Knova KM Business Drivers

Resolutionary initiatives need resolutionary software.

Knova KM Business Drivers

You have goals in mind for your business. Whether they are general objectives around building customer satisfaction and loyalty, or specific objectives to follow a set of industry standards, such as KCS sm Verified or ITIL, we know your pain and we offer the experience and tools to get the job done. Learn more about KM solutions for these common initiatives:

Knowledge Centered Support (KCS)

Historically, customer service and support organizations have recognized the value of knowledge management, but they’ve struggled to implement it successfully. In some cases, they’ve hired a team of content developers to write answers to frequently asked questions. But that’s an expensive approach, and it’s surprisingly hard to know what questions really are “frequently asked.” And, dedicated writers may not have the necessary technical skills.

Another approach is to have subject experts take time away from the case queue to write knowledgebase content. While the resulting answers are technically accurate, they may not be easy for customers or junior staff to understand, and they may cover issues that are interesting to the author, but relatively rare in the real world. Besides, subject experts are busy and knowledge authoring usually takes second priority to dealing with high-priority customer issues.

In any event, once content is written it may wait for a long time in review queues or simply go out of date.

KCS℠ TO THE RESCUE

Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS℠ ) is a best practice designed to make knowledge management an efficient part of all support operations. First developed in 1994 by members of the Consortium for Service Innovation, KCS captures content as a byproduct of resolving customer issues; improves content based on demand, usage, and feedback; and reuses knowledge to make each customer interaction more efficient and consistent.

Unlike conventional approaches that treat knowledge management as a separate job, KCS isn’t a process that happens outside of service delivery—it becomes the way organizations deliver service.

TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO ENABLE KCS

While KCS is not tied to any particular technology, it does require tools to support the practices. To help service and support organizations evaluate KCS technology, the Consortium sets knowledge management tool requirements and verifies compliance through a strict evaluation process. The Knova Knowledge Management solution has been specifically designed to meet the needs of those organizations dedicated to following Knowledge-Centered Support, and has been KCS Verified v4 by the Consortium for Service Innovation.

Visit the Consortium's website to learn more about the KCS Verified program and Knowledge-Centered Support in general.

HOW KNOVA SUPPORTS KCS BEST PRACTICES

Below is a high level summary of why Knova has been KCS Verified v4:

Capture in the Workflow

Structure for Reuse

  • Flexible authoring in simple structured templates with configurable metadata.
  • Auto-tagging and adaptive guided search take advantage of KCS solution structure.
  • Searches are automatically launched from case details.

Searching is Creating

  • Pre-built templates and workflows for KCS.
  • Search strings and incident notes can be reused to start the knowledge capture process on a single screen.

Just-in-Time Knowledge Quality

  • Users can flag documents for correction or enhancement.
  • Certified users can improve documents directly.
  • Customers can provide document feedback.

Workflow

  • Incident management and knowledge management can be integrated into a single KCS workflow.

Content Vitality

  • B-loop content (support actions, process wizards, multimedia) is supported, as is responding to flags and customer feedback.

Performance Assessment

  • Role-specific dashboards for measuring KCS and operational activities, outcomes, and quality

Leadership

  • Technology that works better for people and supports KCS processes makes it easier to adopt and sustain KCS.

KM for the IT Help Desk & ITIL

Driven to improve employee productivity and optimize IT operations, organizations have invested substantial time and capital deploying help desk solutions, particularly call tracking and case management systems. While these products provide excellent routing and tracking of customer issues and questions, the lack of ready access to proven solutions still hinders service and support agents from delivering fast, relevant, consistent answers to customer and employee questions across multiple touch points.

As IT organizations face tight budgets and headcount restrictions that threaten to reduce the quality of service, IT’s role is being expanded to be the single point of contact for both IT and non-IT issues.  And too often, help desks are plagued by the lack of a centralized, accessible knowledge base; requiring support representatives to escalate calls, consult colleagues or struggle through complex keyword searches to find answers buried in documents. 

Knova provides help desks with ITIL compliant solutions that transform disparate sources of IT information into a shareable knowledge resource that can be easily integrated into your case management system. Using Knova Knowledge Management, relevant answers are readily available to employees through agent-assisted support or self-service via an intranet or portal, enabling the help desk to improve contact resolution metrics, responsiveness and employee satisfaction, while lowering staff turnover.

