KCS vs Knowledge Engineering

What are the differences between KCS (Knowledge-Centered Service) and Knowledge Engineering, and how can the support organization benefit from leaving knowledge engineering mode? Read how an organization can make everyone a winner with focus on immediate action and relevant content.

Knowledge engineering

As we attend conferences, discussion groups and professional forums, we sometimes hear a similar challenge brought up in reference to knowledge, that of the perceived amount of time required to successfully enable knowledge in the workplace. Most organizations are stretched to the max, and the mere thought of taking someone away from their day-to-day work in order to ‘work on knowledge’ is enough to cause provoke heartburn in any manager. Interestingly, as we participate in discussions around this issue, the topic usually turns into a discussion about the difference between knowledge engineering and knowledge centered support (KCS).

Editing only the reused articles is time saver #1

While KCS is a mainstream function of most companies today, we still find that some organizations are stuck in a knowledge engineering mode, and unable to move forward and progress. As an industry, we see successful enterprises that have evolved from knowledge engineering to KCS, and whether an ongoing program or an active initiative, the amount of time saved is tremendous.

For example, with legacy knowledge processes, (knowledge engineering), dedicated staff (or in many cases, just one lonely person) have to go through each article to make sure that the content is correct, the style and formatting meet the requirements of the company and that every time a change is introduced, the appropriate knowledge articles are updated. Countless man hours have been wasted on dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘t’, in most cases to find out that 90% or more of the articles were never used.

Fortunately, with KCS, no time is mis-spent, as articles are reviewed and finessed only when they are reused. If the article is never reused, no time is spent editing it. Looking at a typical company with several thousand articles on up to tens of thousands, the labor savings alone is a great return on investing in KCS.

Immediate action and solution is time saver #2

The second time savings is that of immediate availability. As a rule, issues follow a long J pattern, with the majority of contacts to support occurring in the first minutes, hours and days, as a sharp spike, and then trailing off as issues are resolved through painstaking trial and error, and solutions are shared in email exchanges, instant messages, and even paper notes scribbled when verbally sharing the resolution or workaround. With knowledge engineering, the dedicated team mentioned above has to process the issue, come up with a solution (usually involving other teams), then create, review, edit, and finally share the solution, usually days or weeks after the issue has ceased.

With KCS, anyone can provide the solution, which is made available immediately for internal support use, so that as the issue grows in volume and the tell-tale call, email and chat spike occurs, a fraction of the time is spent, since the solution is known and documented. Time is saved, customers are happy, and the support teams are less stressed.

To be fair, starting KCS does require time, it requires training, and it requires a tool that can handle the demands of the KCS processes. However, the payoff is huge, the time savings shown above are realized quickly, and as the processes continue to evolve and improve in the organization, truly everyone wins!

Brandon Caudle, Customre Experience Visionary, CustomerServiceVoodoo

Related links:

Using Self Service and KCS to reduce support cost

Meeting customer needs with KCS

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