For those not familiar, KCS is about creating knowledge as a byproduct of solving problems. Every time someone in a KCS organization solves an issue, it’s documented and shared to codify that tacit tribal knowledge that lives within their workforce. It’s a way of constantly evolving your internal support content based on demand and usage to empower agents to resolve issues faster and easier—what’s known by one is know by all.
Sounds great, right? Except that even great organizations struggle with it for a variety of reasons.
It ends up that KCS is quite difficult for most brands to implement. Unlike traditional knowledge distribution which is one-to-many and top-down, KCS is many-to-many and bottom-up. Rather than relying on management to create documentation, KCS understands that modern support agents face a vast array of novel and heretofore unseen situations (um, social customer care anyone?) and asks them to record what they know. This is allows the team to evolve. For example, who knew ten years ago that customers would be asking for help via Twitter or the app store? And who now knows how best to respond?
KCS soaks up all the front-line wisdom of your agents into a living knowledge base. But alas, brands often limit its effects because they don’t trust their agents.
Most support organizations today are designed around mistrust and this limits KCS’s effectiveness. Executives and managers consider the worst possible scenarios and the team’s weakest performers and place guidelines to limit the harm they can do. This inadvertently prevents their top performers from participating creatively.
This is most damaging to organizations who provide social customer care which is by its nature dynamic and unpredictable. Scripted agents will appear robotic on social media—the one place above all where customers expect them to appear human.
What can you do to free your organization from this over-organized fate? Rewrite your guidelines with trust in mind. Adopt a #SocialFirst mindset and empower your agents to respond creatively on social and to document their social successes so that others can reuse it, improve it, and if it doesn’t exist, add to it.
Social playbooks, like constitutions, are never complete. They’re created knowing that our understanding of the world will evolve and when necessary, we amend them. Base your social customer care playbook on a few core, immutable principles and then be open to revisions. You can moderate this through your internal knowledge base where you actively seek suggestions, comments, questions, and best practices from your support agents.
Create additional internal support documentation as a byproduct of resolving customer issues. Amend your existing knowledge base system so that it’s accessible by all support agents and give them recognition for their contributions so that they take pride in participating. And of course, make this knowledge base highly organized and searchable so that it’s accessible on-the-fly and useful in the field.
Manage your knowledge base with the goal of improving your support metrics. Which agents or articles can be tied to the best first-call resolutions? The lowest handling times? The highest CSAT? Allow actual social performance and documentation demand to guide what’s created, shared, and distributed.
What do you have when you infuse your social customer care with KCS? A system that’s constantly collecting, structuring, and disseminating knowledge for everyone’s benefit. Agents will be more engaged because they’ll feel directly responsible for the team’s success. They’ll achieve more first-call resolutions because they have fast answers to uncommon questions, and they'll reduce average handling time as the organization evolves in tandem with customer demand well into the future.