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT TOOLS

The first component of an effective problem resolution system is the knowledge base. Knova Knowledge Central is a KCS Verified solution that provides robust knowledge access and creation tools, with an intuitive workflow, ensuring a quality knowledge repository. Organizations can create structured knowledge within Knova, and access unstructured information sources. Administrators can control system access and usage based on user profile or role within the help desk.

For agents, search results return the most likely resolutions to the employee’s issue. If an answer is not available in the system, agents can contribute new solutions to the knowledge base directly from the user interface. By enabling immediate access to the right knowledge, Knova enables agents to improve productivity through reduced call times, increased first-call resolution and improved agent training time.

OPTIMIZING KEY ITIL PROCESSES

Service Desks, IT help desks and other customer service organizations are increasingly being tasked with adhering to the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework in their operations. But while ITIL is a powerful starting point, it doesn’t specify the detailed processes or technology approaches for its implementation.

In particular, it doesn’t speak directly to the role knowledge management (KM) plays in accelerating these ITIL initiatives. This means ITIL provides no practical details on how to:

  • Resolve service and support incidents more efficiently.
  • Empower staff to avoid incidents.
  • Identify the root cause of repeated or high-impact problems.
  • Design reliable, usable, serviceable applications.

KNOVA KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT, TIGHTLY INTEGRATED WITH INCIDENT MANAGEMENT FILLS THIS GAP

Integrated incident and knowledge management helps organizations implement four key ITIL processes:

  • Incident Management, the process of detecting and recording problems through to resolution and closure. Knova helps service desk staff capture resolutions and search effectively and accurately for known resolutions, reusing knowledge to make incident closure faster and more consistent.
  • Availability Management, the process responsible for ensuring that the availability of each service meets or exceeds targets. Knova can access information in the ITIL-specified Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB) to proactively push highly relevant alerts, downloads, and configuration health checks to end-users or IT system administrators.
  • Service Management, the process describing how applications are released, delivered, and optimized. Knova provides Voice-of-the-Customer insight from self-service activity and service desk knowledge use to create more informed requirements for upgrades and enhancements to deployed applications.
  • Problem Management, the continuous improvement process designed to minimize the impact of problems and incidents to the business. The core of problem management is root cause analysis. Because Knova makes it easy for agents to link from incidents to categorized knowledge, the service desk can run reports to list the causes of the most common or highest-impact incidents. Automated classification of knowledgebase content, incidents, and searches makes incident coding universal, consistent, and accurate.

ITIL provides a proven framework for managing IT processes and running your service desk cost effectively. The Knova Knowledge Management solution both complements and enhances ITIL, maximizing the success of your ITIL initiatives. Read more about Knova then contact us to discuss your needs.

EMPLOYEE SELF-SERVICE

Organizations can also provide end-users with access to the Knova knowledge base via self-service on the company’s intranet or corporate portal. Knova Self-Service is a powerful, browser-based application that allows your employees to easily access dynamic FAQs and answers though an intuitive knowledgebase search. Returning the answers that proved most successful in the past ensures a more satisfying interaction by helping users quickly find the right answer. If necessary, the query can easily be escalated to a help desk agent.

REPORTING

Once a knowledge management system is in place within the IT help desk, it’s important to track and report on the results. Are your agents using the knowledgebase to answer questions? Are they contributing new knowledge? What questions are being asked most frequently, and which solutions are most successful in proving answers? Are self-service users finding answers quickly? Are they satisfied?

Knova Analytics provides role driven dashboards that allow managers to track all of these things and much more, allowing you to dramatically improve workplace efficiency and productivity.

Call Center Knowledge Management

A Gallup poll cited in the book Now Discover Your Strengths asked 198,000 employees a simple question: “At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” The results were striking. When employees answered “yes” to this question, they were 50 percent more likely to work in business units with lower turnover and 44 percent more likely to have higher customer satisfaction scores. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of survey respondents answered an emphatic “yes.” Call centers seeking to maximize their performance must engage and expect the best from all of their staff. Knova Knowledge Management can help.

Like all employees, call center agents have basic needs: a safe workplace, a reasonable supervisor, and fair pay. But (according to research by Frederick Herzberg) what inspires employees is their sense of achievement, how they’re recognized, and the nature of the work itself.

