Knowledge management means creating, curating and managing all of the knowledge within your organization in a knowledge base and sharing it with your co-workers. Think manuals, documentation, FAQ and step-by-step plans. Service organizations can benefit greatly from knowledge management. When done right, it helps them spend less time on recurring calls, get happier customers, get new employees up to speed faster and make work more fun.
One of the best examples of successful knowledge management? Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia is basically one gigantic knowledge base with over 40 million articles, that can be easily accessed and searched by its customers – you, me and everyone else with an internet connection. New knowledge is contributed daily and existing articles are updated vigorously by an active community.
While knowledge management can be straight forward, within a lot of organizations, even those where IT service management is commonplace, it never really gets off the ground. Why? A lot of the time, the person in charge of knowledge management is simply unable to get around to it all. They’ll block out their Friday afternoons for writing and updating manuals, but end up spending those afternoons catching up on the growing list of calls.
Successfully implementing knowledge management into your organization requires a change in priorities. Something that can help you do that is Knowledge Centered Service (KCS), a methodology developed by the Consortium for Service Innovation. Using KCS, recording knowledge becomes your new objective, instead of processing calls. Why? Because a properly documented answer will help you resolve not just one call, but aid all clients who have the same question.
KCS is all about two elements: solve and evolve.
Solve: record or improve knowledge using the incoming calls. Here’s how it works: You receive a call. First, you check the knowledge base to see whether the question has been answered before. No? Record the question and your answer in the knowledge base and resolve the call. Is there an answer? See if it still holds up. If so, reuse it. If not, edit the answer so all your coworkers can use it next time around.
Evolve: once you’ve been solving calls for a while, you can start evolving. The Evolve stage is about everything you do to improve your knowledge management. This is the time to analyse your knowledge base: which answers are called up frequently, and how can you prevent those questions from being asked?
(All rights and interpretations on KCS belong to and continue to belong to the Consortium for Service Innovation and can be found on www.serviceinnovation.org.)
Now you know what knowledge management and KCS are, the next question is: why should you invest in these things? There are many reasons to do so. Let’s have a look at 4 of the most important reasons to invest in knowledge management and Knowledge Centered Service:
In our experience, knowledge management can cut the time to resolve recurring calls by 20% within 2 to 4 months. Around half of that time saved is used for supplementing and updating your knowledge base. This means you’ll reduce the average time to resolve recurring calls by 10%.
What this means? Let’s say your organization spends 200 hours a week processing calls. 75% of your calls could be resolved faster, if you would implement knowledge management. That means you would save about: 200 hours a week x 0.75 of calls x 0.10 = 15 hours every week. Tell one of your employees he or she can spend 2 days each week doing more valuable things, and share his or her response with us!