In Part One of this post, we began a discussion surrounding the eight steps to achieving knowledge-centered support, beginning with the four steps of the solve loop:
- Capture knowledge.
- Structure knowledge.
- Reuse knowledge.
- Improve knowledge.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Do you think you can reach nirvana by laying down your yoga mat, lighting a few soy candles, dusting off your meditation beads, and then leaving to make a sandwich? Of course not. It’s time to close the loop.
The next step in achieving knowledge-centered support nirvana through the KCS double process loop is the evolve loop. Once you have identified a solution to a problem experienced by the customer and documented the process (the solve loop), you transition into the evolve loop. The purpose of this process is to maintain the knowledge you’ve already captured so that it serves your customers and customer support reps to its maximum potential.
The evolve loop is comprised of the following four steps:
You can have all the content in the world stored in your knowledge sharing community, but if that content isn’t relevant, up-to-date, and organized logically, it isn’t doing your customer support team or your customers much good.
To assess the health of the content in your community, answer these five questions about each piece of content:
- Does the title of the document clearly reflect the content?
- Does the content use keywords consistent with your organization’s message and with other content living in your community?
- Is the structure of the content uniform with other content in the community?
- Is the content original (i.e. not a duplicate)?
- Is the content accompanied by metadata?
If you find that a piece of content fails to meet one or more of these requirements, don’t panic. These are extremely easy fixes to make that will ensure the knowledge in your community is best serving your customers and your customer support team. Some knowledge management solutions offer tools such as duplicate reports, which alert you when duplicate content has been uploaded, as well as content curation tools and professional services to assist you in keeping your content healthy.
Pro-tip: Many organizations struggle to keep the structure of content uniform in their communities. If this is an issue for your organization, try creating a few pre-approved templates for reps to use as they document knowledge and processes.
The purpose of taking all of these steps to achieve knowledge-centered support is, first and foremost, to give your customers the absolute best customer support experience possible. For that reason, a knowledge management system that integrates with your CRM and helpdesk or ticket tracking system is critical.
This integration means that customer support reps have the information they need to solve customers’ problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In addition to assessing the health of the content living in your knowledge management system, it’s important to review the performance of customer support agents. Where many team leaders make a mistake is in how they evaluate performances. Customer support teams moving towards knowledge-centered support should not evaluate team members based on their individual knowledge. They should evaluate team members based on the quality and quantity of what they contribute to communal company knowledge.
If you find knowledge hoarding is an issue in your team, you may need to reassess your team’s structure. Make sure every team member has a clearly assigned role with evenly distributed responsibilities that promote collaboration.
Leadership and Communication
This leads us to our final step in the loop: leadership and communication. The leadership team is ultimately responsible for keeping team members collaborating, and the best way to do this is to set goals.
Setting collaboration goals for your team members, like how many times a week they should post content, or how often they should comment on others’ posts, provides your team with collaboration guidelines that will set them up for knowledge-centered support success. Consider publishing a leaderboard to publicly acknowledge support team members who are consistently contributing and consuming content.
Communicate these goals by creating a post in your community; not only will this foster collaboration, but it will encourage others to document everything and post regularly in your knowledge management system.
And there you have it. The final four steps to achieving knowledge-centered support nirvana. Don’t forget that the process is not linear: it’s a loop. It’s never finished! As you continue to gain new knowledge and maintain that knowledge, your customers’ experience will continue to improve.