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Helping Universities to Save Money and Improve Student Services

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Over the past 5 years student enrolment figures at universities has seen a dramatic rise.

Together with student fees and rising expectations of students, this is prompting the need for universities and further education institutions to deliver a service that caters to prospective and current students needs.

At the same time, universities are now having to explore ways in which their increasingly regulated budgets can stretch to meet these needs whilst ensuring that core areas of delivery are not compromised.

 

Improve Student Services

The technological era is upon us, with technology providing solutions to many everyday customer service challenges of businesses, with higher education institutions proving to be no exception.

Students and staff are progressively making use of technology to supplement their working lives at university and so expect systems to be in place that seamlessly cater to their requirements, and that most importantly improve the quality of Student Services.

Moreover due to the increased influx of enquiries from not only current students but also prospective students and their parents, universities are finding it increasingly challenging to manage their time effectively meaning that time and money are being spent on areas that could be managed using methods such as self-service that are far more cost effective and time saving.

So what approach can universities undertake to make sure that their students and staff are receiving the service they expect?

This white paper explores how universities across the globe are finding Knowledge Management to be a tool to effectively alleviate issues that are resulting in loss of time and funds, whilst providing a level of service to their members that ensures accurate information is available to them at the click of a button.

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SRO Solutions Improve Business in Offshore and Marine Sectors using Knowledge Management

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SRO Solutions deliver leading asset management solutions, focusing on the three main sectors of Transportation, Offshore Oil & Gas and Manufacturing & Production.

The SRO portfolio includes: software, consulting, support, training and bespoke development as well as two unique solutions for Maximo: SDR and SDU.

With multiple products and services, SRO identified the need for a Knowledge Management tool to help in supporting customers more effectively. KPS was selected due to its ability to easily migrate legacy information, whilst at the same time providing the tools to search multiple sources and formats of information.

What are the Benefits?

For SRO Solutions the benefits were considerable. Once installed the Universal Knowledge solution provided:

  • Legacy information migration
  • Tools to search multiple sources and formats of information
  • Customers self service while deflecting calls away from their support team

What did SRO Solutions have to say?

Bill Wallace, Technical Manager at SRO, was very interested in how the use of Knowledge Management could continue to expand, remarking that:

“Universal Knowledge provides us with an easy to use content creation tool, in addition to us being able to incorporate existing forms of knowledge”

Tony Lackey, Director at SRO Solutions, needed the KM solution to both meet SRO’s requirements but also be delivered in such a way as to minimize the impact on SRO resource. He commented that;

“KPS were incredibly flexible in their approach to the project, providing us with bespoke training and excellent levels of support whilst we rolled out the Knowledge Base”

What Does Adding Knowledge Management to my Business Process Involve?

KPS installed the solution and provided training to staff in only 5 days. This also included provision of a re-branded user interface, content migration and custom style sheets to ensure the internal articles were structured and presented appropriately. Furthermore, the end-user and administration staff were trained and given bespoke user guides fit for their needs. Learn more about how Knowledge management is implemented:

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Knowledge Management Software on G-Cloud

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KPS has been accepted as Crown Commercial Service (CSS) Supplier and by joining CSS KPS knowledge management software is now available on G-Cloud the UK Government platform for Cloud based delivery of public sector IT solutions.

By joining G-Cloud KPS offers enhanced value for UK Central and Local Government service delivery. The KPS G-Cloud Knowledge Management Software can be used across public sector services such as Health, Emergency Services and Education as well as for IT Service Management delivery across any public and not-for-profit organisation.

 

G-Cloud is Fully EU Compliant

The KPS G-Cloud solution is EU compliant providing access to knowledge management software at reduced time and cost for implementation and ongoing operation. Investing in improved technology allows public sector organisations to enhance service quality while reducing cost of delivery. With G-Cloud the implementation is simpler and requiring less up-front investment.

G-Cloud for Public Sector, Central and Local Government, Not-For-Profit

The Crown Commercial Service Supplier framework and G-Cloud is available to a wide range of organisations.  Key to the framework is that it will help CSS deliver savings for Government Organisations by identifying and selecting best value solutions. KPS is committed to the framework and to the support of improved service delivery for public sector organisations.

