Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to business. The more information you have about your target market and your competitors, the better you are able to provide the right services at the right price to the right people.
Having knowledge gives your business a competitive edge.
Knowledge-Centered Support (also known as Knowledge-Centered Service) is yet another concept that holds that knowledge is absolutely vital to the success of your business.
What is Knowledge Centered Support exactly? And, more importantly, why does it matter? Read on to find out and get a leg up in your industry.
Defining Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS)
The business world is full of fancy terms for seemingly basic concepts. But Knowledge-Centered Support is definitely one you should know. Especially when it comes to “putting out fires” in your business.
KCS is a methodology that asserts that knowledge is a crucial asset to an organization.
Without knowledge, a business’ customer support system is doomed to bottlenecks, miscommunication, disorganization, and frustrated customers. If you have a customer support desk (whether in-person or online), you are susceptible to these issues if you don’t have a solid system in place to seamlessly share knowledge.
Having a Knowledge-Centered Support system prevents major issues both internally and externally. It helps your team respond to customers faster, address problems better, and share as well as transfer knowledge in a more organized way. It doesn’t replace the experience of your support team. It helps them do their jobs better.
Knowledge-Centered Support Principles
An effective customer support system consists of:
- A customer-focused approach and
- A knowledge-centered system.
Most businesses know that the key to great customer service is listening to customers’ concerns, but do you know how to implement a support system that’s actually organized?
If not, then it’s worth digging into the key principles of this Knowledge-Centered Support methodology:
- Knowledge is at the core of every effective service desk
- How agents respond to problems matters
- The better the resources you have, the better prepared your team is to handle complex issues
- Knowledge organization makes it easy for your team to find the information they need to support your customers better
- Knowledge-centered support enables self-service support (which saves you time, money, and resources)
- KCS makes a huge difference when it comes to conflict resolution
- Customers and employees are happier when they get the information they need, when they need it
In case it wasn’t clear, KCS is about more than just having a database of information on hand; it’s about setting your support team up for success. The result is happier employees, happier customers, and, let’s be frank, a happier business bank account.
Why Does KCS Matter?
KCS matters because it is the other side of the coin that is effective customer support. While taking a sympathetic approach helps with customer relations, KCS helps you create an organized, streamlined support system that cuts down on time, costs, and resources.
The main goals of the KCS methodology are to:
- Increase the efficiency of your support desk
- Aid in the dissemination of knowledge across your organization
- Improve the quality of customer-facing support resources and content
- Improve customer satisfaction while encouraging repeat business
- Create an updated knowledge base for both customers and support team members to access when and how they need to
Benefits of Knowledge-Centered Support
In order to reach these goals for your own business, you need to implement a KCS methodology.
This involves capturing knowledge, organizing it, and distributing it in the right way. We’ll get into how to do that in a bit. But first, let’s go into some of the benefits of KCS:
- Reduction in business operating costs
- Greater customer satisfaction
- Better support team satisfaction
- Less time spent on training your support team
- Faster customer service response times
- Enables self-service options for customers
- Faster conflict resolution
Do any of these benefits sound like they could make a difference for your business? If so, read on to find out how to apply KCS to your business.
How Does KCS Work?
KCS follows an infinite loop of capturing, structuring, reusing, and improving content.
To be more specific, it works by capturing questions/feedback based on customer requests, structuring the content into concise, reusable templates, making the content accessible to customers and support team members, and constantly improving the content over time.
And while the first round of this cycle may be shaky, it gets increasingly easier, faster, and cheaper over time.
4 Steps to Effective Knowledge-Centered Support
Step 1: Capture the Knowledge
You’ve heard the saying: the customer knows best. When it comes to KCS, this is especially the case. Your customers will provide you with the questions and feedback you need in order to build out your support content.
That’s why the first step of KCS involves collecting this knowledge from your customers. This may be via phone calls, support team notes, request forms on your website, or the like. Then, you will create content that answers these customer questions and that addresses customer feedback.
Step 2: Structure the Content
You have the customer feedback you need, now you have to create the content.
The content should be relevant to your customers and easily searchable. Content could be in the form of articles, tools, videos, or downloadable materials. The point is to create content that is helpful, customer-centric, easy to access, and (see Step 3) reusable.
Step 3: Reuse the Forms and Templates
What’s the use in agents manually responding to every customer question or query when they could have the answers they need right at their fingertips?
After you’ve created the content in Step 2, you’ll have an entire library of resources both customers and your support team can access (with variable access). Customers and agents should be able to easily search your knowledge base to find the information they need.
And since the content is reusable, it will save your agents loads of time compared to responding to customers manually.
Step 4: Improve Over Time
Following a KCS methodology allows your team to tap into and to contribute to your organization’s collective knowledge. Beyond that, they play an active role in improving the content over time.
As agents use the content to solve customer problems, they get a chance to review the content for gaps. They can edit the content to be more helpful and up-to-date. Thus, the content is ever-evolving and getting better.
Knowledge Centered Support Best Practices
Knowledge-Centered Support works similarly to how Wikipedia does. It is a database of information created by users, for users. It is continuously added to. It is continuously fact-checked and edited. It is able to be accessed by readers and contributors alike, as long as they have an internet connection.
Your KCS system and connected knowledge base will continue to work as long as your support team members are on board. KCS requires a collective effort in order for your content to stay relevant, current, helpful, and organized.
Best practices for Knowledge-Centered Support include:
- Educating your support team on what KCS is and why it matters
- Informing each team member of what their role is in the KCS process
- Using the right knowledge base software to keep content organized
- Constantly adding new content to your knowledge base
- Incentivizing your team members to make improvements to the existing content
- Emphasizing the benefits of reusing content versus making new content
- Staying in tune to what your customers want and need
Remember, KCS starts with the customers. Your goal is to make content relevant to them. Then, you can structure and reuse this content in a way that cuts down on customer service response times, cuts down on costs, and make your support team’s job easier. This will keep your customers happy and decrease your bottom line significantly.
Get Knowledge Centered Support and Training
The benefits of offering Knowledge-Centered Support are obvious.
Happier customers? Check.
Happier support team? Check.
Money and time saved on answering customer questions? Check.
If you think you could benefit from some of these perks in your business, we highly recommend implementing KCS today.
We can help. Helpjuice offers knowledge base software for businesses looking to streamline their customer support process and increase team collaboration.
Get started by trying Helpjuice risk-free for 14 days.
Want more? Download the free ebook on How to Scale Your Customer Support System.