Experts’ POV: Ensuring Your KCS Program Doesn’t Become A “One-Hit Wonder

Experts’ POV: Ensuring Your KCS Program Doesn’t Become A “One-Hit Wonder

Knowledge is a journey, not a destination. This is why modern support organizations are capitalizing on Knowledge-centered Service(KCS). It’s a ceaseless process of capturing, creating, and using knowledge to resolve customers’ issues effortlessly.

When implemented well, it drives copious benefits, including agent satisfaction, continuous KB improvement, and consistent CX. But the main question is—how do businesses keep the process moving in the right direction so it’s not a “one-hit wonder’?

To get an answer to this, I engaged in an insightful discussion with a bunch of KCS practitioners and experts – Arfinn Austefjord (Chief Learning Officer, Consortium for Service Innovation), Sahana P., (Senior Manager, Automation Anywhere), and Phil Verghis (CEO & Co-Founder, Klever Insight). Together, we talked about the importance of the KCS program and stellar strategies to ensure long-term sustainability and success.

Before we begin, let’s take a poll to gauge your familiarity with this transformative approach.

How familiar are you with KCS?

Brian: The benefits that organizations achieve by leveraging a KCS program are limitless. Arnfinn, Could you walk us through the fundamentals of KCS, its methodology, and why one should emphasize it?

Arnfinn: KCS refers to establishing a knowledge-sharing culture in the organization while resolving customer cases. Besides support organizations, it is widely implemented in IT, HR, sales, legal facilities, and everywhere you have request-response interactions.

Let’s understand how it works:

KCS Methodology

KCS creates a double-loop process to accelerate knowledge creation and monitor KB’s performance. It involves:

  • The Solve Loop: In the Solve stage, agents leverage available knowledge resources to find information needed to resolve the issue. It focuses on reusing and improving knowledge for better searchability. If it doesn’t exist, agents create a knowledge article as a by-product of resolution.
  • The Evolve Loop: It focuses on evaluating the performance of KB articles to ensure they align with content standards. Leadership and management play a crucial part in the Evolve loop. Leaders can keep knowledge workers motivated by effectively communicating organizational goals and regularly celebrating achievements.
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Brian: KCS offers enormous value, even to those outside of support organizations. However, one of the major stumbling blocks is that it is treated as a one-off project.

Phil, if we want to build (or rebuild) a program that lasts, how can we go about it?

Phil: According to TSIA research, half of all knowledge management (KM) initiatives fail in the first year and two-thirds will rip and replace the tool over the next three years. One of the major reasons behind the mess is that we tend to focus only on technology.

The ways to build or rebuild a long-lasting KCS program include:

  • Building a Knowledge-First Culture
    For KCS to succeed, leaders should focus on creating a culture where knowledge workers continuously improve knowledge, leaving it in a better place for the next person to use. However, it doesn’t come without a challenge. People’s resistance to change can stand in the way of successful KCS implementation. Empowering support agents with cutting-edge technology can make it easy for them to adapt to changes in the workflow.
  • A Top-Notch Coaching Program for Managers
    Coaching plays an integral role in optimizing KCS improvements in the workflow. While we often see knowledge workers as coachees, it is also an essential tool for managers and leaders. Having a superior coaching program for managers can help them go from enforcers to player coaches. As a result, they can better review their knowledge workers’ articles and empower them with excellent KCS practices.
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Brian: Arnfinn, for those who might want to launch or optimize their KCS program, what are some of the foundational pieces we should focus on?

Arnfinn: Some of the top areas that we focus on are:

  • KCS Opportunity Assessment: It evaluates the current processes, content, and culture within the organization and whether they align with KCS practices. The results can be used to refine the change management plan, making the journey easy for knowledge workers.
  • Strategic Framework: It refers to identifying the organizational KPIs and tying them up with KCS activities and outcomes so you would better understand your KCS program.
  • Executive and Cross-Functional Sponsorship: One of the essential steps in optimizing a successful KCS program is getting an executive sponsorship. That way, you can ensure you sell the solution, not the program.
  • KCS Council: Getting support from your KCS council is critical in developing a collaborative, knowledge-sharing culture. Make sure you clearly define the roles and responsibilities at different levels in the KCS council, such as that of manager reps, knowledge workers, coaches, and knowledge domain experts. After all, it’s not strictly about the tool; it’s much more about the people in the process.

