The Verghis Group

The real bite of knowledge sharing

By adamk on February 18, 2013

Blog by Adam Krob, Senior Advisor

There is an old saying (and a song by a 1980s hair band) in English – “once bitten, twice shy.”  Effectively, it means that if you do something that leads to a negative or painful outcome, then you are unlikely to do it again.  In the old saying, if you pet a dog that bites you, you are less likely to pet that dog again.

Most organizations start knowledge sharing because of a real pain that they want to eliminate.  For support organizations, that pain is the overwhelming volume of the same questions over and over again-questions that, most of the time, someone on the team has answered before.  Knowledge sharing addresses that pain by putting the knowledge of the entire team into a repository that the team and the customers can use to answer these repeating questions, before they become cases.  The words we use to describe knowledge sharing outcomes reflect the desire to avoid the repeating case bite.  We talk about “case avoidance” or “customer deflection” as our goals.

For most of organizations, even those who do knowledge sharing well, they stop here.  Knowledge sharing focuses on gathering knowledge as we answer customer questions, sharing it to prevent other cases from appearing.

I would argue that there is much more power in knowledge sharing.  In even the best practice of knowledge sharing (I believe that Knowledge Centered Support, KCS, is that best practice), the focus is on the case workflow as the primary means to find, improve, and create knowledge.  To go beyond just avoiding the pain of massively repeating cases to truly learning from our entire organization, our partners, and our customers, I suggest a two-step plan.

  1. Identify other events that trigger a need for knowledge
  2. Start to build a process that incorporates sharing, improving, and creating knowledge into that event

Where do you see an event that triggers a need for knowledge in your organization?  A new software release?  A government regulation change?  Training for new partners or

How could you build knowledge sharing into the processes you use to address each one?

Want to pursue these ideas further?

Pricing the Priceless — an interesting read for all of us struggling with measures, metrics and madness.

By Phil Verghis on July 9, 2012

As we struggle with the move from ‘easy’ measures and metrics to outcome-based measures, it is very interesting to see how smart people are trying to define and articulate similarly difficult-to-measure measures on a macro level.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the traditional proxy for how well off a country is. However, it is a measure of economic production or income (not wealth), and it doesn’t help with figuring out how sustainable the growth is.

A new study from a United Nations team lead by Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University has proposed a new measure — the Inclusive Wealth Index. It puts a monetary value on three areas: Physical Capital (manufactured assets), Human Capital (education and skills) and Natural Capital (land, fossil fuels etc.).

As the Economist notes: By putting a dollar value on everything from bauxite to brainpower, the UN’s exercise makes all three kinds of capital comparable and commensurable. It also implies that they are substitutable. A country can lose $100 billion-worth of pastureland, gain $100 billion-worth of skills and be no worse off than before. The framework turns economic policymaking into an “asset-management problem”, says Sir Partha.

Full report:

Highly readable Economist article – where does *your* country stack up in this new way of measuring?

Sir Partha also states the measures are illustrative, not definitive, and that much more work needs to be done to properly refine and develop these concepts. Sound familiar?

Does anyone have access to researchers doing work in this field? It would be great to invite them to join in the discussion and discovery process.

Measures Metrics & Madness: Boston event – October 5, 2011

By Phil Verghis on September 12, 2011

I’ll be leading a highly interactive version of my workshop — ‘Measures, Metrics & Madness: the new world of guiding, not grading’ at the First Wednesday Group session in October. Seats will sell out, so act now…

Courtesy discount code for workshop by Dr. Adam Krob

By Phil Verghis on August 30, 2011

Adam has just informed me that he has a few seats left for his intensive workshop on communication skills and Knowledge Centered Support. September 12-16th, Santa Clara, California. and the courtesy discount code is: SEI2011

Measures, Metrics and Madness workshop announced

By Phil Verghis on December 30, 2010

New date: March 18, 2011. Location – Waltham (Boston), MA. 20 seats, registrations will absolutely close when I reach that number. Early bird discount available…

August 5 webcast now open to all

By Phil Verghis on August 3, 2010

I’ve just been informed that anyone who registers for the webcast Measures, Metrics and Madness: The New World of ‘Guiding, not Grading’ will get the slides and audio sent to them.

Join us to hear from TSIA’s VP of technology research, John Ragsdale, as he interviews Phil Verghis, founder of The Verghis Group. Phil is not only a brilliant strategist and innovator, but also a long-time TSIA community member and a founding member of TSIA’s Expert Alliance Partner program.

Register now for this informative webcast.

“Surviving the SaaS migration”

By Phil Verghis on July 13, 2010

What happens when a software company re-invents itself as a subscription-based service business?

That question is becoming increasingly urgent as the “software as a service” (SaaS) model gains momentum. And on September 22, the First Wednesday Roundtable will take you behind the scenes for a candid look at a company that made this transition–and survived. Our guide will be Renee Bochman, VP of Professional Services and Support at Axeda corporation.

Fascinating talk on ‘economics of open source support’ June 2nd

By Phil Verghis on May 24, 2010 — I’ll be there…

Coming soon — article on “Measures, Metrics and Madness”

By Phil Verghis on April 20, 2010

Well, it has taken me much longer to finish than I thought, but I’ve just put the finishing touches to an interesting new article “Measures, Metrics and Madness”.  It will be the basis for the April 2010 edition of the Verghis View (my newsletter).

Stay tuned… it is truly perhaps the single best method to turbocharge productivity that I have seen.

Customer Service: Reducing churn and bringing in money

By Phil Verghis on April 1, 2010

A highly under-rated and under-used partnership is between marketing and customer support/customer service. I’m working with a large client now where (as part of a larger engagement) we explored and developed a partnership between marketing and customer service that has resulted in more loyal customers that at the same time yields tens of thousands of dollars of incremental revenue a quarter.

Yes, it can be done without turning customer service and support into sales people. They always have to be the customer’s advocate. However, understanding the customer lifecycle, personas and churn risk points and making that part of the support DNA helps. Dramatically.

Embedded in this interesting article from the Economist is something similar that Cablecom (a Swiss cable tv/internet/phone provider) did.

“Like many telecoms providers, Cablecom has grappled with churn.  Using advanced data analytics, Cablecom discovered that although customer defections peaked in the 13th month, the decision to leave was typically around the 9th month (as indicated by things like the number of calls to customer support services).  To reduce defections, Cablecom offered at-risk customers special deals 7 months into their subscription. 

The results were impressive:  customer defections fell from 20% of subscribers a year to under 5%, enabling the firm to save significant marketing acquisition costs while boosting customer satisfaction.”

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