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Get Started with Knowledge-Centered Service

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS®).
  • Describe core principles of KCS methodology.
  • Explain how an agent handles customer requests using the KCS process.

Meet the Team

Life is full of sunshine at Ursa Major Solar. After all, it’s their business. Ursa Major sells solar components and systems. It’s based in a sunny city in the Southwestern US.

As the popularity of solar energy grows, so does Ursa Major’s business. And a growing business means lots of customers. Solar components and systems can be complicated, and Ursa Major knows how important it is to use knowledge to support its customers. That’s why Ursa Major has decided to implement Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS) methodology for its service organization.

Explanation of KCS Methodology

Companies that use KCS methodology find that it provides many benefits. Over time, it improves customer experience, reduces employee attrition, and reduces training time for new employees. To achieve those benefits, Ursa Major is working to set up a program with these characteristics.

  • Strong buy-in at every level of the company
  • Committed leadership that communicates the importance of the program
  • Training and coaches to make sure that everyone understands their responsibilities
  • Guidelines for how to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of Ursa Major’s processes over time

Ursa Major already has strong leadership support from its CEO on down. Ursa Major has identified a KCS Coach within its support team to help with the transition. One of Ursa Major’s top product support agents, Ada Balewa, is helping implement the process for the service team. She’s already an expert in Lightning Knowledge, and she’s had training in KCS methodology.

Ada Balewa in her sunny office, hard at work.

One of the key pieces of the plan is to configure Lightning Knowledge to support agents when Ursa Major adopts KCS methodology. So Ada meets with Ursa Major’s Salesforce admin, Maria Jimenez, to talk about how to add functionality to Service Cloud and Lightning Knowledge to help the KCS program succeed.
Note

Note

This module describes how Maria and Ada work to implement KCS methodology for Ursa Major. Your KCS implementation may be different.

Put Knowledge at the Center

The support team plans to put knowledge at the center of everything they do. Ada shares these core principles about knowledge.

  • Abundance. Shared knowledge helps everyone. To quote George Bernard Shaw: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” For Ursa Major, this means that sharing knowledge via articles makes every agent smarter.
  • Value. Support agents are knowledge workers. The most valuable thing they have is what they know and how they communicate that knowledge to customers. Knowledge documented in an article is valuable for the entire organization. Asking agents to write or edit articles can seem like a drain on their time. But once they use KCS methodology to integrate sharing knowledge into their workflow, everyone benefits. Because they can rely on relevant, accurate, and recent shared knowledge in the knowledge base, agents can solve problems faster.
  • Demand-driven. Agents create articles as they’re needed in the context of cases that come in from any channel, including email, phone, live chat, or chatbots. These articles solve the customer problems that prompted each case, so they’re always relevant. When agents use them to solve similar cases, they double check the articles and keep them up to date.
  • Trust. Ursa Major trusts its agents to know when to create or update an article. These same agents are solving customer problems all day, so they know what customers need. Trusting agents to solve problems and write articles empowers them and keeps them engaged. When management shows that they understand the process and reward agents for hard work and value created, it keeps employees happy and secure.

It’s a Process, Not Just a Tool

Deciding to implement KCS methodology at Ursa Major isn’t about buying a tool. It’s about changing how agents and managers think about knowledge. What does that look like for Ada and her team?

Currently, Ada creates all articles based on past calls, and other agents use them to close cases. If agents need a new article, they request one. If an article is wrong, they mention that in Chatter and hope Ada has time to fix it. But Ada is too busy to handle all these requests. Even if she could, one person can’t create and edit all the articles that Ursa Major needs. The necessary knowledge is spread out over all the agents and it’s always changing. These trained agents are the best source of articles for the knowledge base.

Ursa Major wants to change its current process to reflect KCS methodology. So, the team set up a new process for how agents handle customer requests. Here are the highlights.

  • Capture. The agent captures the customer’s context about the problem. How is the customer describing their problem? Use the customer’s words.
  • Find. The agent searches for a relevant article. Have we solved this problem before? Can we use an existing article to solve it again?
  • Use. If the agent finds the appropriate article, they use it to close the case, either by giving the information over the phone, or by linking and sharing the article via email, chat, social, or any other channel that they use to communicate with customers.
  • Create. If an appropriate article doesn’t exist, trained agents quickly create one using templates that specify an article’s needed fields and structure. Maria has already created the page layouts for each kind of article that Ursa Major uses. While solving a case, agents fill out fields in the new article template. Once they’re done, the article is in place to help with future cases. Ada verifies that the article page layouts have all the fields they’ll need for their KCS implementation.
  • Fix or flag. If an article exists but needs improvement, agents fix it or flag it. Trained agents fix problems in an existing article right away. Agents who aren’t yet trained flag incorrect articles so that more experienced agents can fix them.
  • Evolve the process. Managers, coaches, and knowledge domain experts track how articles are being used and what agents are doing. They use meaningful metrics to constantly improve the process.

In this video, see how the new methodology works when Ada gets a call from a customer.

But Tools Are Important, Too

Ursa Major needs tools to support its new way of working. That’s where Lightning Knowledge can shine. Salesforce Service Cloud and Knowledge are KCS v6-Verified. That means Salesforce has undergone a rigorous certification process to make sure that it supports everything an organization requires to implement KCS methodology.

Ursa Major has the right tool, but it’s going to take some setup before the team can start. Maria must configure Salesforce Service Cloud and Lightning Knowledge to support Ursa Major’s new goals and processes.

Now that Maria understands some KCS basics, she's ready to start setting up Lightning Knowledge to support her team, but there’s still more to learn. In the next unit, discover how to use and manage article states.