What is Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) exactly?

By Monica Kohn   |   December 14, 2020
knowledge management
Also referred to as knowledge-centered services, knowledge-centered support (KCS) describes a process where support teams provide real-time customer, employee, and system support while also creating and maintaining documentation as part of the same process. Similar to problem management, KCS focuses on getting in-depth knowledge onto the “page,” where other people can access it and put it to good use.

What is KCS?

KCS is about treating knowledge as a business asset. It avoids relying on memory and experience alone to solve problems. It also makes it easier for agents to update information in a knowledge-based system.

This form of knowledge management for the support center allows agents to first consult your organization’s knowledge base to see if a fix is already documented. If not, they use known processes to troubleshoot and resolve an issue while documenting the unaddressed issue and its fix in a new knowledge base article.

Near and mid-term benefits of KCS include:

  • Improved resolution times, typically by 25 to 50 percent.
  • Improved first call resolution.
  • Reduced escalations.
  • Improved employee skills, job satisfaction, and confidence which translates into less stress and potentially better retention rates.
  • Dramatic improvement in self-service success.
  • Reduced training time for new agents.

Long-term, you can expect to see:

  • Business improvements based on identification of user behaviors and trends.
  • Improved location of resolutions via AI-driven solutions.
  • Better analytical predictive and preemptive abilities that enable proactive customer engagement.

When successfully implemented, KCS enables organizations to improve their ability to capitalize on their collected knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge-Center Support Methodologies

Realizing the benefits of KCS relies primarily on the degree to which users consistently reuse, link, improve, and, if it doesn’t exist, capture knowledge as they resolve issues. To maximize and sustain KCS’ benefits it’s crucial to get people to buy-in and integrate best practices and methodologies into how they perform their jobs.

A knowledge-centered support methodology collects, organizes, and distributes support content to your customers via either live agents or self-service solutions. There are four main steps to effective KCS implementation:

  1. Capturing knowledge. As chief customer service officer and keynote speaker Jeanne Bliss says, when it comes to realizing high customer satisfaction “you need to understand what your customers find valuable.” That means no one knows better than your customers what they need in the way of support. Collecting “customer knowledge” through questions, surveys, and other feedback like support team notes gives you the information you need to build out your support content.
  2. Content structuring. Once you have the necessary customer feedback you can begin to create support content. The content should be relevant and easily searchable. It can include things like FAQs, articles, explainer videos, or downloadable manuals. The goal is to create content that’s valuable, helpful, customer-centric, and reusable.
  3. Form and template reuse. KCS eliminates agents having to manually respond to every customer inquiry and places at their fingertips the information they need to resolve issues quickly and successfully. Once your support content is created, you can use this library of resources to provide customers and agents alike with support solutions. And since the content is reusable, agents save a lot of time compared to when they respond manually to customers.
  4. Steady improvement. When employees faithfully follow a given KCS methodology they’re able to tap into and contribute to your organization’s collective knowledge base. Over time, they play an active and important role in improving that content which is ever-evolving and is made better with every edit or contribution they make.

Knowledge-Center Support Best Practices

If you’re familiar with the website Wikipedia, you know it’s a platform created by users for users. Although anyone can add to it, it is continuously fact-checked and edited in order to provide people with useful, accurate information. Together with a knowledge base, a KCS system operates the same way and works best when everyone is on board to create great content that’s helpful and well-organized.

Best practices for KCS include:

  • Educating support teams on what KCS is and why it matters to your organization’s success.
  • Informing each user of what their role is in the KCS process.
  • Using the right knowledge base software to keep content organized.
  • Consistently adding new content to the knowledge base.
  • Incentivizing users to contribute and make improvements to existing content.
  • Encouraging the reuse of existing relevant content over making new content.
  • Staying dialed in to what your customers need and want.

Now’s the Time to Deploy KCS

Done well, KCS dramatically increases the value of your organization’s knowledge base. As long as you remember that KCS starts with your customers you can continue to make content that’s relevant to them and reuse it in a way that cuts down on things like customer support and response times while boosting employee productivity and engagement. The result is happy customers, happy employees, and a significantly improved bottom line.

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