KPS knowledge management software is supporting public sector service delivery working with organisations in Health, Emergency Services, Local Government and Education. Knowledge Management Software enables effective delivery of information based services to internal and external customers and users.

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IT Service Desk Challenges and Solutions

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An interesting statistic: 45% of the US workforce spends 3 or more hours a week just searching for information in the Workplace.

When that employee is working in front-line services such as an IT service desk environment, an inability to provide the right information at first contact will drive down customer satisfaction and drive up service delivery costs.

With established frameworks such as ITIL designing to manage service delivery quality and costs, there is already clear guidance on best practice for how to improve IT service desk efficiency. Through this and other frameworks, larger organisations are adopting a systematic approach to measure and improve costs, efficiencies and service delivery. At the same time there are increased challenges that affect the way services are delivered.  Can you relate to any of these?

  • Needing to support an increasingly diverse range of technologies and platforms
  • Managing a high turnover of staff with lengthy training and induction periods before new staff is productive
  • Wanting to rely less on individual “experts’ in your organisation for specialist knowledge
  • Needing to share legacy system knowledge across a wider team to maintain service levels
  • Wanting to implement self-service but worrying your content is not good enough

These are just some of the challenges faced by IT service desks. We have explored these and their corresponding solutions in a white-paper that focus on on how IT service desk can address these, leading to improved performance and the ability to “do more with less”

 

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24 Hour IT Support at Reduced Costs – Is this Possible?

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Like many organisations requiring 24 hour IT support, police forces across the UK are faced with pressure to reduce cost and at the same time concentrate their resources to deliver front line services. Achieving both is challenging.

Devon and Cornwall Police constabulary were able to remove the expensive overnight IT service desk shift by introducing a knowledge management software enabled self-service solution for tier 1 support.

Their approach were implemented with their IT support partner; Capita and had to accommodate a number of challenges often faced by IT support organisations, these included:

  • Many documents and sources of information that needed to be accessed in order to provide effective support
  • Needing to deploy a solution quickly without having to re-purpose existing sources of information
  • Statutory requirements to audit support documentation to ensure this is up to date and compliant
  • Induction of new starters in the organisation to ensure they become effective with minimal delay

Working through these requirements and providing an effective solution required deployment of a knowledge management solution that addressed the need for quick deployment and low management overhead.  This case study describes how the individual challenges were met.  Download the case study and gain insights into effective deployment of knowledge management solutions in IT support.

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University of Ottawa Knowledge Management Software

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University of Ottawa Knowledge Management for Student Services

University of Ottawa (uOttawa) has over 42,000 students, 5,000 employees and 180,000 alumni and has a 97% employment rate for graduates. uOttawa uses the Talisma CRM system and as part of that solution has successfully deployed the KPS Knowledge Management product to enable students and staff to access information regarding student services, accommodation, transport and other general information of relevance to students and staff.

As uOttawa has the first and largest French immersion program among Canadian Universities, KPS’s ability to easily handle French and English languages was a major factor is selecting the KPS Knowledge Management solution.

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Service Knowledge Management Interactions in Health & Education?

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Health and education provision are increasing competitive fields where the laws of open market competition and consumer choice apply.  As this trend continues, the importance of providing high quality service interactions at any time in the client relationship will grow.

Service knowledge management helps service agents and self service interactions become effective, timely and conclusive.  The key is to address 3 simple aspects of knowledge management and deliver an integrated approach.

 

Design for single source of knowledge with multichannel delivery:

Consider the impact of this for a student assessing and trying to select which university or degree course to attend.  Likewise imagine accessing a health care provider to learn about, decide on and undergo a treatment cycle.  In both cases the end user will experience multiple interactions and require different types of complex information

Most end user and consumer interactions are relying on multichannel delivery of relevant information to help the consumer make and execute their choice.  Retail and consumer brands achieve success through multiple parallel interactions and service organisations will interact many times with one client to deliver a single service.