INSPIRING WITH ACHIEVEMENT

Call center agents and support professionals like helping people—it’s in their DNA. They also like solving problems. Integrating knowledge management capabilities into their workflow can motivate them by helping them achieve more than they otherwise could.

  • Knowledge at their fingertips makes even new agents effective.
  • Capturing or improving knowledge in the course of working on a case means agents are not just solving one problem; they’re helping their colleagues and customers solve the problem many times.
  • Agents who are empowered to capture and edit knowledge feel trusted.

INSPIRING WITH RECOGNITION

The flip side of achievement is recognition. Even something as simple as a heartfelt “thank you” from a customer can be a big boost. Knova helps agents get the recognition they deserve.

  • By tracking all contributors to knowledge articles, everyone gets credit for the benefit delivered by knowledge. Consider making agent names (or more anonymous forum-style “handles”) visible on all documents—it feels good, and it boosts quality.
  • More satisfied customers give more positive feedback.
  • Comprehensive dashboards show agents—and their managers—the value that their knowledge is creating for peers and customers.

INSPIRING WITH THE WORK ITSELF

Good agents don’t want to be on a case-handling treadmill where they’re handling the same old question day in and day out. Knowledge sharing and reuse makes the work more interesting.

  • Effective self-service reduces the volume of redundant issues in the caseload.
  • A case tracking system that is tightly integrated with knowledge management streamlines the agent’s workflow and reduces duplicative work.
  • Increased efficiency leaves time for more interesting activities such as lab time, training, or delivering value-added services.

The bottom line: best practices in knowledge management in conjunction with highly effective tools designed to support the practices, makes call center agents happier and more effective, increasing their loyalty, their ability to delight customers, and their effectiveness. With Knova, agents will honestly be able to answer that they strongly agree that they do have the opportunity to do what they do best, every day.

Self-Service Initiatives

There’s no secret technique for getting customers to use self-service. Most customers want to help themselves—they’d far rather get the answer quickly and easily online. If too many customers are calling or opening cases, the prescription isn’t just to manipulate them or market to them—the first thing to do is to make sure that they’re getting the help they need from the web site. If customers can’t accomplish their tasks online, it doesn’t matter how well support organizations promote eService: customers will end up back on the phone sooner or later, and they’ll be reluctant to try the web next time.

Industry figures show customers are unsuccessful with self-help 50 percent of the time or more. What barriers get in the way of success? Why can’t self-help be as effective as agent assistance for most issues?

VIRTUAL AGENTS MISS THE POINT

One theory is that self-service should more closely emulate human interactions—perhaps with a virtual chat interface and a smiling picture. But these virtual representatives or “chatterbots” aren’t the solution—while they often demo well, the complexity of carrying on an automated chat makes them hard to maintain and difficult for users to engage with. For all but the most common issues, automated agents become easily confused and don’t live up to the seeming intelligence their clever personas advertise.

MAKING SELF-SERVICE EASY FOR CUSTOMERS

What’s far more important is that self-service makes it easy for customers to achieve their goals in the fewest possible steps. For example, think of the most broadly adopted self-service technology: automated teller machines. ATMs look and act nothing like bank tellers, but they handle a few teller transactions simply and quickly, 24/7. Although they were broadly deployed just three decades ago, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without ATMs now.

Self-service in technical support should work the same way. Customers will generally pick self-service over an agent when:

  • It’s clear what transactions are handled and what steps the user needs to take.
  • The site is organized around users’ needs, not internal silos.
  • Search is designed to respond to user words and perceptions, not internal technical jargon.
  • Search results give users the option to drill down further using a manageable number of follow-on choices.
  • Answers and information are relevant to the users’ needs, timely, up-to-date, understandable, and useful.

Timely, useful information is a result of effective knowledge management practices. But the technology infrastructure for self-service must enable ATM-like transparency, even in complex problem domains. To quote an engineering maxim, “the simple things should be simple…and the complex things should be possible.”

AGENT-QUALITY SELF-SERVICE & KNOVA

The bottom line: customers will use self-service if it helps them accomplish their tasks more quickly and easily than talking with an agent. With compelling content, great search that guides them through the process of finding the information they need, and a customer-in support portal, that’s just what service and support organizations can deliver with Knova Self-Service.