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Consortium for Service Innovation

Leadership Buy-In and Organizational Alignment


All our issues are unique, so does KCS even make sense for us?

A Support Manager said they cannot embrace KCS because of the way we do business. We have no level 1 support - our support acts as a level 2-3.  They don't have time to create articles and many of the tickets that come in are very customer-specific so a solution will be created once and never be used again.  How do I implement KCS when I have this pushback?

[Answer provided by Greg Oxton, 3 August 2017]

This is pretty typical pushback from the unenlightened. This attitude reflects a simplistic view of KCS - we capture knowledge because we have lots of redundant or known issues. Ironically, the more complex and unique the issues in the environment are, the more value KCS creates.  Frequency of article reuse (exact resolution is used) is valuable, but in complex environments the frequency of reference ("these two articles on a similar situation helped me solve a new issue") is more valuable.

Two thoughts:

1) When done correctly, the reuse, improvement, and (if it doesn't exist) creation of knowledge is done in the workflow. Once people learn how to do KCS, it does not add time to the handle time (really). When "search early, search often" becomes a habit, it improves productivity because people are quicker to recognize they are working on an issue that has already been resolved or they find out how others solved similar issues; they benefit from the collective experience of the organization in solving new but similar issues. If they are searching, the search terms and phrases are the content to improve and existing article or create a new article if one doesn't exist.

2) Most everyone thinks their work is unique - because if they aren't doing KCS, they don't have visibility to the many, many opportunities to reuse knowledge.  Ask those who say every case is unique and that capturing the knowledge would not be helpful the following questions:

  • Are you any better at your job now then you were the day you started? (They will likely say yes).
  • Why are you better? (they will say experience). is that experience that makes you more productive today than when you started that we want to capture in the KB!  It's not that we expect to reuse every article because the resolution is exactly the same. We want to capture and reuse our collective experience in answering questions and solving problems because that is helpful in solving other, similar issues.

In reality, if knowledge workers capture their experience in answering questions and solving problems, they will be amazed at how useful that is to them over time. And, if that experience (knowledge) is available to level 1 and ultimately to customers directly through self-service, it will reduce their workload (especially the easy/known/uninteresting stuff). It will improve level 1's effectiveness as well as the customer's productivity and success - both of which contribute to more interesting work for the people in level 2/3.

How do I get legal/compliance to let us do KCS?

We provide support and service to FDA medical devices, and currently we have support and service teams where the individuals are all utilizing their own personal knowledge (notepad files, onenote, access DBs, etc).  We were going to begin documenting our calls in such a way that they get flagged for review by our subject matter experts, who correct/modify and then approve for publishing (internally) so they can be searched and used by our support and service teams.

The compliance team says that these published calls can't be created/used, but acknowledges that there's no regulation on each person having their own notes. I worked at a previous organization where this very same issue was raised, but eventually the legal team was provided with something that allowed them to approve the process. I wasn't part of the legal discussions at my prior organization.

Can anyone provide any kind of reference to a webpage or KCS resource that I could have our legal team evaluate to understand the value and legality of KCS in a FDA regulated environment? To be clear, none of the cases will ever be made customer-facing (everything will stay internal).



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