Optimizing IT Service Management with Knowledge-Centered Service

How to Measure Your KCS Success and Level Up Your Knowledge Base

Implementing Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS®) as part of your IT Service Management (ITSM) process is a great way to build up your knowledge base and invest in a self-service strategy that saves your organization time, resources, and money. But how can you accurately measure the success of your KCS initiatives and prove your ROI? We have some common KPIs (key performance indicators) you can use, as well as some best practices for implementing KCS within your organization. 

What is KCS and How Does it Help Level Up ITSM

Before we talk about how to measure KCS success, let’s talk about what it is. Knowledge-Centered Services (KCS), formerly known as Knowledge Support Centered Services or Knowledge Center Support, is a service method that focuses on knowledge – the implementation of organizations. To fully adopt a KCS, your teams must be able to easily and quickly use the knowledge base you create within your portal using IT service management (ITSM) software.

Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) is the perfect complementary strategy to self-service, as it can become the mechanism for creating and curating knowledge content that is already being collected as part of your help desk’s current troubleshooting and problem-solving efforts. By taking this knowledge and creating new articles in your knowledge base, you are providing more ways for anyone experience an issue to find the appropriate article and solve their problem without needing to put in a ticket. This not only saves you valuable time, but it allows your IT help desk resources the ability to focus on larger problems or issues instead of the most common requests like password reset help, or how to access a calendar to reserve a conference room.

Here are a few reasons why Knowledge-Centered Service can be so powerful:

  • Helps to continually lower inbound call volume.
  • Increases customer satisfaction.
  • Provides customers with the answers they need now.
  • Crowdsourcing knowledge helps maintain accurate content.
  • Offers opportunities for professional development and career progression.

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.

“Early on, we saw an 18-percent reduction in time logged to service tickets,”

- Paula Cottrell, knowledge manager

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.

KPIs For Measuring KCS Success

Once you have KCS in place you can use the following KPIs to track your organization’s success: 

Case Resolution 

  • Looking at both time to resolution and first contact resolution (FCR). 

Optimizing Your Use of Resources 

  • Ramp-up time for new resources and student technicians. 
  • Employee retention. 
  • Employee satisfaction. 

Self-Service Adoption 

  • IT Self-Service portal usage and traffic 
  • Call volume to the IT Service Management team. 

Organizational Learning / Knowledge Transfer 

  • IT Ticket quantity and volume. 
  • Call volume. 
  • IT Self-service Portal usage. 

KCS Best Practices from University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota (USD) has been implementing KCS best practices within its Information Technology Services (ITS) division. By collecting all information in a single, easily accessible knowledge base, ITS staff says they’ve avoided a lot of repetitive work and improved 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, created by leveraging Enterprise Service Management.   

“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.” 

Based on USD’s experience, Katharina Wymar, who heads the Project Management Office within ITS, and Cottrell shared these keys to successfully implementing KCS for your ITSM platform:  

  • 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.  

This article was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated with new information.

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