PUT KNOWLEDGE AT THE HEART OF YOUR ORGANIZATION
The Digital Revolution is creating huge opportunities for innovation and productivity optimization for organizations in various industries. As technology moves from the back-office to the front-line, the scope of tasks for customer support is expanding, which brings numerous challenges to customer service pros. Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) is an emerging solution that focuses primarily on knowledge as a critical asset of the organization to help service pros mitigate today’s digital challenges. Basically, KCS is the optimized way to resolve cases and provide service by complementing the knowledge and experience of your support agents and optimize this knowledge at any time.
While the KCS methodology might seem as a cure-all for any organization with customer service capacities, the process of implementing and adopting this approach comes along with a number of aspects that businesses have to consider before choosing KCS. In this eBook we outline the key benefits of implementing a KCS methodology as well as what steps to take to create a seamless agile knowledge-centered support at your organization.
With four basic concepts, KCS methodology allows businesses to:
- Create content as a product of solving problems
- Evolve content based on demand and usage
- Develop a knowledge base of a collective experience that is up to date
- Reward learning, collaboration, sharing, and improving
KEEP EVERYONE IN THE LOOP WITH STREAMLINED KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES
KCS is a methodology comprised of two core halves – “Solve Loop” and “Evolve Loop” that comprise a set of processes that together create a unified cycle of content creation and management. According to the Consortium for Service Innovation, the “Solve Loop” is defined as continual engagement with knowledge on an issue-by-issue basis, while the “Evolve Loop” provides a framework for more proactive processes, intended to ensure participation and quality. To get the most out of your KCS implementation, make sure you’ve got organizational commitment and management support. This will enable your Solve Loop and the Evolve Loop to work properly and combine together to form a virtuous cycle that will help you to ensure users’ participation is encouraged and that their skills are being constantly enhanced. With a significant amount of content created as a matter of course during day-to-day operations, this will help to get their effort focused on items with the highest priority to ensure that the most important content is of the highest quality.
The adoption of KCS is a transformational process that requires strong leadership. Therefore, communicating and understanding the relevance of KCS to the organization is a critical task for process leaders, whether they’re a coach or a process supervisor. For this purpose, determine a compelling purpose that people can relate to. Next, create a strategic framework that connects the benefits of KCS to the general goals of the organization. With such a vision and framework in mind, a leader can help his team to focus on the goals and objectives they need to accomplish as well as to support them throughout the process of achieving these goals. This will help leaders to focus on the strategic aspect of the process while the support agents can actually “own” the knowledge base.
THE KEY BENEFITS OF ADOPTING A KNOWLEDGE-CENTERED SUPPORT METHODOLOGY
Empowered by knowledge-centered support (KCS), organizations can resolve five to ten times more customer cases at the same or even lower cost, as well as identify opportunities to improve company’s products or services based on the customer experience by analyzing their feedback. In addition, KCS solves several other problems that companies face today, such as an insufficient utilization of a web-based self-service portal, which leads to significant overloads and forces your support agents to answer the same questions over and over without an option to leverage the company’s previous answers for the same questions. KCS also helps to overcome the problem of resolutions becoming out-of-date or convoluted as well as prevents support staff burn-out by providing all collected knowledge articles instantly on-demand.
In order to keep your knowledge base relevant and up-to-date, it is critical for organizations to maintain the content quality. For this purpose, implement your content standards and consistent quality metrics such as AQI (article quality index) for rating the article quality and support staff performance. These metrics can be customized and evolve over time, but they should inspect such aspects as Duplicates (determine whether an article existed in the knowledge base before the current one was created), inspect for complete problem / environment / cause / resolution description and types, evaluate the Content clarity (this helps to inspect whether the statements are complete thoughts, not sentences). Additionally, it is crucial to keep track of Article titles (whether titles reflect articles’ content for better and easier recognition), Correct hyperlinks within an article and finally control if the Metadata is always set appropriately (article state, type or other key metadata that is defined by your content standards).
AN ULTIMATE ROADMAP TO IMPLEMENTING THE KNOWLEDGE-CENTERED SUPPORT METHODOLOGY
The basic premise of agile knowledge-oriented support is to create a unified knowledge base that aligns with your organization’s overall processes. Businesses that have never had a KCS initiative might consider the implementation process as an extremely challenging task, but the roadmap to adopting the methodology shows that if you know what processes to follow, the implementation will be smooth and less time and cost consuming.
For KCS to work, companies need to shift their values. Instead of valuing people who possess the knowledge, they should value people who share, are willing to learn, and help others learn. These are the new heroes in the organization. This encourages the values of collaboration, sharing, improving and using knowledge.
ESSENTIAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER TO ENSURE SMOOTH AND EFFICIENT IMPLEMENTATION
In an ideal KCS scenario, service agents develop articles and resolve incidents just-in-time while maintaining constant updates to the knowledge base. However, to make KCS work properly and be really agile, the company needs to consider various success factors that are based on core KCS concepts and principles. This will enable an organization to deliver greater value to clients through enhanced self-service offerings while also improving Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
1 Get an approval from stakeholders
The approval of the KCS approach by Management and stakeholders is a prerequisite for any successful KCS initiative. If management doesn’t embrace the methodology implementation, the achieved results are most likely to drop off in 6-8 months.