Service Knowledge Management Tying Knowledge Together

The challenge is to make sure that each and everyone of the interactions provide prompts, accurate and concise responses to enquiries.  By tying together all sources of information through a service knowledge management solution, you can ensure that the end user receive the same response regardless of channel.

The best solutions are indexing all relevant knowledge at source and making this available across all active channels including service desks, phone response teams and on-line self service.  By indexing all available knowledge and serving this through multiple channels you can ensure consistency and integrity of the advice provided.

Key features that enable this include:

  • Simple search capabilities supporting natural language search and user focused content listings
  • Easy access to reports and tools for identifying and closing knowledge gaps
  • Segmentation of access to the knowledge base through user segmentation

Design for natural language search to make it easy for the user

Service interactions whether on-line or through service agents ultimately involves a human being looking for an answer.  Most critical to service effectiveness is the ability to interpret the need which is often stated as a question.  Organising and indexing available knowledge in ways that allow natural language search increase the effectiveness of the service.

Natural language search with continual refinement of search results through user feedback will take the user to the best answers first.  It will also increase the effectiveness of interactions across all channels as both questions and answers gets indexed and correlated together with their efficacy.

Reporting and Knowledge Base Curating Tools that Creates Focus

Any knowledge base will have gaps, either missing information or information that does not accurately address the users needs.  By monitoring and reporting on the actual service interactions, information can be added or modified to ensure the most common needs are served better over time.

This approach while requiring effective reporting tools will substantially increase the effectiveness of knowledge base maintenance.  Used appropriately it will focus all effort on the most significant and relevant gap at any one time.

An approach that is based on user questions and the efficacy of existing information allow for dynamic updating and expansion of content.  This can be driven by service agents, knowledge owners and overseen through a knowledge management coordinator with the help of effective reporting tools.

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What do Local Councils and Financial Institutions have in Common?

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Local Councils and Large Financial Institutions such as Banks are not often brought together, unless you link them through the Icelandic Banking collapse a few years ago.  Seldom are the two linked with any commonalities so what is it that these two very different institutions have in common?  

Unfortunately the Lack of Trust and Poor Customers Services experiences can often link these two different sectors.

 

Lack of Trust & Poor Customer Service brings these sectors together

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that the level of trust in the financial services sector has declined immensely, this is particularly true of the Banking Sector.  Trust or trustworthiness is probably the single most important business asset a company has, especially today when there’s an accelerating pace of technical change, innovation, and economic turbulence.

Pressure to Improve Quality of Service

On top of that, there’s a tremendous increase in the power of social media and word of mouth and how that’s all feeding into the reputation economy. Local councils are also under pressure from Citizens for continually cutting services, particularly from front line services.  When front line services are squeezed so does the reputation that comes with a decline in service level offerings.  Being able to offer good services and having a good service level reputation helps to build trust.

Steps Financial Institutions can take to Rebuild Trust with Customers

There are two requirements for earning trust: intention and competence.  If I’m going to trust you, I have to view your intention as good; that you’re acting in my best interest.  I also have to view you as having the competence to carry this out.  If you have the best intentions in the world but you’re not competent enough for me to trust that you’ll execute well to deliver, then I surely will not get a positive customer experience.

Improving Service Agent Competence – A Matter of Knowledge

Competency and capability in service delivery is intrinsically linked to the knowledge made available to the service agent.  Relying on experienced agents with deep and rich experience is not always possible. Hence, a well organised and segmented knowledge base is a key tool for enhancing service delivery.  One way to achieve this quickly and efficiently is to introduce a knowledge management solution to index and organise existing knowledge at source.  This helps making relevant knowledge available to service agents in ways that ensures ongoing improvements in coverage and usability.

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What Problems Are Faced by the IT Help Desk?

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It is clear that the immense pressure faced by the modern-day IT help desk directly correlates to the increasing challenges that they’re up against.  Urged to do more with less whilst becoming increasingly accountable for the results is forcing IT help desks to make better use of available technology, become more process-driven and efficient, whilst still putting the customer first and improve their experience.

