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Consortium for Service Innovation

KCS Benefits

For Consortium Members who have been on the KCS journey for a few years, KCS has come to be known as the "great enabler." Capturing the organization's experience in a knowledge base proves to have many benefits. While the operational benefits of KCS are profound, there is a long list of functions that KCS enables (see KCS: The Great Enabler). If done well, KCS dramatically increases a team or function’s value proposition to its employees, its customers and to the organization.

KCS Benefits

KCS enables the organization to improve its ability to capitalize on what it collectively knows. The benefits happen over time and can be put into three general categories:

The near-term benefits of KCS, realized in the first 3-9 months, include:

  • Improved resolution times by 25-50% (improved capacity to handle requests)
  • Improved first call resolution and reduced escalations
  • Improved skills, job satisfaction, and confidence for the knowledge worker (less stress)

The mid-term benefits, realized in 9-18 months, include:

  • Dramatic improvement in user success with self-service
  • Reduced training time for new employees

Long-term benefits, realized in 18-36 months, include:

  • Business improvements based on patterns and trends of the user experience
    • Identifying improvements in features, functionality, processes, policies
  • Enabling the use of AI to improve user success in finding resolutions
  • Enabling analytics that provide predictive and preemptive capabilities (proactive customer engagement)

The degree to which the knowledge worker consistently reuses, links, improves, and - if it doesn't exist - captures knowledge as they resolve issues is directly related to the degree to which the organization will realize the benefits of KCS. Maximizing and sustaining dramatic KCS benefits is fundamentally about people and their understanding, buy-in, beliefs, and behaviors. The workflow model, content standard, and technology are enablers.

We have found that people aren’t likely to do things if they don’t understand why they are doing them. Therein lies the challenge. Everyone in the organization needs to understand the big picture. Said another way, the knowledge workers who do the Solve Loop have to understand how their participation enables the Evolve Loop, and benefits the people they're serving, the organization as a whole, and the knowledge workers themselves.

This is why the KCS adoption model focuses so much on leadership, coaching, and communication.

Coaching and validation of understanding through a licensing or proficiency model are important elements in promoting understanding and changing behaviors. To fully realize KCS success, the Solve Loop practices (capture, structure, reuse, improve) have to become a habit for knowledge workers, not something they occasionally do, or something only some of them do.

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The Power of Certification

The Consortium for Service Innovation, the only authorized certification body for KCS, offers rigorous, industry-level certification programs for some of the roles described both here and in the KCS v6 Practices Guide. The certification programs validate that individuals have an operational understanding of the KCS methodology. The criteria and exams for certification were developed by the members of the Consortium with guidance from a psychometrician (an expert in exam development and validation).

The organizations that have made use of the KCS certification programs are reaping the benefits of KCS. Knowledge workers who truly understand the methodology and how it can benefit them consistently create more value than those who don’t.

KCS Certification programs include:

  • KCS v6 Fundamentals   Entry-level certification for anyone interested in learning the basics of KCS.
  • KCS v6 Practices – Advanced-level certification for those demonstrating thorough, deep, and broad understanding of KCS.
  • KCS v6 Trainer – Advanced-level certification for experienced trainers who hold the KCS v6 Practices certification and intend to sell and deliver accredited KCS training.
  • KCS v6 Internal Trainer – Advanced-level certification for experienced trainers who hold the KCS v6 Practices certification and intend to deliver accredited KCS training within a specific company.

For a listing of official KCS workshops and certification offerings please visit the Consortium for Service Innovation.

KCS Enables Service Excellence

What do we mean by service excellence? The Consortium Members have defined service excellence as “maximizing customer-realized value from our products and services”. This simple definition is changing the role support plays within an organization. It opens up numerous opportunities beyond just resolving cases or incidents. Responding to requests (incidents or cases) is a one-to-one model. Responding to requests within a KCS implementation is a one-to-many model. It leverages what we learn while resolving requests.

The next question is what do we mean by “realized value”?

The baseline for value realization is a function of customer expectations. There are three key elements to value realization.

  1. Capability – If customers can accomplish what they expected with our offering, they are realizing value.
  2. Effort – If customers can accomplish what they expected with the expected amount of effort (in the expected amount of time), they are realizing value.
  3. Experience – If customers have a pleasant emotional experience while accomplishing what they expected, they are realizing value.

In the technology world, we often focus on these value factors in the order listed. That is, feature and functionality are often the top priority. However, in the hospitality industry, the order is reversed. Restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks (think Disney) focus first on the experience. No matter the order, each of the three elements contributes to a customer’s sense of value, measured against their expectations. As technology companies move from on-premise offerings to software as a service or cloud-based offerings, it requires a more balanced view of the importance of each of the three factors.

Value is an abstract thing; it is unique to each of us as individuals because it is based on our expectations and it is heavily influenced by our past experiences. This is why the customer expectation line in the model is wavy. Another dynamic about expectations is that the better we are at meeting or exceeding customer expectations, the higher the expectation becomes: expectations are not static. This is why the expectation line goes up over time. And, expectations about our products, services and interactions are not just set by us, they are influenced by the customer’s experiences with others. If other companies our customers interact with are improving the customer’s capability, reducing their effort, and creating a pleasant experience, it raises their expectations of us.

Value Erosion and Value Add

Two key concepts that are fundamental to the Consortium’s work are the Value Erosion and Value Add models. These models address the dynamics of maximizing customer value realization from our products and services.

Value erosion happens when a customer encounters an issue. We define an issue as anything that disrupts the customer’s ability to be successful with our products or services. It could be a question about how to do something, a feature not working as expected, or a question about a policy or process. Instead of getting their work done, the customer is now spending time pursuing a resolution to the issue. While the typical starting point for customers in pursuit of a resolution is to search Google, they will try a number of things to find a resolution. If they are unsuccessful in finding a resolution, and the issue is important, the customer may open a case or incident as the last resort. By this time, the value erosion is very deep.

We want to minimize value erosion by facilitating customer success in finding a resolution as early in their pursuit of a resolution as possible.

Value add is the other side of the value coin. Can we increase the customer’s capability, reduce their effort, and create a pleasant experience without them experiencing an issue? Customer service and support has lived in the value erosion model for years. The value add opportunity is the new frontier for service and support. It is dependent on knowing a lot about our customers, how they use our offerings, and how to better serve them. It is dependent on the quality and completeness of our data (or knowledge) and our ability to leverage emerging digital automation capabilities.

Our goal is to shift left over time.  That is....

How do we measure the reduction of value erosion and the enablement of value add? This paper describes the Consortium Members’ thoughts and experience on answering these questions.

It is a journey that starts with capturing knowledge. Knowledge is what enables us to minimize value erosion and create added value. As we have mentioned, a successful KCS adoption requires a shift from a relatively simple, transaction-based model to a broader, more complex value-based model. As we have explored this new measurement model a few key concepts have emerged.

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