The Hive Mentality: In this third part of our Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) series, we look at knowledge as a collective experience, and how the combined expertise and experience of the organization are far greater than that of any one individual. It’s about creating involvement and spreading the risks, without leaving anyone feeling minimized.
Embracing KCS as a new methodology is not easy, and requires a culture shift, with an accompanying adjustment of processes, measurements and sometimes, even, compensation. As companies move from a mindset of solely rewarding the individual for their personal skill set and experience to one that recognizes both the individual and also the team, a massive change occurs.
Collective gathering and sharing of information
A key factor in this change is recognizing that while subject matter experts (SME’s) are usually recognized as the ‘go to’ person in an organization, as environments change and new products and services are released, the ability of one person to have all of the information about a specific item becomes not only an impossibility, but also a liability. The rapid pace of change within organizations has outstripped the ability of most employees to keep up. In addition, the sheer thought of a company being put in the position of not knowing how to solve an issue, because the only employee(s) who knows how to do so leave the company, strikes fear into the heart of any leader.
KCS gives us a process for reducing this risk, by motivating and encouraging a hive-like mentality, much like what occurs in bees, ants and other insects that work together for a common good. Just as these tiny communities pass information back about a food source, danger to the hive, or any other change that is occurring, the best practice is for all individuals to contribute their own knowledge, thus aggregating ALL of the information into one source that can be accessed by everyone.
To benefit from the differences
An organization need to look only as far as their ticketing system (or knowledge solution) to see example after example of how the collective experience can benefit the organization. For example, either while performing ticket quality assurance assessments or, most often seen, during problem management research and discovery, it is relatively easy to note how different solutions can be presented to identical issues by different people. Not only does wording vary from person to person, but the steps and depth of each solution can present a wide range of possibilities, and each one of them can be correct!
KCS gives us a process for reducing the risk of losing information, by motivating and encouraging a hive-like mentality.
Making the changes positive for everyone
By capturing the information that the organization is collectively experiencing through interactions with both the customer and each other, the bottle neck approach of a SME holding all the pertinent information is relieved, and along with it, the fear that all knowledge could walk out the door one day. Getting to this stage, however, can be a challenge, in that SME’s recognize their skillset, knowledge and abilities and can be concerned that, from their view, ‘once everything is documented, there won’t be a need for them’.
While a common concern, this can easily be addressed by showing the progress and forward direction of the organization, and the continued need for the SME’s to learn the new products and services which will be released in coming months and years. In addition, their skill sets often translate into additional responsibilities and new roles as the organization evolves and grows, a career path which should be shared with them.
Finally, rewarding and recognizing their contributions is vital to KCS, a component which we will cover next time, when we return with Gamification!
Brandon Caudle, Customer Experience Visionary, CustomerServiceVoodoo