Some have been able to rise to the challenge, but, for many, the continuous addition of new pressures has resulted in an inefficient, unproductive IT help desk with staff and results to match.  It is often the case that frazzled service desk staff (that have their customer’s best interests at heart) expend time and effort finding a solution to the problem that they’re working on at that very moment.

However, they fail to acknowledge that the problem may occur on another call a little further down the line, so they find a solution from scratch each and every time.  This inevitably results in a lot of wasted time and effort, with a focus on finding ‘quick win’ answers rather than long-term, re-usable solutions.  So, just what are the challenges that result in pressured help desk staff that don’t maximise their potential?   And, more importantly, how can they be tackled?

IT Help Desk Resource and Budget Constraints

In the current economic downturn, it comes as no surprise that the resource and budget of an IT service desk is being stretched – often far beyond its capabilities.  This reduction inevitably puts a strain on productivity and efficiency – and, without processes for all to adhere to in place, the problem only worsens.

However, at a point where the allocation of resource and budget is tight (and structured processes are, therefore, more important than ever), the pressure to provide customer responses quickly becomes the most important factor – and any structure can easily become a thing of the past. The solution, then?

Rather than a resource-heavy, manually managed process that takes a long time to implement (and, even then, is not necessarily successful or in line with best practice), a technology-driven knowledge management tool that effectively and efficiently drives forward processes and delivers the right information at the right time is key.

Staff Training

With an industry standard of 30-40% staff turnover, the service desk relies on effective training allowing new staff to easily familiarise themselves with information and the most efficient ways to help customers in the shortest amount of time.  However, whilst 89% of the training that staff do receive is on the subject of service desk processes, 49% of staff receive less than 1-2 weeks’ training¹.

This inevitably raises the question as to whether the training is sufficient.  Should more time to be given to training up new staff?  Possibly.  However, with the issue of resource and budget already mentioned, this isn’t always a feasible option – nor is it a preferable choice; service desks require new staff to be up and running in as short a time as possible.

This, then, begs for a solution that combines both effective training with efficiency and increased productivity.  Knowledge management technology offers quick ways to gain knowledge from the expertise held by fellow colleagues, thus significantly reducing training times – and making the training that is received much more effective.

IT Help Desk Challenges for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Finally, the continuous advancement of technology presents its own challenges; whilst effective implementation of new systems offers an array of advantages, the introduction of too many technologies in a short period of time inevitably results in inconsistent results and costly mistakes.  Nowhere is this more apparent than with the increasingly common trend of BYOD.

For tech-savvy staff wanting to use their personal devices to access their work files and information, the issues that arise from this can be extremely problematic.  This is due to the fact that, for BYOD to work, office staff need to be able to confidently rely on the service desk should they require any guidance or advice.

This means that the service desk needs to be able to provide expertise on a much greater number of technologies and devices. BYOD does, however, have its benefits – the ‘always on, always connected’ style of work can ramp up productivity and efficiency, for example.  So, how does a forward-thinking service desk (that wants to accommodate the needs and requirements of its technologically advanced staff) implement a solution that could potentially bring a multitude of issues?

An advanced knowledge tool that has the ability to pull through information from a wide variety of sources – from forums to social media, in-house knowledge to user guides – ensures that the service desk can adequately provide for the requirements of its employees – regardless of the device in question.

“Too often, people think of knowledge management as a noun. They’re mistaken: Knowledge Management is a verb, a way of getting work done.” – Jeff Angus, Knowledge Management World

Challenges faced by the modern day IT help desk could be overcome with the effective use of technology.

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Sunrise Software

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Sunrise Software Knowledge Management Solution for Help-desk and Customer Service Centres

Sunrise is the UK‘s leading independent developer and solution provider for Help Desk and Customer Centre software. With the number and complexity of calls into the help desk rising rapidly and the resources required to maintain the quality of customer service not keeping pace, organizations are demanding a new solution from vendors.  Integration of knowledge management software within the help desk environment allows organizations to store and grow both knowledge and solutions to questions in one central location.  Sunrise chose KPS for its complete knowledge management solutions.

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