The One Thing You Must Do for a Successful KCS Implementation
As a KCS (Knowledge-Centered Services) program manager, I’ve seen many first line managers focus solely on core support case driven metrics like time-to-resolution (or worse, simple case volume counts) for their teams, particularly when they are under pressure. While this is understandable, it can ultimately lead to conflict with the KCS program. If the program is not deeply tied into these metrics in a complementary fashion, the measures can end up being in direct conflict with each other. For instance, if a first line manager is measured on time to resolution, reducing that time is considered ideal for their teams. However, KCS success means that specific measures like time-to-resolution will likely increase as a result of digitally solving the easier and most common cases, while also seeing case volumes plateau or hopefully decrease. This misalignment can create issues in the long run and work against program adoption.
The Importance of the Right Metrics
During a recent consortium meeting around coaching managers, we discussed the importance of getting the right perspective and alignments between front line managers and the KCS program. It dawned on me during this conversation, that one of the major blockers I’ve encountered was due to these conflicting measures during times of increased pressure to produce.
This is why it is critical to get the right metrics in place at the beginning; measures that work in conjunction, not conflict, to weather the more-with-less stressors that hit all companies at some point.
Conflict management is a critical managerial skill, and it is essential to translate that from people conflict to goals conflicts and make sure the measurements work together. Managers must understand where there may be conflict in the measurements and how to navigate those waters with their teams and their up-lines.
In my experience as a program manager, the core of this conflict is almost always based on differing performance measures between the frontline staff and the KCS program. When good progress on the KCS program results in poor metrics for the front line managers, we will never see adoption, let alone progress.
KCS as a Complete Support Methodology
KCS is most commonly added on to an existing support organization as a solution to scalability and institutional knowledge retention. However, it’s rarely implemented as what it really is: a complete support methodology. When the program itself is seen as an add-on, every knowledge worker and manager will also see the processes as add-ons to their daily work. Only when we implement KCS as a holistic Support Transformation program can we begin to see the real mindset changes and adoption of actual culture change.
By putting KCS principles and paradigms at the core of a support transformation, we can begin to really embed the ideals and processes in a way that brings everything we do into harmony and collaboration rather than conflict. It is this holistic approach that will ensure that sustained success that will drive the business.
Driving the Right Metrics
In part, this requires a re-tooling of the support metrics to embed KCS measures from a broader perspective, not simply an add-on measure. This means driving things like “successful solutions delivered” as a measure that both the front line managers managers and the program can collectively drive towards, in collaboration and unity of vision. It is through this early stage transformation that we can remove the roadblock of measurement conflicts and pave the way for all the other things we need to focus on when it comes to coaching managers and knowledge workers alike.
The Key to Success
Clarify and align your organization’s goals. It is crucial to remember that getting the right measures in place at the beginning that work in conjunction, not conflict, to weathering the more-with-less pressure cooker. Coaches need to help managers understand the importance of this and navigate the waters of conflicting measurements to ensure success for both the KCS program and the frontline staff.
KCS as a program must be embedded into every person’s goals and objectives from the start. This means every knowledge worker, and also their managers, directors, and VPs. It cannot be a side project or proof of concept if longevity and sustained success are to be seen.
KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service InnovationTM. The above content has been remixed/derived from the KCS v6 Practices Guide by Consortium for Service Innovation which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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