How to Choose a KCS or non-KCS Knowledge Management Approach

As communication channels proliferate and information is created in a just few clicks, knowledge management is increasingly critical for customer service organizations.

Should I Choose a KCS or non-KCS Knowledge Management Approach at my Company?

As communication channels proliferate and knowledge can be created in a just few clicks, knowledge management is increasingly critical for customer service organizations. Is your internal knowledge accessible, accurate and actionable? If not, your agents will find themselves barely keeping their heads above water. Many companies are realizing it’s time to rethink their knowledge management processes. But what are some best practices for implementing and maintaining a successful knowledge base?

Knowledge Centered Service, or KCS for short, is the leading methodology for knowledge management and quickly becoming an industry standard in both IT and customer service. However, KCS is not the only approach and this article will help you choose the best for your company.

Why should I consider a KCS-based implementation?

KCS is a methodology developed by the Consortium for Service Innovation. It is a framework that helps companies streamline knowledge work and implement consistent standards. KCS is based on years of experience helping companies build and launch a knowledge base including the necessary supporting internal processes.

The cornerstone of KCS is basing your documentation on the questions your customers really ask instead of what someone predicted.  Companies often expend a great deal of time, money and resources developing documentation that does not match customer needs. This means little return on investment, employee frustration and dissatisfied customers.

KCS emphasizes a practical approach that saves your company a lot of editorial and case handling time.

KCS Encourages Active Participation by Employees

A core principle of KCS is that everyone in your service department can create an article while working on a customer request. This makes and encourages your entire organization to be part of the knowledge management process. Since new software and workflows are often met with unwelcome looks and low adoption rates, KCS is an opportunity to directly involve employees in a change that benefits them directly.

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Four Reasons to Pick a KCS-based Approach:

  • KCS delivers a standard and well-established methodology
  • Easy for new and existing employees to adapt
  • High user acceptance as service reps become part of the creation process
  • KCS is technology independent (though easier to implement with verified software)

When is a non-KCS approach appropriate?

Your company’s policies and culture are important considerations when deciding whether implementing KCS is appropriate for your needs. Large companies can have more difficulties than younger ones for example. Employees are key to success and if they are unwilling to adapt or expand their role to include documentation creation, a KCS approach may not be suitable. This could stem from a lack of training, poor explanation of the benefits or from company culture.

Restrictive Policies Complicate KCS Implementation

Changing employee roles, e.g. from a passive consumer of information to active creator, can sometimes run afoul of internal policies, workflows or existing hierarchies. A change of culture coupled with some training is necessary to ensure that agents also produce quality content and follow basic guidelines for knowledge articles.

Additionally, some organizations already have clearly defined and inflexible content creation and editorial policies. This involves a set process of writing, editing and approval before publishing involving subject matter experts, editors and supervisors. Companies must take a critical look at their existing approach and KCS methodology to see which truly meet their needs versus. Implementing KCS without an overall organizational change can open the floodgates for duplicate content and have the opposite effect intended.

Four Reasons to Pick a non-KCS Approach:

  • Your company has restrictive policies for content creation and publishing requiring clear approval workflows
  • Your company’s editorial team wants to remain the central hub for knowledge
  • Agent adoption rates for creating new knowledge is low
  • A huge number of agents, making training and adoption too resource-intensive

Evaluate Honestly & Choose Appropriately

When implementing a knowledge base or management process, it is important to do an honest review of your requirements and the potential advantages and drawbacks of any change. KCS is not a magic bullet and partial implementation of the KCS framework could make more sense than a full one. Consider which approach fits your company’s culture and strategy and don’t be afraid to change approaches if yours hasn’t been successful before.

If you are interested in learning more about implementing a Knowledge Base, whether with a KCS or non-KCS approach, please contact us.

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