Sustaining a Knowledge-Centered Support program is a challenge for many, and we have talked about it off and on for some years. It seems that sustaining KCS is more of an issue in organizations that are not publishing content to self-service. My theory/observation is that organizations cannot stop, or even pause for too long, at what we have labeled Phase II (the Proficiency level) of the KCS journey. The sustainable motivational factors are strongest in Phase III, or the Leverage Phase. This is where 90% of what is known internally is available externally within 90 minutes. That requires that the right percentage (which varies by organization) of the support staff be KCS Publishers. Now, we make this bold statement in part to be provocative; very few organizations are publishing at this rate. The point is: most of what we know internally should be available through self-service quickly.
I don’t know of an organization that has sustained KCS focus over a period of years that is not publishing through a self-service model. At the Leveraged Phase, I believe there are three inherent motivators for support people that are sustainable:
- Visibility to customer’s use of KCS articles they have contributed to (created or modified)
- They see/sense the ratio of known to new issues shift to a higher percentage of new (more interesting issues to work on)
- Visibility to changes in the product that were identified based on the patterns in the KB (this one is hard and pretty long term)
The organization has to do some overt things to enable visibility to the people about the impact of their contribution.
Over a period of time the KCS practices become a habit and the habit is re-enforced through the above because it gives people a sense of accomplishment and contribution – the most powerful motivator of all.
So, Publisher is a critical element of the methodology. I don’t believe you can sustain KCS without it.