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Speed to Competency for Service Agents – Measurement or Action?

KPS Agent Efficiency

Is increasing speed to competency in a contact centre environment about  measurement or action?  Maybe it is about a bit of both.  By taking advantage of knowledge management tools, service delivery managers can track and substantially improve speed to competency. 

In fact knowledge management tools offer the opportunity to become proactive and redefine the speed with which new employees can achieve competency.

Defining Speed to Competency

In discussions on service agent “speed to competency” the focus is often on the definition and measurement. The rationale is that with a defined and repeatable metric, the effectiveness of employee induction and training programmes can be compared and improved.

What Speed to Competency Measures can Tell You

At the same time the metric will inform on cost of employee attrition and the cost associated with recruiting and assimilating new employees into the organisation.  This helps with planning and budgeting during changes in workload, centre integrations and consolidations.  Speed to competency metrics also highlight the core costs associated with providing a competent team to service inbound call load.

Measuring Speed to Competency

In service desk environments measurement of service agent competency is often using service delivery metrics or KPI’s obtained by the call handling or CRM system.  The key metrics are applied across the team thus comparing the performance card of new team members against target KPI’s or the average performance of the team. Time to competency is defined as the time to achieve the target performance level.

Using Employee Scorecards

This approach can highlight employees that are either faster or slower at developing the skills required to meet the criteria set out in the performance card.  What it may not provide is any diagnostic insight into the reasons for the differences or ways to speed up the learning curve.

Using Call Monitoring

An alternative approach is for line managers and supervisors to monitor service agent interactions including by listening into calls and evaluating call performance on a call-by-call basis.  This approach can be effective and allow for immediate feedback to the service agent. It is also time consuming and risks absorbing time with service agents that are already competent.

Best of Both?

Use a combined approach with metrics used to identify any areas for concern and call monitoring used for diagnostics and feedback. This allows team leaders to focus their efforts towards the employees that need it the most. Whilst more effective this still remains a reactive approach.

Rewriting the “Competency” Rulebook – Let’s Get Proactive

For a start, lets consider what competency means in a service centre.  For the customer, it means getting an appropriate response to your enquiry.  For the service agent it means having ready access to relevant information to allow you to respond to and resolve the enquiry. In short speed to competency is about speed to access relevant knowledge, with the training concentrating on the call handling process, rather than the knowledge needed to resolve a call.

Getting the Information When You Need It

This is where knowledge management tools come in handy.  Not only do they facilitate the organisation of relevant information, they also help present this to the service agent quickly and accurately, especially when a natural language search can be undertaken. With the right information at their fingertips, ALL service agents become more competent.

Process Competency is Quicker than Acquiring Knowledge

This replaces the need for service agents to acquire the organisations knowledge to the much simple task of following the organisations process. Learning and following a process is much simpler and quicker than acquiring a body of knowledge.

Tools to Keep Track and Take Action

An added benefit of knowledge management tools is the analysis of enquiries across the team to identify where additional training could be of benefit, or where additional knowledge would be beneficial. This means that knowledge gaps can be plugged by pushing the most relevant information to individual agents.  For service centres that handle a wide range of tasks and require multi skilled agents, this process can be targeted individually, driving relevant knowledge improvements across the team.

Knowledge Management Tools – Integrating Measurement and Action

In summary, knowledge management tools reduce time to competency pro-actively, by eliminating or reducing the need for service agents to acquire knowledge in order to deliver high quality service. The tools also help track and improve performance through targeted interventions across the team based on the profile of incoming service request that the centre is faced with.

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Accessing Public Service Websites ‘Your Search Yielded no results’

KPS News Blogs

If accessing public services is the 4th main reason for going on-line then why do council search facilities vary and what happens when they fail the citizen when they try accessing public service websites for information?  This is my very personal account when I was on one council website recently, this week, when the frustrations got the better of me, so I just couldn’t help but blog about it!..

Finding Public Service Information via Websites

I just couldn’t find anything, in fact I kept getting presented with a blue smurf error, which at first is funny but just got more and more annoying, especially when it reads; “Check if your spelling is correct” – yes my spelling is correct (it’s not often as I’m dyslexic, but in this instance it most certainly is).  Then the helpful bit of advice suggested that I “Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually”:  “Blue Smurf will match less than blue smurf”. (well bully for the blue smurfs), no quotes were used and when using the exact words on their own, it just retrieved a lot of irrelevant information.

Consider loosening your query – unhelpful comments from web pages

Next it suggested “Consider loosening your query with OR: blue smurf will match less than blue OR smurf”. (again loosening my query – see earlier blog on LA speak, what does this mean to the average Joe?)  Ok so after reading this, I can see that it maybe suggesting that I put OR between the words, why can’t it just say this?

I’m all for techie speak but when its customer facing, really council X is this what you want to say?  My Auntie Jean – not a capable computer user at all, I will admit but realistically will she know what to do with the OR AND etc. or will she just get confused with all those blue smurfs!

The importance of using meaningful language

As citizens we need to help our councils by telling them how we find information, how we search and what we expect – to find the information that we are looking for straight away.  We don’t want to be directed to several links either, trying to understand where they have put the information in what order and what section am I supposed to be looking in to find the answer to my query.

So council X please do organise and manage your information in such a way that I can find it!  However I think this message is falling on deaf ears as I did phone the web manage and he said it was not a priority, so come on members of the public join the message, as a collective we can change opinions and I can’t be the only one wanting to find information from my local council.  We want and should demand a search facility that enables us all to find the information we are looking for, regardless of what keywords we have used when searching – invest to save is a message we need to be sending out.

I would be interested to hear from others about their experiences of finding information on Council or Public Service Web Sites.

Latest from our news room

KPS gains ISO27001 : 2013 Certification

Uncategorised

How Long Does It Take to Implement a Knowledge Management System?

Knowledge Management Guides

How Long Does It Take to Implement a Knowledge Management System?

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