sides have started to use it. Nakajima is the main person in charge.
Is there any special systemic benefit of Scrapbox?
Nakajima: When I was using other tools in my past efforts, I was able to describe things too freely. The appearance and method of description fell apart, and there was a problem that its use became disorganized. On the other hand, Scrapbox has a unified design and minimum restrictions. When collecting a lot of information, I thought that it would not be organized to a certain extent by various people.
Inoue: At first I spent a lot of time deciding the rules and concepts for updating Scrapbox so that the contents wouldn't become scattered.
Nakajima: In that context, I was particular about the concept "anyone can use it, and everyone can update it." I was working on knowledge sharing when I was on the support team for end users, but I needed special skills to use the tools we had at the time. When I moved to the professional team, there was no one who could take over the operation of the tool, so it wasn't updated.
In the case of Scrapbox, it seems that anyone can use it without the need for advanced literacy, so that's why I decided to go with it.
Accumulation and reference of contents proceeds with simple rules
Since Scrapbox allows anyone to update, sometimes people are worried that others may change what they wrote. Was that a concern?
Inoue: We use it for more than 100 people, but there is no such concern because we have decided a page naming convention and the way to write the text. Our team does not add just anything. If there are inquiries from customers that the staff could not answer, the inquiry question text is used as is for the page title and the answer text is added, like we said before. Since we are thoroughly aware of this rule, we avoid any problems.
Is there anything else you have devised?
Nakajima: One other idea -- I realized that I could customize with CSS even while editing, so I decided to use the sticky note function. Sticky notes were made in different sizes and colors, so we are able to identify new inquiries, such as the one added this week in red and the one added last week in blue. In addition, "new" is added to the new page list screen to make it easier to understand.
In this way, business use has progressed and over 700 pages have accumulated in half a year.
You're adding more and more. How is it finding the knowledge you want, with so many pages?
Nakajima: Since the title is a question, you can search for it by entering the words that the customer said.
One of the patterns that fails in knowledge sharing is that the person who creates the question translates it into his or her own words, so it is not possible to find it and it cannot be used immediately. In order to avoid that, I try to write exactly the words of the customer.
What are you doing to prevent duplicate questions from being accumulated?
Inoue: For that purpose we are creating a list of questions like a table of contents. This table of contents is the same as the menu structure of our cloud accounting software freee, so if you are wondering if you should add a new question, you can see the what exists already by looking around the relevant menu.
How did you spread the use of Scrapbox to staff?
Nakajima: For detailed instructions and usage, I wrote in detail on a page on Scrapbox, so you can understand it by reading that.
Inoue: Scrapbox is a service that you can understand immediately after using it, but I did not want it to be used half way, so I verbally told the initial members the purpose and actual usage of Scrapbox.
Essential for reducing the psychological pressure and workload of new staff
Please tell me about the effect of introducing Scrapbox.
Nakajima: The new staff members are now able to respond quickly to work.
There are many specialized contents in accounting and too much to learn, but there are few staff who are familiar with the field from the beginning. New staff often said something like "Is it possible to do this?"
Although there is training on how to use freee's software when joining the company, knowledge about its usage and accounting is different, so even if you know how to use it, you can't respond to support inquiries. Furthermore, there are many specialized questions related to tax affairs and the legal system, and if you answer incorrectly, you may end up with an incorrect financial statement, so you must be careful about the accuracy and it's high pressure.
In this way, the newly-employed staff had a heavy burden both in terms of knowledge and psychology, so I feel that the significance of Scrapbox is that it can accumulate questions and answers and reduce the burden of handling tasks.
What other effects do you have?
Inoue: Our advisor support department also has a sales team, and they use Scrapbox for things other than customer support. For example, when sales people are asked questions by customers, "Is it possible to do this with freee?"
The knowledge shared on Scrapbox is also useful for other departments.
Inoue: Persistently every week, he said things like "Are you using the newest information? I updated it this week." and the sales staff were able to answer the customer's questions thanks to seeing it. I'm starting to get people who say, "It's always helpful," and "It's helping me learn."
Is there a 5x cost-effectiveness potential?
Did Scrapbox make your work more efficient?
Inoue: Since we have not objectively analyzed the efficiency of work with data, we cannot conclude that the efficiency has increased, but some members have commented that it is easy to search and useful for answers.
Our department has a goal of ROI of 5.0, which is five times the cost of the investment. Before the introduction of Scrapbox, documents were scattered in various places, but now Scrapbox is becoming a hub for knowledge sharing, so there is a possibility that it is five times more cost-effective.
Nakajima: In order to continuously use it as a hub for sharing knowledge, I think it is important to update frequently(eg, once a week, about every other week). It is easy to forget the existence of tools, so I regularly update such information.
How do you plan to use Scrapbox in the future?
Inoue: Up until now, we had been focusing on accumulating content, but once it's accumulated to some extent it's important to keep the content fresh. Since we aim for it to be managed by all team members like a Wiki, we would like to achieve high awareness by checking and updating work together with all staff instead of relying on a specific administrator.
In the future for customer support work, we would like to reduce the number of inquiries by obtaining response information before the customer reaches customer support, so we will expand the FAQ on the website and question and answer via chatbot, etc. I would like to proceed with that. At this time, if Scrapbox can store response information it can link with websites, chatbots, etc., and it seems that it will lead to improvement in response accuracy, so I am looking forward to using it that way.
Thank you very much to Inoue and Nakajima!
This is a translation from the original interview in Japanese with writing and photos by Shingo Shimojo on September 28, 2019
Scrapbox lets you instantly capture and find knowhow at any scale, both solo and with a team.
You can rapidly capture things like notes, manuals, tasks, code, meeting minutes, and research results. All pages are automatically connected with bi-directional links, allowing you to seamlessly work across even tens of thousands of pages.