Brian: Sahana, I’m sure these concepts seem second nature given your experience leading KCS at Automation Anywhere. Can you share with us some of the things you focused on from the Strategic Framework to create momentum for your program?

Sahana: At Automation Anywhere, we believe that defining “WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)” is absolutely essential. We started by creating a baseline of different KPIs at the organization, team, and individual levels before resolving the cases. Additionally, we identified the potential woes in terms of content, tools, and process that could hamper the productivity of our support team or managers.

One of our key challenges was that information was scattered across distinct platforms and content sources, which made it difficult for our support agents to access case-resolving information in real-time. This is where SearchUnify came in. As a leading unified cognitive platform, it helped consolidate all the data in one place, thereby, transforming the search experience.

Furthermore, we paid attention to the communication and feedback process. Constant feedback from our support engineers helped us determine the key areas that need to be improved. As a result, we achieved commendable improvements in terms of employee and customer satisfaction.

Brian: Continued sponsorship is critical to making KCS a program rather than merely a project. Let’s talk about how you get executive sponsorship to stick no matter what.

Sahana: We introduced weekly KCS newsletters where we exhibited positive feedback from employees and customers, the impact of content creation on self-service, along with KPI trends. We then dug deeper into analytics to understand customers and address gaps in content, training, process, etc. Fixing those gaps paved the way for transformative benefits. Slowly, these achievements were made to Quarterly Business Review (QBR) highlights and rewards & recognition, resulting in augmented motivation among KCS champions.

Arnfinn: At Consortium for Service, we focus on meeting the leadership’s goals and minimizing the pain points to attain maximum benefits. For example, if we have to elevate our service margin per interaction, we would be working on reducing our average case count per person on a monthly basis.

Phil: As a manager, one’s job is to smash the obstacles, such as reducing employee effort scores and creating an environment where employees can share knowledge. Besides, it’s important to measure and lower “time to competency” for an organization’s significant savings.

Brian: Shifting the focus from Executive to Knowledge Worker buy-in, the way you approach change management can make or break the adoption of KCS. Sahana, could you share some of the proven strategies to improve agent-driven contributions to the knowledge base?

Sahana: Newly-hired agents hesitate to create support content. To motivate them to write quality content, we create a detailed content standard checklist, including customer context, content structuring, and validation of the solution. We, then, provide them with effective tips to ensure that they meet the checklist.

Moreover, we believe that coaches play a pivotal role in KCS. We offer them the necessary tools and resources for coaching, which further help us improve the performance of our support agents.

At present, we are working on self-service enhancement for our support portal. Our goal is to deliver relevant content to our customers at the right time and in the right place.

The Final Remarks

Brian: The importance of KCS coaching is limitless. One piece of parting advice from each one of you that might help a new coach as they get started with their KCS journey.

“As a coach, try to focus on employees who are on the fence rather than those who are already willing to adapt. Understand their reason behind hesitance and empower them with the information they need. Once the benefits start rolling out, it will help you motivate employees who are resisting.” ~ Sahana P.

“Coaches should focus on active listening instead of adhering to the structure. It’s a great way to work with a diverse team of employees and drive value.” ~ Arnfinn Austefjord

“Coaching is essential, not just for KCS practitioners but also for managers. This will help them turn into player-coaches and measure the performance of their knowledge workers effectively.” ~ Phil Verghis

Want to Ensure the Sustainable Success of Your KCS Program?

Implementing KCS can transform both your customer and agent experience. To delve deeper into how you can successfully inculcate KCS culture within your organization, tune into our on-demand session now. Don’t forget to get in touch with our KCS experts for stellar strategies and tips.

Also, let us know which expert’s approach resonates most with your objectives. 😀

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