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TOPDESK MAGAZINE - DECEMBER 2015 13

Joost Wapenaar
is a technical product consultant at TOPdesk and one
of the first people to initiate the implementation of KCS
at TOPdesk.

SHIFT LEFT (LEFT) AND


KCS: WORKING TOWARDS
BETTER SERVICES
TOPdesks Support department receives around 5,000 calls every month. A group of forty
support employees is so good and quick at resolving these calls that customers rate our
service with a satisfactory 8/10. Nothing to complain about, you would think. Still, we
always ask ourselves how we can make our services even smarter, quicker and more
scalable. And we believe we found the answer.
Smarter, quicker and more
scalable

left means that skilled technicians make

We organize knowledge days to facilitate

their answers available to less experienced

knowledge sharing from the so-called second

When searching for ways to improve our

colleagues, so they in turn can help customers

line to the first line. These days include

services at TOPdesk, we soon wondered how

using already posted solutions. Shift left left is

sessions organized by specialists where

we could improve the availability of existing

the next step: provide customers with access

they share knowledge with less experienced

information to our customers. It happens

to these solutions so they can find the answer

colleagues. These sessions are about

every day that we discuss a solution with

to their question.

authentication, performance or a specific

a customer that we also discussed with a

module, for example.

different customer the day before. Or we

Shift left at TOPdesk Support

looked into something that our colleague

We did not have to change our methods

Shift left left at TOPdesk Support

already figured out. There had to be a

in order to start exchanging information

At TOPdesk Support we already have shift

better way.

between colleagues: at TOPdesk this is already

left under control, which is why we wanted

an essential part of someones tasks. The

to take the next step towards shift left left:

knowledge, we chanced upon the principles

reason behind this is that being helpful to our

making our knowledge available to

of Shift left and Shift left left. The idea behind

customers and colleagues is very important

our customers.

these two principles is that you actively give

to us. And the more knowledge you have, the

customers answers to their questions. Shift

better you can help someone.

In the search for a smarter way to share our

14 TOPDESK MAGAZINE - DECEMBER 2015

phone or by email. Customer satisfaction

Getting started with KCS at


TOPdesk

reports show that this method works well, but

We first created a project plan for the

for us it is not scalable because we can only

implementation of the KCS method at

share knowledge one-on-one. We also have

TOPdesk. A part of this plan was setting up a

a website with manuals: help.topdesk.com.

pilot in which we examined whether the KCS

Although this platform can be used to service

method would help the Support department

a lot of customers at the same time, it mostly

work more efficiently. Ten in forty support

We also gave weekly updates to our

contains generic information about TOPdesk

employees took part in this pilot.

department about the changes within the

We answer many of our answers over the

pilot group and the effect on our work.

and less about customer-specific situations


such as error messages, workarounds etc. In

The introduction of the KCS method within

Sharing the success of KCS with the entire

order to start implementing Shift left left we

the pilot group changed the way this

department was essential to give KCS a

had to figure out a way to share this type of

group worked. We had weekly evaluations

positive image and for it to remain so. These

knowledge with our customers as well.

to make sure the change was successful.

weekly updates made the people who were

During the evaluations we discussed the

not taking part in the pilot very enthusiastic

Knowledge Centered Support

challenges of KCS, the obstacles, and how

and many wanted to start implementing the

While taking a step towards Shift left left we

we could overcome them. The method was

method. This enthusiasm is very desirable

soon found Knowledge Centered Support

continuously adjusted and optimized. By

when looking for departmental support for

(KCS)*. KCS is a best practice for publishing

working as a group and taking on individual

further implementation of the changes in

and managing knowledge a type of ITIL

challenges together, we successfully managed

working method.

for knowledge management. This principle

to go through this change. We also discussed

assumes that the support department fills

the successes during our evaluations:

and manages a knowledge base with items

what is the added value for us as Support

How does TOPdesk work with


KCS?

that can be shared with end users.

department? What gives us satisfaction and

When applying the KCS method, we used

makes us happy? Because we experienced the

TOPdesks Knowledge Base module. We made

a task done by specific people to a task for

challenges and successes as a team, we had a

a separate branch in the knowledge base to

every person in the support department as

successful pilot not only in numbers but also

save items that were created for KCS in a fixed

part of solving calls. The role of the support

in process change.

and recognizable place.

This changes knowledge management from

employee will change.

TOPDESK MAGAZINE - DECEMBER 2015 15

The moment a customer asks our Support


department a question, a call is logged. Based
on this call a Support employee can search for
relevant items in the knowledge base. When
we find an item that answers the question, we
add this to the call.
When the item from the knowledge base
is added to the call, TOPdesk creates a link
between the call and the knowledge item.

The knowledge base at TOPdesk Extranet features


hundreds of KCS items.

This makes it possible to create selections


and reports that provide insight into the
way the item are used. Which items
are used to resolve calls and which ones are

The future

able to find answers to their questions,

Writing a large number of items should not be

and they will no longer have to contact the

large part, but still misses some essential

a goal in itself. The final goal is being able to

Support department.

information, we can add this before we share

process calls more quickly and give end users

it with the customer. The items are therefore

the opportunity to find their own answers.

complete this second shift left. In anticipation

continuously updated. Is there no item in the

During this pilot we saw that the number of

to this we have made the finished items,

knowledge base that answers the question?

new items decreased and the number of calls

currently hundreds, available to you on the

A new item can be created immediately when

with links to current items increased. The

TOPdesk Extranet. You can find our items in

processing the customers question.

availability of our departments knowledge is

the knowledge base by searching in the

now better than ever before.

top-left search bar. The screenshot below

used frequently?
If the item describes the answer for a

The results

The pilot results were very positive. Using

Our challenge for the coming year is to

shows the current Extranet. Do you have a

Since the introduction of the KCS method at

existing items helped operators process calls

question about TOPdesk? Search the Extranet:

TOPdesk Support we have written thousands

more easily and quickly. At the start of the

perhaps you will find an answer in one of our

of items with answers to customer questions.

pilot we resolved 10 to 15% of the calls with

KCS items.

A large number of these items have been

information from an existing knowledge

re-used many times to answer the same

source, while at the end of the pilot this came

question.

closer to 40 to 50%. Because of the success of

Using KCS has also shown us that we

the KCS method during the pilot, we decided

are getting more to grips with the shift left

to get the entire Support department to start

principle. Knowledge is now centrally stored in

working with it.

our knowledge base, which makes it available

If you really want to start working according

to first and second line operators. Operators

to shift left left, an extra step is necessary. You

with less experience are now able to find

not only want to ensure that your operators

answers to more difficult questions in no

can process calls more efficiently with existing

time, helping them develop their knowledge

knowledge, you want to implement the

more quickly. We have also seen that the

second left as well. This means giving your

average lead time of a calls has reduced and

end users access to your knowledge. You want

fewer calls are escalated to the second line.

to give them the possibility to search the

Whats more, the operators working with

knowledge base. Here, customers will be

the method in our case support staff enjoy


a higher job satisfaction. When they answer
a question they not only help the customer in
one go, but they share their knowledge with

* Knowledge Centered Support is a methodology developed by the Consortium for Service

colleagues as well.

Innovation. Everything in this article is an interpretation of this methodology and in no way


suggests the correct one. All rights and interpretations belong to the Consortium for Service
Innovation and can be found on www.serviceinnovation.org.