3 Ways Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) Improves ITSM
Posted by on February 26, 2019
Matt Klassen is the VP of Product Marketing at Cherwell. He is passionate about enabling enterprises to accelerate their digital journey through better software and better service. Matt has 25 years experience in developing, architecting, selling, and marketing enterprise software solutions for IT and product teams.
As we increasingly rely on self-service across all aspects of our lives, access to relevant and current knowledge is essential. And, it is not only the Millennial Generation that prefers self-service. For IT, effective Knowledge Management enables both self-service for end-users and a more productive service desk staff.
What Is Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS)?
It is all too common that knowledge provided to end-users and the service desk staff are static, potentially out of date (not curated), and simply not relevant. There are several contributing factors including the low priority of creating and maintaining knowledge articles.
Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) integrates the creation and maintenance of knowledge into support or service interactions. This applies across organizations and businesses providing support including IT Service Management (ITSM) and service desk functions of incident management or request fulfillment. With more people involved in an integrated knowledge management process, support staff can create new articles or update current ones throughout their daily activities.
KCS is a simple idea based on a wealth of customer support research. KCS, governed by the KCS Academy, has officially become Knowledge-Centered Service, but the practice is often referred to as Knowledge-Centered Support as well. With KCS, knowledge creation and maintenance is collectively owned across the organization and directly associated with customer support or service management interactions. The KCS principles reflect this inclusive and interaction-driven approach.
Knowledge-Centered Support has proven benefits in handling tickets faster, enabling self-service, and optimizing staff resources. Before diving into the specifics of how KCS improves customer service or IT Service Management (ITSM), let’s step back and look at Knowledge Management more broadly.
The Role of ITIL® Knowledge Management in KCS
Historically, the most common ITSM processes implemented or adopted have been Incident, Problem and Change Management—typically based on ITIL best practices. Some amount of Configuration Management and Service Level Management (SLM) would regularly show up next. With the rise of self-service portals, implementing a Service Catalog and automating Request Fulfillment have become common.
But alas, implementation of the Knowledge Management process is inconsistent. Knowledge Management aims to gather, analyze, store, and share knowledge and information within an organization. The primary purpose of Knowledge Management is to improve efficiency by leveraging knowledge and reducing the need to rediscover knowledge.
Yet even in organizations where Knowledge Management is a higher priority, articles are commonly created by just a few people, with knowledge curation inconsistent at best. This doesn’t adequately support the way people want to digitally help themselves today, and it doesn’t provide much help to the service desk staff either.
There is a better way as KCS provides a methodology for implementing knowledge management based on documented synergies between ITIL and KCS.
The 4 Principles of Knowledge-Centered Support
- Abundance: Encourage sharing of ideas and knowledge. The more the people who work in Knowledge-Centered Support share ideas, the more knowledge will be available across the entire group and the higher quality the knowledge will be.
- Create Value: Barraged by a constant stream of tickets and tasks, it can be easy for support staff to forget the big picture. With KCS, support staff are asked to refer to the knowledge base, using information when it's there, and adding information when it's not already available. Once the habit is in place, tickets will be resolved faster.
- Demand Driven: Knowledge is a by-product of interaction. That is to say, instead of theorizing over which knowledge should be included in the knowledge base, use demand—the issues that actually come in to support—to determine which knowledge to capture and validate.
- Trust: It's an essential piece of KCS implementation. Buy-in and trust in the process is the only way it'll work—and as well as trust in the process, trust in peers and management is also required.
Benefits of Knowledge-Centered Support
Through numerous case studies, the KCS approach has been demonstrated to improve customer service—including services provided by IT. Service Desk staff efficiency is increased, tickets are handled faster and more effectively, and end-user self-sufficiency enabled reducing the number of tickets to begin with. Here are three big ways Knowledge-Centered Support can help your support desk:
1. Solve cases and incidents faster
With relevant knowledge, the service desk can handle tickets more quickly. Agent or operators have access to the information they need to hand more calls on first contact. Case studies show a 30 to 50 percent increase in first contact resolution. And overall, effective knowledge management has resulted in a 50 to 60 percent improvement in time to resolution.
2. Optimize Use of Staff Resources
The KCS methodology for Knowledge Management also improves the time it takes new agent or operator become proficient. Case studies demonstrate a remarkable 70 percent improvement in time to proficiency. A goal of knowledge management is to share information. Easy access to useful information has also resulted in a 20 to 40 percent improvement in employee satisfaction for staff providing support and/or service.
3. Enable IT Self-Service
We began this article talking about changing expectations for self-service. Changing demographics is also driving the demand for more comprehensive self-service. For IT service desks, easy access to relevant information or knowledge has been one of the limiting factors in extending self-service beyond basics of password reset and simple ticket submission.
Relevant knowledge improves customer success and the use of self-help. When end-users can help themselves, this reduces the number of tickets handled by the help desk or service desk. Reflecting this, KCS case studies document support center cost avoidance of up to 50 percent.
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