KCS: Top 3 Effects of Selecting the Wrong KCS Coach

Selecting KCS coaches is an important piece of being successful with Knowledge-Centered Service. Coaches can bring out the best in people which will drive towards those KCS benefits you’re striving for.  However, coaches can also have the opposite effect if they’re not the correct person for the role.  In our previous blog, “How should you select your KCS Coaches?,” we covered some techniques to help you find success when selecting coaches.  Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that the coaches selected are not having the impact you thought they would.  In this blog, we’re going to talk about some indicators that you may have selected the wrong coach:

  1. You are experiencing problems with your KCS articles. KCS Coaches are put in place to guide your agents so they improve the quality of their articles, understand and follow the content standard and appropriately follow the KCS process in the Solve Loop.  In addition to understanding the feedback they’re receiving from the agents, coaches need to be able to work with the agent metrics to determine the root cause of the issues which surface in the Article Quality Index (AQI) or Process Integration Indicators (PII) so they’re able to guide the agent effectively.
    • If you are discovering that articles are not findable, this may point to a solve loop process which is not being followed. During the troubleshooting process, agents are required to capture the customer’s context when describing the issue that they are experiencing.  This context is required for the knowledgebase article to be findable and useable by the intended audience, the customers who may use the same terms to describe the same issue.  When this context isn’t applied to the articles, it’s not findable by your intended audience as your customers do not suddenly become technical the moment they are searching your portal for help.
    • If you keep having to deal with duplicate articles, this may point to a solve loop process where your agents are not appropriately searching before creating a new article. This happens when your agents are not finding the existing article and are turning around and creating a new article instead. This may be because the existing article’s title is not reflective of the content in that article.  In either case, coaches should be coaching agents to follow the structured problem-solving process, so they are searching based on customer context and they should also be working on AQI violations including how the article titles are written.
  2. Articles are not being published as quickly as you had imagined they would be. One of the major benefits of following the KCS methodology is ensuring that our articles are created immediately when the issue is initially reported and published to self-service as quickly as possible to deflect any future calls from coming into support about the same issue.  Bottlenecks can arise even in a KCS environment and those bottlenecks can be a result of how coaches are working with your agents.
    • Coaches aren’t coaching but have become approvers. If coaches are putting themselves in a position like someone in an approver role requiring agents to run articles past them before moving them into the validated state, this is going to cause a delay in getting those articles published to self-service.  Agents can flag articles to review with their coach and should be encouraged to do so as needed, however agents should not be reviewing all articles they are creating with their coach.
    • Coaches aren’t reviewing articles their agents have requested be reviewed outside of their individual coaching sessions. As agents, sometimes we need to review an article with our coach before moving it into the validated state.  However, we may not be doing so because we may not have another coaching session for several days which will delay getting that article to those who need it.  Coaches need to remain flexible when their agents need their assistance between coaching sessions.
  3. KCS started off great, but it’s not great anymore. You may have had a fantastic deployment where everyone was onboard and excited about KCS and the opportunities it will provide them, the organization and the customers they serve.  You begin to see a downturn in activity.  Or suddenly, participation becomes inconsistent across different groups, teams or geographies.   You launched KCS, there was a celebratory meeting with a fabulous cake marking the milestone of officially kicking off KCS which was attended by lots of smiling, excited faces.  So, you never expected to see what started off with a big-bang has quickly started to fizzle out.   As the reality sets in for agents of creating and maintaining knowledge, there are several reasons why you might see this downturn in activity. This is where coaches can make or break your agent’s passion towards KCS and lead towards a drop in their KCS activities.  You’ll need to check to see if the downturn in activity is specific to a location, group or even to a specific coach.
    • Coaches were not aligned correctly to the agents they’re coaching. Even when we spend a considerable amount of time surveying our agents to piece together a map of the trust network, it’s not a fool-proof process.  What we may not be aware of are the current relationship status between the coach and the agent and how that can affect the coaching relationship.
    • Coaches haven’t spent the time gaining the trust of those they are coaching and have jumped into the deep end pointing out everything the agent is doing wrong. Even when coaches have the best intentions, coaching cannot be solely about what’s gone wrong and how to do it better next time.
    • Coaches have not established the role of the participants in the coaching sessions and as a result the agents do not understand the role of the coach and how they are there to help them improve their KS skills and gain a higher level of KCS license.

The organizations with the most successful coaching programs have provided support to their coaches.  This includes establishing a KCS Coaches Council where coaches can discuss what may be currently trending among those they’re coaching, discuss coaching techniques, collaborate on how to deal with those who don’t want to be coached or discussing feedback they’ve received from their agents.  This also includes gathering feedback from those who have been coached on how to make those sessions more effective for them, so they’re enabled to be successful with KCS.   And most importantly, these organizations have provided their coaches with specific training to provide them with the skills required to be successful coaches.

We’ve helped others develop their coaches and we can help you too. We offer a KCS Support coach training built specifically around providing coaches with the skills they need for success. If you’re interested in KCS training or finding out whether KCS might be right for your organization, feel free to request a demo for a closer look at the knowledge software by Upland -RightAnswers in action.

Stay tuned for our next blog on KCS!

In case you missed any of the previous posts in the KCS series…


About the Authors: Laura Yeomans (left) and Michelle Stumpf (right) are qualified KCS Trainers and have many years’ experience in running their own knowledge practices, as well as training and coaching others in Knowledge Management and KCS. 

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation

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