Culture change with Knowledge-Centered Service
Adopting KCS involves changing the entire culture and mindset of an institution. “Culture change is never easy,” Wymar observes.
To get people to buy into the change, the university created a marketing and communications plan to highlight the benefits of KCS. The campaign included posters, games, and team-building activities. One poster simulated a concert flyer: “KCS Live at USD with Special Guest: 20% Time Savings!” A carnival-style game involved knocking down stacks of bottles intended to symbolize the challenges that KCS could help eliminate.
“There’s nothing like a competition to get ITS people moving,” Wymar says. “We wanted the teams to know why we were making this change and create excitement and acceptance — and it worked really well.”
The implementation team also developed elevator pitches to explain the concept of KCS and why it was important. They developed a “What’s In It For Me” document, as well as answers to skeptics’ questions. “Having skeptics on our team helped us anticipate those questions in advance,” Wymar says.
She notes: “Marketing and communication was a very important factor in the success of our implementation.”
Coyote One Stop
The university’s adoption of KCS hasn’t stopped with its ITS division. Not only can students find answers to their IT-related questions within the knowledge base, but they can also find answers to their questions about academics, registration, housing, financial aid, and more. USD’s knowledge base was rebranded as the Coyote One Stop.
In its first month, this one-stop-shop for customer self-service had more than 2,000 users and 31,000 page views. Six months later, “we were up to 31,000 users and 262,000 page views,” Cottrell says. The resource included nearly 5,000 knowledge articles, about two-thirds of which were publicly available.
One-Stop, KCS, and a Global Pandemic
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.
“With COVID, our hits went up tremendously,” Cottrell says. 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 their own experience, Wymar 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 the full session online.