Technology support is tough! It takes a specific type of person to navigate the personalities, constant changes, and ups and downs support teams face daily. Not only does it take a toll on our teams mentally, but emotionally as well. As caring leaders, we want to help our customers, colleagues, and teams, but we don't always know the answers, and asking other teams for information can sometimes feel like going into enemy territory. So how can we make it better? How can we share knowledge in a consistent and repeatable method that increases confidence, awareness, and expertise?
Like many IT departments, we have a tiered support structure. To encourage collaboration between tiers, we host regular team building and knowledge sharing opportunities. It was during these events that we saw a need for a way to efficiently share documented solutions between the teams. Each tier group often encountered the same questions, issues, and customers, but often supplied different responses. We had an internal communication problem that was hindering our team's relationships, customer and team member confidence and causing an increase to our first call resolution rates.
We had each worked with knowledge bases in the past, and they always had too many rules, approvals, too much push-back and no one ever got very far with them, but WE NEEDED IT! It was a glaring solution to our problem, and we just had to dive in and make it happen.
So how did we make it happen…????
FIRST, and most importantly, we as leaders made a promise to each other to be dedicated to this endeavor and to ensuring that our staff had the information they needed to provide consistent, expedient solutions to Customers. There have been multiple times since we began where I've started off a conversation with, "Are you still committed?", "Is this still important to you?". If we do not continue to be committed, then we will fail each other, ourselves, our teams, and our customers.
We attended KCS Principals training through HDI, researched how other companies documented their solutions and viewed excellent KCS tools. We selected a tool that fit our requirements and budget and started building the framework of our knowledge base. As we developed, researched and planned, we knew that buy-in would be our biggest obstacle. We had in-depth conversations about how to encourage our teams to participate in this new endeavor, incentives, how this would align to performance goals and came up with a training plan and campaign. We asked our teams to submit names for our KCS endeavor and vote on the results. Soon after that, KCS KEYNotes was unveiled!
During our kick-off meeting with the teams, we played The Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe challenge. The team members were split into three tiers to mimic the first, second and third tier support. Then each tier was handed a few details about the chocolate chip recipe. We imitated a customer experience where a customer calls requesting a chocolate chip recipe and speaks to first tier support, but the first tier only had part of the solution. So, the customer was then escalated to the second tier where once again, they just had a portion of the solution. Lastly, the question was escalated to the third tier where the customer finally received the complete recipe. Wasn't that frustrating? Why couldn't the first tier have the entire recipe? How did that make the support representative and the customer feel?
Then, we played the game again, but this time, everyone in the room received a copy of the complete recipe. When the customer contacted first tier support, they received a comprehensive solution with no wait! No matter which analyst the customer contacted, regardless of tier, they received the same consistent message! This is KCS in action!
Two years later, we have more participation than ever. Our teams have built stronger relationships, and customer satisfaction and first call resolution have increased.
If you're looking into using KCS, stop waiting and go for it. The iterative, agile nature of the practice allows you to design a solution that works for your company. Trust me; the return is well worth the investment!