Phase 3 has resulted in benefits for the employee and the business. The benefits include efficiencies gained from improving the workflow, internal reuse of knowledge, and a reduction in cost per incident. The benefits for the customer happen during Phase 4; the goal is to further improve operational efficiency while improving the customer experience and creating stronger customer loyalty.
Phase 4 entails:
One of the criteria for entering Phase 4 is that enough content has been collected in the knowledge base that customers have a 50% probability of finding something helpful through self-service. The indicator for this is that the internal Article reuse rate is equal to or greater than the create rate. In Phase 3 we use Article reuse as an indicator for content that has value, and as we start Phase 4 we want to move as much of the internally-reused content as possible to the self-service channel and enable self-service with the KCS knowledge base. As we move through Phase 4, we want to move away from using reuse counts as the deciding factor on what gets published to self-service to a judgment call on the part of the KCS Publishers. The goal? 90% of what is known internally will be published to self-service within 90 minutes. It is a bold goal.
We want to get as much of what we know internally to the self-service model as quickly as possible. This is because in mature KCS environments with effective self-service models, we see the reuse patterns of Articles are very different for self-service than they are for internal Articles. This is a result of the fact that most support organizations only see a very small percent (typically less than 3%) of the total customer demand for support (for more on this topic see the “Demand Based View of Support” presentation at www.thekcsacademy.net/kcs). This means customers don’t open an incident for the majority of the exceptions or issues they encounter. Data from Consortium for Service Innovation members shows that customers will use a good self-service mechanism ten times more often than they will use the assisted support model (support center). Internal reuse is a reasonable short-term indicator of the value of an Article, but in the long term, we want to enable customer to access most of what we know because they will often reuse Articles, or solve issues, through self-service for which they would never open an incident.
While many issues resolved by customers using self-service will be those for which they would not open an incident, some of their self-service success will be on issues for which they would have opened an incident. This means the nature of the work coming into the assisted model (support center) will shift over time. A higher percentage of incoming incidents will be new, as many of the known issues are now solved through self-service. As a result, Support Analysts will be spending more of their time solving new problems, and this results in a dynamic that may not have been expected.
As self-service becomes more effective, many of the traditional support measures will move in what traditional terms would be “the wrong direction.” Time to resolution and cost per incident will increase due to the fact that we have removed many of the known issues from the mix and it takes longer to solve new issues. This is reflected in the new vs known ratio, and is an excellent indicator of the effectiveness of your self-service model.
In Phase 4 we need to re-think support measures. Include customer success through self-service, and the impact support is having, by providing actionable feedback to product management and development about high value product improvements based on the patterns in the knowledge base. The health and contribution of the support organization can no longer be measured inside of support!