2 Assemble a group of agents to determine the process workflows
Best practices show that KCS provides the best performance as well as the highest level of agility when people that are going to do the work are involved. This cuts the time spent on changing the approaches and optimizes workflows faster and easier.
3 Give your agents a feeling of trust and “ownership”
Modify the way you evaluate contributions to the knowledge base to enhance the quality of the articles. For this purpose, implement value-based metrics. For instance, don’t reward agents for publishing more articles, reward them for publishing more useful articles with higher quality.
Give your service agents the necessary level of accountability and responsibility for knowledge creation. This will empower them with a feeling of trust and ownership which increases productivity and efficiency.
4 Highlight the benefits of KCS
Make sure that your employees realize all the benefits of adopting the agile knowledge centered support methodology so they can overview the complete picture on why the company is changing the way of knowledge base management so they can feel like a part of the process.
In order to take the teamwork of your support team to a new level, organizations must shift to a perspective that considers knowledge as an asset maintained and owned by the team, not by individuals or small groups of content creators. Such an approach will enable teams to capture and improve the shared knowledge to not only to solve individual client problems, but also to improve the organizational overall.
WHY KCS CAN BE A BETTER FIT FOR AGILE BUSINESSES THAN TRADITIONAL METHODS OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
KCS allows businesses to scale and extend their support capabilities without growing staff or expenses. The methodology increases value by capturing the collective experience of the support organization in solving problems and answering questions for customers. As a result of making that knowledge versatile and reusable with the KCS approach, organizations observe substantial savings in operating costs and service levels improve dramatically. Moreover, companies implementing and following the KCS methodology often see enhancements in both FCR (first contact resolution rate) and customer satisfaction, as customer service departments become more effective and quicker at resolving problems by leveraging collective knowledge. Overall, there are three major categories of benefits that organizations derive from KCS which are observed at different phases along the KCS journey.
The first benefit realized by organizations is operational efficiency. It improves the process of how knowledge workers use of the existing knowledge in their organization. This means that the methodology enables service agents to reuse and improve existing knowledge, as well as capture new knowledge if it doesn’t exist. Improvements in operational efficiency also show up as higher capacity and the ability to introduce new people and optimize processes with dramatically less effort and time. KCS
implementation also reduces redundancy and provides employees with the most complete and accurate information based on the collective experience of the company which is more accurate and complete than any individual’s knowledge.
it at the moment they need it. KCS enables service agents to capture and reuse their experiences and enables your customers to
benefit from these experiences through self-service mechanisms to resolve their problems faster and with less effort. Such enhancements in self-service expand access to knowledge and allow for focusing on improvements to existing knowledge articles instead of creating duplicates with lower quality.
Organizational improvement and learning
Perhaps the most significant benefit organizations realize with KCS is the prioritization and identification of opportunities to
improve processes, policies, products, and services based on shared experiences. The reuse of knowledge allows companies to conduct root cause assessment and optimize things that have the highest impact on the company’s productivity, and more importantly, things that can potentially enhance the experience customers have with your brand.
Some service delivery organizations, especially organizations with powerful IT departments, have adopted the ITIL framework for their service processes. In addition to all the core benefits KCS provides, it is extremely compatible with ITIL since both these methodologies are technology agnostic and are designed to improve service delivery by recognizing the value of knowledge. Therefore, if you decide to empower your ITIL framework with the KCS approach, you should include knowledge
capture, structure, reuse, and improvement in the ITIL Incident Management process, as well as integrate knowledge into other ITIL processes.
SUSTAINING THE CONTINUOUS KNOWLEDGE BASE IMPROVEMENT
In a world where digitally-empowered users demand the highest level of self-service, having top notch support has become a critical aspect to building a successful customer engagement strategy. Recent research shows that 70% of customers prefer to use a company’s website to get answers to their questions rather than use email or phone. Let’s review how businesses can deliver greater value to customers by adjusting their online self-service offerings with an agile knowledge-centered approach by sustaining KCS long-term.
“Search early, search often” is in the core of KCS, which means employees need to always search the knowledge base before creating a new article. This helps to avoid duplication, increases reuse of existing articles and eliminates redundancy.
By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. Therefore, businesses that are not leveraging the capabilities of an agile knowledge-centered support risk losing their market share due to the negative experience their customers could have with their brand.
While processes and people are the core parts of an agile approach to knowledge-centered support, the right tools to support your KCS initiative can go a long way in achieving KCS success. That’s why forward-thinking companies are implementing CRM and service management software compliant with the KCS approach and capable of automating knowledge management processes and workflows. This helps businesses to deliver topnotch service experience to clients without acquiring additional software or hiring extra staff. Moreover, such an approach unifies all customer–facing processes and knowledge in one centralized and secure place to give organizations the necessary level of agility to adapt to an ever-evolving digital environment.