The Knowledge Centered Support or KCS encourages a more collaborative approach to Knowledge Management across organizations. It’s a method that sets out shared knowledge as a central aspect of both Service Management and overall business success.
However, incorporating it and building a robust Knowledge Management strategy requires time, effort, and, above all, buy-in from all the involved parties.
In the November Ticket Volume podcast webinar, we tackled this and more with two subject matter experts, Liz Bunger and Michelle Stumpf. Along with host and InvGate Product Specialist, Matt Beran, they broke down the Knowledge Centered Support methodology and process, and provided valuable insights on how to incorporate knowledge as a key driver of organizational efficiency.
Join us as we unlock the key elements of this exciting live session – and don't forget that you can sign up for our monthly webinars to make sure you don’t miss out on future events!
What is Knowledge Centered Support?
What is a Knowledge Centered Support and what sets it apart from a more traditional Knowledge Management practice? Our guests gave a start to the webinar by defining the KCS principles. Liz explained that the methodology is centered around bringing different teams on board to the process of creating and managing knowledge.
This stands in contrast to solely relying on technical or specialized writers, who don’t always bring in the experience of the day-to-day operations and don’t have the input from the voice of the customers. These aspects are key to creating knowledge that actually responds to workers and customer needs.
Down the same line, Michelle highlights that the KCS focuses on a more collaborative approach and is more adaptable to today's work dynamics, where conditions and context are ever changing and knowledge can quickly become outdated.
"The way I like to look at it and describe it is that KCS is more collaborative, when it comes to knowledge. (...) The knowledge engineers and the whole process involved leaves out an entire organization. And we’ve hired so many smart people, from so many different areas of an organization, whether it’s product, engineering, development, customer support, IT, or wherever you may be doing knowledge. We are really leaving all of that great knowledge and experience out when we restrict the knowledge creation and the management process to just a select few."
Both speakers pointed out the importance of a smooth implementation process, where the benefits should be made clear to everybody from the beginning to ensure engagement. For this, Liz explained that the KCS peer-to-peer coaching programme can be very helpful, so team members feel more loose and comfortable, and Michelle focused on the importance of transparency when presenting the process and making everybody feel good about their contributions.
To give an end to the first part of the session, and following a question from the public, our guests explored how Artificial Intelligence (AI) has changed the KCS methodology. It’s no news that AI has had a profound impact on ITSM efficiency. As for knowledge, they highlight how it has made general content creation much simpler and faster for everybody.
With this in mind, they warn that these tools shouldn’t be implemented indiscriminately. In Liz’s words, it should be closely monitored as “it still needs a human to review it, so that we are not giving flat out wrong answers.”
Knowledge Centered Support best practices
Along the second part of the session, Liz and Michelle touched on some more practical tips for the KCR implementation process. Here are the key elements they highlighted as fundamental Knowledge Centered Support best practices.
Continually review the KCS process
The speakers agree that the timeline for the KCS implementation process will strongly depend on your organization’s specific context and needs. This includes size, tools used, geographic location of workers, and current level of training, among many other elements.
However, Liz underlines that introducing the KCS successfully to your organization doesn't mean that once it will start running on its own; quite on the contrary, this methodology requires constant feeding, adaptation, and improvements to stay updated and useful for all the involved parties.
Create knowledge that is easy to consume
When asked about how to encourage user adoption and engagement, the guests brought up the importance of making the time to create information that is truly consumable. People often don’t go to documentation for support, especially if they have found it unuseful or untimely in the past.
In this regard, Liz differentiates documentation from knowledge, where the latter focuses on making information customer oriented, and quick, easy, and intuitive to consume in order for it to be efficient and adopted by users.
"Knowledge should be a quick question and answer. Somebody asked the question; here is the answer. And it should be easy to consume. I understand when you get into these more technical things, there are a lot of steps. But it should still be easy to consume. People don’t pick up technical manuals and read them. I mean, I’m sure a lot of people do that. But, when they are on a call with a customer, they can’t go back to their training, they don’t have time to read a full piece."
Encourage team participation
Continuing on the same question as above, Michelle shares some other common concerns related to KCS adoption. She brings up the importance of making people feel a sense of community where not only they will be sharing information, but they will also be receiving. This is useful for those who seem hesitant to incorporate their knowledge to the system because they believe they have put a lot of their own effort into creating it.
For those who are worried about being judged or making mistakes when participating in the KCS, Michelle advises to create an environment where team members don’t feel they are being controlled and, on the contrary, believe that their insights matter.
Liz adds to this that creating easy to use templates and clearly explaining that the KCS looks to incorporate the customer’s voice over purely technical or formal vocabulary can be a good way for people to feel they have something valuable to bring to the table.
Measure your KCS performance
To measure KCS performance, Michelle explains that the focus should be put on tracking participation. That is, who, how many people, and at what level are people participating. Along this, KPIs closely related to the KCS, such as case deflection and re-use of articles, should also be considered.
Liz adds to these elements the analysis of how the KCS has impacted other help desk metrics. For instance, measuring if indicators such as First Response Time have been affected and how after the KCS adoption.
Go to KCS resources for support
To look for support when implementing and running the KCS, Liz recommends going to the Consortium for Service Innovation, the organization that came up with the method. They have a KCS Practices Guide, with valuable insights from companies that have already implemented it (and made some valuable mistakes in the process!). She also brings up Linkedin groups as a useful resource, and gives a shout out to the online KCS community where people are always eager to help and share their knowledge.
Get Senior Management buy-in
The final point they touch on is getting the support of Senior Management. Similar to with employees, Michelle suggests starting with the basics, transparency, and explaining KCS benefits and the ways to achieve them.
She also brings in the importance of making this personal to the company, incorporating metrics, ways of work, and specific goals. It should be made clear how knowledge can drive customer satisfaction or other prioritized metrics, and other overarching business goals and objectives.
Introducing the KCS methodology will help organizations level up their Knowledge Management processes by putting at in the center of operational efficiency. Parallel to what is happening with ITSM and Enterprise Service Management (ESM), the methodology is on its way to also be implemented across enterprise’s different departments rather than just in the IT service desk.
Here we highlighted the main points discussed during the webinar with Liz Bunger and Michelle Stumpf. The full session has many more insights to discover from the guests, but also from the valuable questions made by the attendees that helped guide the debate. You can listen to the full conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or your favorite podcast platform. And don’t forget to subscribe to our live monthly webinars for future events!