What is knowledge-centered service?

Did you know that your IT service desk is quite likely under increasing pressure? An influx of demand due to an increase in digital transformation projects means many support organizations are struggling to provide adequate IT support to their employees.  

To help streamline support processes and improve service levels for stakeholders, many service desk managers are turning to a knowledge-centered-service (KCS) approach. KCS involves sharing and refining knowledge on an on-going basis. The benefits of KCS with customer support are plentiful. Service desk agents access historical company content through search and continuously optimize that content, all with the goal of helping fast-track the resolution process.

KCS: a best-practice methodology

Knowledge-centered service (also known as knowledge-centered support) is an approach that describes how organizations can better use the information they possess in order to improve their service delivery. The KCS methodology involves IT service-desk workers not only solving systems, employee, and stakeholder issues but documenting the solution process for effective knowledge sharing and customer success in the future. The continuous updating of the knowledge base during the KCS process improves service delivery. 

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is an online library that contains knowledge articles about products, services, issues, and topics. It might include product FAQs, troubleshooting guides, user manuals, and other documents. To support the collection, retrieval, and sharing of knowledge, today’s best knowledge bases tend to be AI powered and searchable. For support teams that deal with many service requests, the collective knowledge in a knowledge base is essential to speed up the response time for new agents and established ones alike, as they refer to historical company content on a regular basis.

The benefits of knowledge-centered service

Like all good knowledge management, KCS practices can help your organization’s service desk capture knowledge to enhance customer satisfaction in several ways. It helps your team:

Resolve cases faster

A searchable database at a support team’s fingertips means no more second guessing service requests. Past problem-solving incidents are well documented, giving agents something to refer to. Frequently asked questions can be quickly answered.

Create a culture of expertise

A culture of expertise refers to a service organization culture that’s distinguished by knowledge and skills. A rich library of resources helps team members foster a culture of expertise, which equips agents to deal with cases. A KCS approach to service requests produces better-informed service agents and more-skilled resolution of inquiries.

Optimize the use of resources

Having a searchable knowledge base means content can be optimized for search. Especially with large knowledge bases, tagging content with keywords then allows agents searching for the right information to access specific content faster, reducing the frustration of searching for the right information and helping ensure operational efficiency.  

Enable a self-service success strategy

A self-serve database gives support agents a level of autonomy and ownership over their work and speeds up the training process for new agents (who can use the database to see if a case has already been documented).

Increase first-contact resolution 

An optimized database of resources not only speeds up the resolution process, it increases the likelihood of cases being resolved the first time, facilitating continuous improvement. If first-contact resolution is high, this should indicate that customers are receiving good service in an efficient way.

Creating a KCS-centric knowledge base

Creating an effective knowledge base takes time and is an ongoing process. However, using the KCS method can help you create a knowledge base faster and effectively maintain it so that it’s always up to date. 

Here’s how to create a knowledge base that gives back:

Step 1: Create good documentation

When IT service-desk inquiries are resolved, it’s important that the appropriate documents are created (if they don’t exist). The process of creating support documentation for the customer issues in each case — be it in the form of FAQs, articles, one pagers, case studies, troubleshooting guides, or even complete manuals — will quickly build a comprehensive library of useful resources. 

Step 2: Use consistent document structure

Creating a standardized document structure enables consistency across the library and simplifies the process of creating additional documentation. Agents can then just start with a content template when they’re putting together documentation. 

Step 3: Use your organization’s knowledge

It’s not enough for a great knowledge base to simply exist. Support teams must be trained in how to use the platform, how to create and add documentation to the library, and how to effectively use search to find the right information when they need it. 

The importance of search for a first-rate knowledge base

Your knowledge base should be organized in an intuitive way, as well as easily searchable. To optimize accessibility, you can arrange content by topic or content type. A search bar ensures that users can instantly pull up the right content when they need it. 

With a searchable knowledge base, you can use keywords to segment information by product, topic, or any other relevant category.

Keyword best practices

A keyword is a word, phrase, or set of words that best describes what content covers. With a knowledge base, agents can use keywords to locate documents related to their issue. For example, for lost-password predicaments, agents can find relevant information by entering a keyword such as “password” or “forgotten password” in the search bar.

Support teams can define their own rules for logging and finding documents. Here are some tips on doing it right:

  • Choose keywords an agent is likely to search for: Get inside an agent’s head. What search terms might they use? How would they phrase their search queries? 
  • Relate keywords to content: Each one should describe what the content is about. 
  • Use long-tail keywords: A long-tail keyword is typically a three-to-five-word phrase. Long-tail keywords are longer and therefore more specific, helping to narrow down the content. 
  • Use interlinking in content: Have service-management content creators add hyperlinks that can direct searchers to other relevant content. 
  • Build a keyword directory: As a reference document, create a list of keywords that relate to the information agents might need. For example, here’s a list of keywords that helps people query the Microsoft knowledge base. 

Benefits of having a searchable knowledge base

A search bar underpinned by AI-powered software is a crucial feature of a successful knowledge base. When your agents have that, they can:

  • Retrieve content fast and quickly address their customer’s need
  • Easily find what they need and enjoy a pleasant user experience
  • Establish document management processes: routinely structure their documents with keywords and organize content intuitively

Add best-in-class search to upgrade your knowledge base

To recap, you can centralize your IT historical support information and ensure the continuous optimization of your content to keep supporting your service team when they need it the most. And you can make all your relevant articles easy to find (vs. having to be individually excavated from siloed folders). 

Algolia’s advanced search API is ready to help on both counts. Our search functionality is renowned and reliable, with proven algorithms, integrations, and UI libraries. Whether or not you’re implementing a KCS approach, it’s essential to help your service desk agents effortlessly tap the information they need and be able to reuse knowledge.

Discover for free how search can help you vastly improve the efficiency (not to mention the user experience) of your service desk. If you like what you see, there’s no massive up-front investment, and you can choose flexible payments. Let us know a good time to chat and we’ll be in touch!

About the authorCatherine Dee

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

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