ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Knowledge Centered Support: Making It Work for Your Contact Center

On April 25th, many of our community members tuned in for a webinar led by Paul Jay (Founder and Director, Best Practice Establishment), Nav Chakravarth (Vice President, Oracle Knowledge Product Management), and Monique Cadena (Knowledge Centered Support Manager, Avaya).  It was a lively discussion around the keys to Knowledge Centered Support (KCS).  In case you missed it, or would like a refresher, you can view the webinar here.

During and following the webinar we received so many (21, actually!) great questions that we did not have the time to answer them all in the hour allotted.  Rest assured, we have not forgotten about your questions!  In fact, I recently had the chance to speak with Paul, Nav, and Monique, and have compiled all the findings.  You can view a complete Q&A here, but for now I’ll touch on some of the highlights.

To quickly recap, the webinar highlighted the four keys to employ for successful KCS:

1. View knowledge content creation as a by-product of solving issues.
2. Evolve content based on demand and knowledge.
3. Develop knowledgebase from the collective experience to-date.
4. Reward learning, collaboration, sharing, and improvement.

We covered a lot of ground, so there were a variety of questions, but we saw an overarching theme.  Community members want to know how to make KCS sucessful at their contact centers.

So, we'll address that in a little more detail now.

How Do You Staff for KCS?

One of the most commonly asked questions was: “How do you staff for KCS?”  Many contact centers struggle to figure out who should own KCS, and how.  Both Paul and Monique weighed in, agreeing that it’s critical to have a dedicated staff focused on KCS.

“I recommend having a dedicated Knowledge Manager / KCS Process owner. I like this role to be part of the Service Management Office (SMO). The KCS process will then championed by a number of KCS Coaches within the support organisation,” said Paul Jay.

What if your organization doesn’t have the resources to support a dedicated staff of KCS personnel?  Is it still possible to be successful?

According to Paul Jay, that’s a tricky question.

“The definition of ‘successful’ here is key,” says Paul.” Most instances of knowledge bases where there are dedicated individuals managing the content fail, due to single point sensitivity, workflow  bottlenecks, slow availability times, and out dated information. It’s no good having perfect pristine knowledge if it’s stuck in someone’s in-tray, out of date, unsearchable and un-findable.
Knowledge must be accessible on demand and updated on demand to stay current and fresh.”

Which brings us to another question.

How do you keep the content fresh, and encourage agents to stay engaged and make updates to KCS articles? 

Many of you wanted advice on ways to keep it fun, and Paul Jay recommends “gamifying” the process.  Nothing’s more motivating than a little friendly competition.

How you decide to structure the competition is up to your individual organization.  Determine what system you’ll use to measure “winners” and decide what form of competition works best for your culture.  Looking for a specific example?  Jay Paul shares a really creative way one financial services firm approached the process.

“One large financial services company agreed on the metrics, behaviours and weightings and ended up having a report/dashboard that would be reviewed every week at their team meeting each Friday afternoon. They invented a game called ‘who’s the joker’ where they would identify 5 high knowledge contributors and 5 poor knowledge contributors,” said Paul. “They would play a game of cards against each other. The top performers would play off for a prize (spinning wheel options) and would be labelled ‘Knowledge ACE’ and the bottom performers would play off for allocated knowledgebase cleaning time and be labelled ‘Knowledge Joker’. It was a lot of fun, and the team would get so loud, you had to give up working on the floor until their meeting was over. “

How does KCS impact employees?  Does overall engagement increase?

Certainly, for the financial services firm Paul referenced, KCS helped increase employee engagement.  Is this true for other industries?  Specifically, what about for the engineers at Avaya? Monique Cadena says yes.

“Once engineers understood the "benefits - positive impacts" to their workloads they were more willing to participate or engage,” said Cadena. “Some benefits include: reduced escalations, reduced direct labor per case, reduced repeat issues, the ability to publish demand content in a timely manner and the opportunity to identify others working on similar issues (opening the door for collaboration).”

How do you support this system while at the same time integrating the most recent information in training for new hires?

On another personnel related note, a few other community members were curious about integrating KCS into the overall training process.  Monique Cadena offers two pieces of advice on this front.

“First of all, we follow the KCS Best Practice of capturing both the customer context (customer words), and the employee clarification (employee words).  Both items are also areas for improvement in the "flag it or fix it" process where users can enhance an article by adding newly discovered symptoms or interpretations of the issues,” said Cadena. “Secondly, our search engine uses a company specific dictionary, as well as a "high tech" dictionary that correlates synonyms to match content for the varying queries.  For example, searching for "Find IP address" will return the same results as searching for"Find Internet Protocol address".  It is important to test search accuracy at least twice a year as well as add new concepts as they are discovered.”


Don’t see your question answered here?  Head over to the  comprehensive Q&A for more answers. Have questions or comments about the advice provided?  Feel free to comment here, or continue the conversation on LinkedIn , Facebook , or Twitter .  We welcome the discussion!