Four ways to improve knowledge management using Knowledge-Centered Service

ServiceNow customers enjoy improved knowledge management

Worldwide there are 5 billion searches a day, of which Google processes 3.5 billion, or 40,000 per second. More than half of web searches now come from a mobile phone, and this trend is not limited to consumers; businesses are also being impacted. ServiceNow customers, partners, and employees are searching for relevant information, both on their desktops and on mobile devices, to self-solve their own issues.

This increase in search--along with a 12% annual growth in customer cases--meant ServiceNow Customer Support had to rethink its knowledge management strategy. “We had to make it faster and easier for both our customers and technical support engineers (TSEs) to search, retrieve, and share relevant knowledge quickly,” said Ravneet Gill, senior director, Technical Support, ServiceNow. “We had to rethink how we captured, shared, and curated our content.”

That’s when Knowledge-Centered Service® entered the picture. “KCS® has been an industry best practice for more than 20 years,” said Lynda King, director of knowledge management at ServiceNow. “It enables us to create content as a by-product of solving customer issues. Access to knowledge is easily integrated into a Support workflow so we reduce our time to resolution. KCS is not something we do in addition to solving cases, it is the way we solve cases.”

Knowledge-Centered Service quote

4 keys to successful knowledge management
During the past two years, Gill and King have partnered to implement KCS as part of ServiceNow® Customer Service Management. In the process of creating a Customer Support operation that uses knowledge as part of case resolution, they learned several lessons:    

1.    Knowledge is primarily about people. The people who create and use knowledge everyday should be the ones to capture and maintain knowledge. Knowledge can be leveraged by our customers to help our customers. Our implementation enabled us to increase our content contributors from a small group (5% of the team) to a model where the entire team is motivated to capture and re-use content.  

2.    Knowledge must be relevant. We provided coaching in the KCS process to ensure we could sustain the behavior change. Coaching helps our engineers write and share relevant information quickly. Once the team is trained, a KCS coach acts as  a peer  who ensures the new behaviors are maintained during the first 60 days of training. Last year, our TSEs created more than 10,000 new Knowledge Base (KB) articles, keeping our knowledge base full of fresh information.

3.    Knowledge needs teamwork. Collective knowledge comes from creating knowledge assets that the entire Support team can share and use across all of our global sites. TSEs also are happier because they aren’t answering the same questions over and over and are resolving their cases much faster. Fresh content also helps new hires get up to speed on products faster. We’ve seen an 87% increase in the attach rate of KB articles to cases, confirming that TSEs are using KB articles to solve their cases.

4.    Knowledge must be accessible. We made sure knowledge is searchable from whatever point a customer enters the ServiceNow support system and from any device (mobile phone, desktop, tablet). Knowledge is served up at multiple times: when a customer is asking a question in the portal, submitting a case, asking a question in the community, or searching the KB or product documentation. It is served up in the ServiceNow community, where customers can escalate unanswered questions and create a case. Much of the information is also accessible to public search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Knowledge capture reduces the mean time to response for customers. As search accuracy rises, service levels improve and operating costs decrease. We’ve seen dramatically faster case resolution, improved agent training, and more satisfied customers. During the first quarter of 2020, we saw a 52% reduction in median time to relief when a KB article was attached to a case.

Automation is a key factor in our journey to digitally transform ServiceNow

Automation is a key factor in our journey to digitally transform ServiceNow. At the root of this success is the ability to continually deliver knowledge that is timely, relevant, and accessible. We do this by keeping the customer experience front and center in every discussion when implementing new product features. In addition to improving the productivity and experience of our TSEs, each new feature must make work, work better for customers.

Check out our Getting Started with Knowledge Management video series for insights on creating an impactful program:

  • The First Step in Your Knowledge Management Journey: Governance

  • The Second Step in Your Knowledge Management Journey: Implementation

  • The Third and Final Step in Your Knowledge Management Journey: Operationalization

The KCS® methodology is a registered service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation.

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