Skip to main content
Consortium for Service Innovation

Technique 4.1: Reuse is Review

Text Box: Who better to validate the accuracy of an article than the person who uses it?We have discussed the capture process and the reuse process. Now we will look at how day-to-day use of the knowledge base is review, and how we constantly improve the quality of the KCS articles that have value. The goal is to create a culture of collective ownership.  This is our knowledge base; it represents the best we know to date. And, in the moment of use, we are responsible for the quality of the articles with which we interact.

In most organizations, we know that up to 80% of KCS articles will rarely or never be reused. Of the remaining 20%, some will be reused a lot. The reuse pattern of articles always fits the 80/20 rule: 80% of the issues are solved by 20% of the knowledge base.  The first question that comes to mind is: why create them all, if most are not going to be used? The problem is that we cannot predict the future value of an experience. Here is the logic for this position:

Reuse patterns of articles for self-service are different than they are internally. There are those issues for which requestors will use self-service and are happy to find an answer, but they would not bother to use the assisted model (open an incident) to get an answer. Data from our members on the activity in the assisted model vs the self-service model is a ratio of 1 to 10 (assisted to self-service activity).  It seems that requestors will use a good self-service mechanism ten times more often than they will use the assisted model.  This data is based on customer facing support organizations in high tech. For more information on what makes for a "good" self-service mechanism see Technique 5.11: Self-Service Success.

Support organizations in high tech see less than 3% of the customer demand for support (see the Consortium's paper "A Demand Based View of Support" on the web site). 97% of support demand is served through self-service or online communities, forums, and social media. While we in support may have the best intentions, we don't have the context to make a judgment about the future value of what we learn from an interaction.

Text Box: If the issue is worth solving, it is worth saving.So, we capture all the knowledge worker experiences by linking, improving or, if it doesn't exist, creating articles. If the question is worth answering or the problem is worth solving, it is worth having in the knowledge base. Capture it and let the other KCS processes improve the quality of the articles that turn out to have value. If we implement KCS properly, the reuse, improve, or capture activity does not add to our handle time.  And, the future value we get from reuse can dramatically increase our capacity as well as our speed and consistency in providing resolutions.

In the early phases of adoption, we let reuse draw our attention to the articles that have value. By embracing the "reuse is review" practice, we are constantly improving the articles that are being used. For those articles that are never referenced, we have not wasted time reviewing them. This is an example of the fundamental KCS principle of a demand-driven system, and one of the reasons KCS is scalable and efficient. This demand-driven technique optimizes resource utilization and helps organizations avoid investment in dedicated quality assurance and editorial staff. Review during reuse also helps encourage timely availability of information and avoids costly and slow post-request knowledge engineering.

After we have Built Proficiency in the organization, we have enough KCS Publishers in the organization to do just-in-time publishing for articles we are confident about. To do this successfully, we must have a fast, closed loop mechanism for feedback; the requestors participate in the "reuse is review" process.  Requestors are very quick to point out articles that they don't understand or that don't work. With a just-in-time publishing model, we have to be able to respond with corrective actions quickly.

Reviewing every KCS article that is created is a huge waste of time and money. Articles should be written in a way that is sufficient to resolve the issue. In the Solve Loop, this means as responders we are responsible for the quality of the KCS articles we interact with. We improve KCS articles as we reuse them to increase the KCS article quality with each interaction. In this way, we focus only on those articles that are being used.  

The best people to create and review knowledge are the people who use it everyday.

Reuse is review reinforces this concept.

  • Was this article helpful?