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How You Can Transform Your IT Practices with Knowledge-Centered Service ©

Organizations with top-notch IT Service Management (ITSM) delivery are often successful because they focus on resource optimization. A great way to maximize your resources, especially when limited, is through self-service using Knowledge-Centered Service. Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) is a service method that focuses on knowledge as a key asset of your organization. By using KCS, you can scale and extend your support capabilities without needing additional staff or budget resources.

How KCS helps with ITSM

When using KCS, an organization focuses on creating and curating knowledge content that’s already being collected as part of its current troubleshooting and problem-solving efforts. As the information is collected (whether through tickets, or other interactions) articles can be created in a knowledge base. This knowledge base can then be used for self-service. Meaning anyone having trouble can search the knowledge base for a resolution without needing to contact support. By making the answers to your most asked questions or requests readily available in your knowledge base, your help desk and IT resources can focus their time on bigger, more complex problems. Here are a few other ways KCS positively impacts an organization:

  • Helps to lower inbound call volume.
  • Increases customer satisfaction.
  • Provides customers with the answers they need when they need them.
  • By crowdsourcing knowledge, you can keep your content accurate and up to date.

By adopting KCS, you can not only improve customer satisfaction but dramatically reduce the per-incident cost incurred by IT and reduce the volume of issues and requests coming to the help desk, allowing IT to reallocate technicians to higher priority tasks and projects.

6 Steps to Getting Started with KCS

Implementing Knowledge-Centered Service can involve a lot of moving parts. The following are six steps to help you get started:

  1. Identify a core team: Having a small core team to help you through the implementation process, as well as the upkeep once KCS takes off in your organization, is essential. When creating the team, look for volunteers, people from customer service areas, and those with attention to detail and a passion for change.
  2. Training: The Consortium for Service Innovation offers a KCS Academy, a KCS Practices Guide, and a KCS Adoption Guide. Additionally, TeamDynamix offers process consulting that you can take advantage of as well.
  3. Pilot with your core team: Once your team has been identified, you should establish a KCS style guide, solidify processes, roles and permissions, practice maintenance and coach each other. All of this will allow you to avoid confusion and inefficiencies in the future.
  4. Train your customer service: If you are able, getting trained externally is ideal. Your KCS team has the opportunity to make a real impact on your organization, so it is important that they have proper training. Also, this training will give your team adequate time to grow before branching out to the rest of the organization.
  5. Branch out: At this point, you can find more volunteers who are ready to implement KCS. If there are no volunteers, start with smaller areas of your business and get those teams on board. Share all the benefits that your pilot team gained from KCS with these new people. Be sure to make it worth their time and make KCS part of their core workflow.
  6. Spread success: Be sure to document internal knowledge, incorporate KCS when working with outside areas, share articles internally and externally, and broadcast your metrics. Share information like article usage and increased first contact resolution- any metric that will encourage growth.

“Early on, we saw an 18-percent reduction in time logged to service tickets. What would you do if you had an additional day a week?”

KCS 101: The University of South Dakota’s Experience

Over the last few years, the University of South Dakota (USD) has been working hard to implement KCS best practices within its Information Technology Services (ITS) division. By collecting all information in a single, easily accessible knowledge base, ITS staff say they’ve been able to avoid a lot of repetitive work and improve their problem-solving capabilities. In addition, it’s reduced the amount of time it takes to train new ITS employees and has eased the burden on staff as more and more people use self-service to solve their problems. “Early on, we saw an 18-percent reduction in time logged to service tickets,” Paula Cottrell, knowledge manager, said. “What would you do if you had an additional day a week?” When USD had to shift to online instruction during the coronavirus pandemic, students and staff had many questions — and they could find answers to most of these at Coyote One Stop – the school’s branded knowledge base. “With COVID, our hits went up tremendously,” Cottrell said. The university’s KCS methodology “allowed us to get new knowledge articles published quickly for people working [and learning] from home.”

Keys to Success

Based on USD’s experience, Katharina Wymar, who heads the Project Management Office within ITS, and Cottrell shared these keys to success in implementing KCS:

  • Look for executive sponsorship. “This project is going to take time to work through, and our CIO was our biggest supporter,” Wymar says.
  • Find the right solution for your organization and get trained.
  • Set your KCS processes and develop a communications plan to keep everyone engaged.
  • Celebrate success. Reward both the quality and usage of articles. “Make sure you’re recognizing the right behaviors,” Cottrell advises. Don’t turn it into just a numbers game. Encourage people to contribute their knowledge, and reward them for their article edit requests, article usage, and the quality of their articles. Recognize team members as they move up in responsibility.

For more information about USD’s journey, including how team members set and maintained standards for quality and consistency of articles, you can watch their KCS 101 session from TDX Converge, below, or read their Customer Spotlight, here. This article was originally posted in February 2021 and has been updated with new information.

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