Thursday, 9 January 2014

Reducing Incidents through Knowledge

How can you improve the customer experience though knowledge management you might ask? From an Incident perspective we should start with the Service Desk to determine exactly what types of calls are coming into the queue. A “top ten” of sorts, these may be common questions which if they are handled through some form of self-service functionality can reduce the calls into the Service desk right at the beginning. It is likely that your Service Desk has some of these posted already, but a review will ensure that we aren’t missing anything, or removing any material that no longer relevant.

Your Service Desk says “It looks like we are doing better,” but how can we quantify that? Take a closer look at what each service call costs your organization, your cost per contact. As we have more knowledge articles available we will want a consistent location for customers to go this ensures that your customer can easily find information rather than contacting your service desk. Enabling your customers in this way will drive your costs down by eliminating the “quick questions” and will your support staff to spend their time working on more complex issues which improves their engagement

In our journey to reduce service affecting incidents we need to also look at Incident KPI’s. for example, the current MTTR of Incidents can help us to determine a baseline of our resolution but we can also address areas where exceptions are noted. Was there information available that could have helped us resolve this incident quicker. If not do we now have something. Being able to produce information of this nature can help us to systematically go through some troubleshooting quickly with all support personal so that less time is spent trying to reinvent the wheel.

The Challenges
Like anything worth doing there are going to be some obstacles. While the initial pieces are beneficial to the Service Desk we need to start thinking long term to being a better business partner, which is where having a collaborative knowledge culture is critical. This part is not as easy. Some of the challenges may include:

Knowledge hoarding
There are people who believe that if they are in control of the knowledge that they are in a better position as the “go-to” folks. In reality this is not the case, they end up spending their time fixing the same work over and again rather than working complex issues. In a collaborative space we should ensure that the information is not only available but relevant as well

Making knowledge part of the way we do things
People can be change adverse so they will see this new activity as “more work” or they might say, I am not a writer. We aren’t necessarily looking for Pulitzer material, but think of it in these terms; lets suppose that you could reduce 10 calls a day by having a knowledge record available and that each call for that same issue is approximately 5 minutes. That works out to 50 minutes of work which could have been taken care of by spending 10 minutes of writing a knowledge article – 40 minutes saving. Making knowledge a part of the incident, problem or even change process could have domino effect in redundant work expenditures. It could be as simple as a record doesn’t close until the knowledge record has been created

This will be for nothing if we cannot report on what we are seeing. We should be able to track through our knowledge repository what issues were corrected with the knowledge records (no incident created) as well as how many incidents were resolved as a result of knowledge. Being able to quantify the success of the knowledge process will position us better to make further improvements on future activities.

Gathering feedback on the information in your knowledge can be easy, but managing the output of that feedback may be more difficult. If we are soliciting feedback, we may need a way to respond to those that are supplying it. Some foresight may need to be applied to this before proceeding, so my advice is to keep it simple to start

In the end you will be in a position to review and make adjustments where needed. You will also be in a far better place to work with the customers for these issues. Allowing you to further understand their business will enable your other ITSM process to make improvements as well.


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