Knowledge Centered Support

By Dick Stark

On Wednesday, RightStar and RightAnswers hosted a webinar, How Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) Methodology Can Empower Your Service Organization. This “mini-class” described the methodology behind KCS and the value that good knowledge management (KM) provides. Most eye-opening was a statement by RightAnswers that one of their customers saved $3M annually as a result of improved KCS.

RightAnswers KCS

The value of good KM to me is obvious and real. Last week, my laptop died right before a presentation to a group of IT executives at a F500 prospect. (Fortunately, I had a hard copy backup.) Later I called our service desk and was helped via remote control. The agent googled “laptop won’t boot all the way up,” but there were too many scenarios to sort through. He suspected this was a disk error and made the decision to drive to HQ to provide the fix. Had we had a better KM system in place, this trip may have been avoidable and the cost to RightStar significantly less. So how can KM help situations like this at RightStar and other organizations?

Address Mean time to Know. MTTK is the amount of time it takes to figure out how to solve the problem.  Forrester reports that MTTK is 68% of the total time required to resolve a problem, meaning shortening MTTK can significantly reduce the cost of solving an issue. RightAnswers stated that a good KCS process could cut this cost in half or more.  Since the average support call costs $75, according to Gartner, than reducing MTTK can save as much as $50 per call.

Self-Service Success.  A successful KM system must be fast, articles must be easy to find, and the system must be user friendly. There must be enough articles and the user-experience must be outstanding enough to ensure user adoptability and repeat business.

Knowledge Impact on Self-Service Channels. According to the State of Unassisted Support 2013, only 49% of self-service searches are successful. This means that more than half the time, users end up calling the service desk. This contrasts significantly with RightAnswers own customer survey where 78% of self-service channel searches were successful. This means that when users find their own answers, they don’t call the service desk. This increases user adoption and lowers costs

RightAnswers also found that self-service channel success is due to the user interface, search ability, and knowledge.  Of the three, a clean and accurate knowledge database was most significant to success.

In reality, users will search anywhere. End users are not concerned with source or company standards.  They just want results quickly.  Likewise, support agents also browse online and create knowledge articles based on web results. Fortunately, external databases such as Google and RightAnswers can co-exist and service desks should promote the value of KM and search engine integration.

One thing is certain: IT is becoming more and not less complex so continuous service desk process and technology improvements will return tremendous value to the organization. An effective KCS process that relies on a KM tool such as RightAnswers is an effective way to reduce costs and increase agent and employee productivity.

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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