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KCS – New Age Knowledge Management: A system by the users, for the users

Elizabeth Raju
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Elizabeth Raju - Experienced and passionate Knowledge Management practitioner with expertise in content and knowledge management strategics, knowledge asset reports and building investor relationships. Supported KM activities for North America (Canada, US); European Regions (BENELUX and UK) and India in IT firms.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethraju/

In a customer service environment, service desk agents are generally fighting a battle to resolve customer issues. On time resolution and customer satisfaction must go hand-in-hand. Despite all the juggling, it’s not always necessary that customer issues are resolved on the first call instance. As the instances increase, so does the customer dissatisfaction.

According to KCS, “97% of support demand is served through self-service or online communities, forums, and social media”. Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) developed by Consortium for Service Innovation) methodology suggests capture knowledge as and when it occurs and share it with others. Combined knowledge of one’s human capital, clients and vendors can make up a very strong Knowledge Base (KB). If we share the knowledge we know, it gets the opportunity to evolve and improve.

To capture, structure and reuse content:

  1. Capture knowledge as the customer speaks 
    1. The Customer Service Agent can capture the issues of the customer in the customer’s words immediately, if not already captured o KCS believes in search often and search each time an issue arises, or the customer calls in for a support. This helps locate the already existing knowledge on the issue, building on it in case it needs an update or correction. Searching the articles frequently reduces duplication. Better use of tagging can make the search easier.
    2. Make this draft content immediately visible even if it is not evaluated. If something really needs to be hidden, use technology to create hidden fields to hide only that bit of information
  2. Use templates to capture content with the flexibility of adding extra content outside of the template structure. This will make the content more readable and easier to store. With the structure in place the customer agent just needs to fill in the template with the required information. Anything which is beyond the template structure can be captured as additional information. Idea is to have ‘not too much or too less structure’.
  3. Check Content Usefulness – Adding “Useful” or “Not Useful” options or Comments section in the articles. Data, like number of times the content is visited gives an idea of importance and demand of content.
  4. Quality – Minor spelling errors should not be considered an issue for content creation. It’s about community ownership. As and when someone come across an error in the content, they correct it or flag it for correction. Since it is a self-correcting system measuring the quality in terms of what is written or presented may not be an ideal method. Although there can be a comparison made on the content when it was contributed and later with the regular use and updates what it has become. If it resolves the issues, keep it.
  5. Publish – Any knowledge evaluated by regular use or confirmed by an SME can be published.  

Examples of Impact

1. Case Deflection

It is that Eureka moment for the user when the user locates the resolution themselves on the service portal without calling a service desk. 

A Customer “John” calls the service desk undergoes a series of instructions, to finally reach that human to speak to and tell his issues. Soon after John finishes explaining the issue to the Service Agent “Vikas”, the call drops suddenly. One can imagine the frustration John would undergo as he must call back, and there is no guarantee of getting Vikas back again on the call. John will have to explain everything again from scratch to the next service agent. Many of us must have experienced this situation in our day to day lives. In this scenario, I would have preferred an alternative to calling. If John had an option to look up his issue and troubleshoot it himself, he would have preferred it as an alternative to calling second time. Some people are shy and may not be comfortable in making a call. 

2. Customer Satisfaction 

The new Service Agent “Angela” who picks up the call second time from John knows the situation as it was already written down by Vikas, the first Service Agent during the unfinished call when John was explaining the issue. The moment John starts describing the issue again, Angela can search and find the rest of the story from the documented content of Vikas and does not require John to explain everything in detail again. John is now a somewhat happy customer, and not as agitated as he was when the call dropped. 
Had it been a situation where Vikas had not documented the issue and John had to undergo the story telling process again. Angela would not have had any clue of what the customer explained to Vikas. Because it was documented John is happy and so is Angela.

3. Reduction in Resolution Time

John calls again other day seeking instruction on installing a software. This time John gets to speak to Vikas. Vikas starts searching the Knowledge Base as he was hearing the request from John and finds a draft “How-To” article on installing the software which John mentioned. Vikas immediately helps John run the installation process during the call and John gets his software installed. John was happy to get an immediate resolution this time.  

4. A Self-Correcting System

The How-To article which Vikas locates for installing the software was in draft status and was not vetted by anyone. Vikas went ahead and followed the instructions to install and it worked well. Vikas has just now vetted the article by use and approved it as a great content for further use.  It is also possible certain issues have more than one solution, articles can be updated as and when someone discovers the new methods of resolving that issue. 

Self Correcting System

Every time an agent finds an issue with the article, they either correct it or flag it. This self-correcting mode of this system makes it a robust system in the long run. 

5. Readiness and Easy Availability of Content 

If Vikas had to approach different people for the resolution keeping John waiting on the call, it would have consumed a lot of time in providing a solution and increased John’s anger and in turn pushed John to find greener pastures.

It is where the right content management systems need to be placed for easy search and retrieval.

6. Employee Motivator

Vikas feels a great pride in taking the ownership of the article and approving it as a great content for use by others. It gives him a sense of belonging and ownership. Vikas is very happy and makes sure his clients are as well. 

KCS encourages everyone to take ownership on the content. This uplifts the morale of everyone as it encourages the organizations to trust its people.