Knowledge Centered Service (KCS®), like the name suggests, is a methodology that treats product knowledge and content as the core asset when dealing with customer service. It aims to move away from a system where people are the key asset, and support can be made better simply by throwing more agents at the problem.
Before diving into exactly what KCS® is, lets start with answering the question of why it exists, and the problems it solves.
Why the need for something different?
In the past, and sometimes still today, knowledge is often trapped with employees. Support workers, product owners, developers; if a question is received by a support agent, and the information they need is only known by one person, then the agent needs to spend time and effort contacting that person to get the info needed. If that knowledge holder isn’t around, then your customer could be in for a long wait time.
Not only this, but knowledge bases can often fall into disrepair. As features are added, the UI changes, and products are updated, content should be added and updated in turn. If strict update schedules aren’t kept (and let's face it, they often aren't) content can often not reflect the app users are seeing. The only thing worse than having no content at all is having wrong content, and if you happen to have a mix of both of those, it’s a world of hurt for your users and your team.
This is where KCS® steps in to help. With whole company buy-in, knowledge is better shared and easier accessed. You will begin to see quicker and easier case resolutions, more cases resolved on first contact, and an easier time completing knowledge based tasks (like customer support).
So how is it done? In short, the KCS® process is a cycle. Every time information is needed or used, the information must be documented in a central content store, which is available to all who might need to use that info in future. When that information is next needed, it’s easily found and used to solve the issue at hand.
Here's an example of the most common KCS® use case - support tickets.
- A service rep receives a support ticket
- The rep searches the content store for a relevant snippet or document to resolve the ticket with, but doesn’t find anything.
- The ticket is eventually resolved by sourcing the info from somewhere or someone else.
- The rep adds the knowledge needed to solve the ticket to the content store so it is accessible to everyone from then on.
- Anytime similar tickets arrive now, they’re solved with a simple search as in step 2.
Without KCS® in place, the full process outlined above repeats over and over every time a new support ticket comes in; time gets wasted and everyone get frustrated. With KCS® in place, repeats of the same ticket are solved quicker and easier, leading to a better experience not just for the customer sending it in, but also for the support agent responding to the ticket.
TL:DR; KCS® is a strategy which brings knowledge out of a select few hands and makes it accessible to everyone. This is done by implementing a cycle whereby once any piece of knowledge is needed, it is automatically added to a central content store, that anyone can access.