What is Knowledge Centered Support and What Are the Benefits to Your Business
Knowledge Centered Support, also known as Knowledge Centered Service, and referred to in this article as KCS, is a process used today by many successful companies. KCS improves how support teams and customer service centers access and use knowledge to not only provide greater value to employees, customers, and stakeholders, but also to create and maintain documentation as part of the KCS process.
How are your support agents empowered to locate the information they need to effectively resolve customer issues? How can you ensure that knowledge-sharing and collaboration benefit your entire team? These are important questions for support leaders, and ones that are easily addressed by KCS.
In a KCS-enabled organization, whenever a problem is resolved, that information (knowledge) is stored for easy access by others. In addition, KCS facilitates and dramatically increases the learning pace for new staff members to get up to speed.
While the methodology for KCS was first discussed in 1992, it’s since evolved into a strong set of principles, practices, and procedures, designed to ensure all subject matter experts participate and make the approach to knowledge management a priority.
KCS is not a widely known term; however, the concepts of KCS will be very familiar –
- To integrate the improvement, re-use, or creation of knowledge into the process of problem-solving.
- The evolving of content based on usage and demand.
- The development of a knowledge base of shared experience, and
- To reward sharing, learning, collaboration, and improvement.
How KCS Works
Using the KCS methodology, knowledge is integrated into the customer service workflow, and this knowledge is collected in a database. Based on use and demand, this knowledge will continue evolving, allowing an organization to share, manage, and transfer knowledge in an efficient and organized manner. The KCS belief is that knowledge saving should not be confined to just a few subject matter experts; KCS supports empowering all support agents contributing and integrating the knowledge base into their workflow.
The KCS methodology incorporates the concept of double loop learning - the ‘solve’ loop and the ‘evolve’ loop.
The Solve Loop: This refers to the learning that’s experienced from resolving individual ticket requests. One of the following occurs after every interaction –
- The agent will resolve the ticket by re-using up-to-date, existing knowledge.
- The agent will resolve the ticket using existing knowledge; however, some of this knowledge is not up-to-date. The agent will either flag this for review or update the knowledge base.
- The agent will resolve the ticket, and will be required to create a new knowledge base article.
When using KCS methodology, all individual agents are required to flag articles for re-view, ensure knowledge base articles are kept up-to-date, or to create a new article if one has not yet been added.
The Evolve Loop: This refers to the learning your entire organization experiences from evaluating trends and patterns across all your support tickets, thus enabling all team members to identify improvements.
If you’re wondering why we’re discussing KCS as if it’s a revolutionary process, and thinking this is how all support teams learn and improve, you’re right, but the magic happens when KCS is put into practice.
KCS is More Relevant Today than Ever Before
Customer satisfaction and loyalty are vitally important to the continued success of all businesses, and customers continue holding businesses to very high standards when it comes to customer support. Today, more so than ever, customers have many channels by which to request support, and speed is one of the most important factors. Interestingly, a whopping 73% of consumers stated that they want companies to provide good service by valuing their time!
So the question is: How can companies provide fast and reliable support with the ever-growing number of support channels?
One Way Is through an External Help Review
Many customers have discovered that self-service is the quickest way of resolving their problems, and most customers say that if a self-service help center was available they would definitely use it. When a business implements KCS, they’re implementing a recording, assessing, distributing, and enhancing process for support knowledge, which is the easiest way for a business to continue developing and improving their self-service help center.
KCS must be demand-driven, which means consumer demand determines the knowledge, and the value of that knowledge that must be captured. Of course, this also applies to an external help center. Referring back to the Evolve Loop process, the analysis of customer support interactions helps determine the content to be initially available in your external help center and on an ongoing basis.
It’s All about Customer Satisfaction
When knowledge centered services like KCS are implemented into a business, key support team metrics are dramatically improved. With an external help center, KCS ensures that processes continuously deliver customer support improvements.
Your internal agent-facing knowledge base and your external help center are equally important, which is why it’s surprising that less than half of contact center decision makers use one. It’s very important for businesses to have an agent-facing knowledge base because it becomes the key strategy piece of your KCS process, which is to integrate a knowledge base into your agents’ workflow.
The Solve Loop process makes sure that agents are always evaluating and upgrading the knowledge base’s health, to the extent that it becomes a habit. When accessing your knowledge base does become a habit, not only is the quality of the content in your knowledge base improved, the need for repetitive questions is dramatically reduced.
How Key Support Metrics Are Improved with KCS Methodology
When KCS methodology is adopted, businesses will ultimately see improvements in a number of their key support team metrics, such as –
- Response Consistency across Your Support Team: When using KCS methodology, the Solve Loop workflow of every agent begins by reviewing the knowledge base. As a result, there’s a consistent response to customer issues because answers become uniform across the team.
- Improved Response Time: When KCS has been implemented for support teams, they know their knowledge base is up-to-date because it’s been created from a shared effort of all support agents. No longer are agents left wondering where to find information because they know their knowledge base is their source of truth. Your agents can confidently tackle customer queries and resolve issues in one call simply because they’re not left searching for information.
- Fast Onboarding for New Customer Service Support Agents: The onboarding process and training time is dramatically reduced when using KCS, simply because all the information new agents need is easily accessible. This helps new staff members get up to speed quickly and become productive; it also helps increase their confidence. The fastest way to learn is to use knowledge while in the context of your job. Research shows that 30% of learning comes from reading, studying materials, and coaching, while 70% of learning occurs while on-the-job. KCS is invaluable when it comes to onboarding new support agents.
- Improved Customer Satisfaction Scores - also referred to as CSAT scores. Once the above 3 metrics have been improved, you’ll see a vast improvement in both customer satisfaction and your CSAT scores. With the adoption of KCS it will become obvious that the processes implemented are directly and positively influencing your customers’ support experiences.
If you believe KCS methodology could add value to your support team, Please contact us for a free demo of our all-in-one knowledge management system and learn how we can enable KCS for your organization.