KCS® FAQ - ServiceNow® Customer Service Management (CSM)


What is KCS?

KCS is Knowledge-Centered Service. High performing customer service leaders know that Knowledge Management can increase customer satisfaction while reducing the cost of service. KCS is a set of principles and best practices for increasing the effectiveness of knowledge and improving knowledge creation efficiency by striving to:

  • Integrate the reuse, improvement, and (if it doesn’t exist) creation of knowledge into the problem-solving process
  • Evolve content based on demand and usage
  • Develop a knowledge base of collective experience to date
  • Reward learning, collaboration, sharing, and improving

Over the course of six revisions, KCS has evolved into a rich methodology – a set of practices for creating and maintaining knowledge in knowledge-intensive environments. Unlike the traditional add-on process of knowledge engineering, KCS is designed to be an integral part of day-to-day operations. KCS becomes the way people solve problems and creates knowledge as a by-product of problem-solving.

While KCS is enabled by technology, KCS is primarily about people. People are the source of knowledge. KCS has proven that the best people to capture and maintain support knowledge are the people who create and use it every day.

For optimum performance, KCS practices and the tools that support them must be integrated with other customer support and business systems.

What is the difference between KCS Certification and KCS Verification?

People get certified and tools get verified.

What is the Consortium for Service InnovationTM and how does it differ from the KCS Academy?

The Consortium for Service Innovation is a non-profit that developed and continues to maintain the KCS methodology. It is an alliance of service and support organizations focused on innovation around customer engagement, productivity, and success.

Members create innovative operational models through a process of collective thinking and experience. The Consortium’s work integrates academic research and emerging business trends with members’ operational perspectives. The results are new strategies and models that improve the customer experience such as KCS.

The KCS Academy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Consortium for Service Innovation which offers KCS certification for people and KCS Verified and Aligned designations for tools and services.  The KCS Academy is the source for KCS resources and the only authorized certifying body for KCS certification.

How does a company like ServiceNow get its products KCS Verified?

Obtaining KCS verification is a rigorous process with specific requirements laid out by the KCS Academy.  To achieve verification, vendors must submit an application and complete detailed self-assessment worksheets explaining how each practice requirement and sample report is implemented.  Finally, they must successfully deliver an in-depth set of demo scenarios following the KCS Technology Demo script.  Because of this rigorous process, a select few vendors achieve verification status.  Working with KCS v6 Verified vendors such as ServiceNow helps ensure your organization can successfully implement KCS.


We use knowledge management today in customer service.  How does KCS make things better for us?

KCS is implemented in service organizations in order to scale their support capabilities – to deliver greater value with more efficiency.  Typical outcomes include dramatic improvements in case and incident resolution and training times, in customer satisfaction, and in analyst job satisfaction.  KCS is key to enabling service organizations to shift left, handling the majority of customers issues through self-service (knowledge base searches and solutions chatbots can offer, for example), automation, and proactive services.  Over time the cases coming in are mainly on new issues.


What’s involved in adopting KCS?

Choosing a KCS verified vendor is critical, but it is only a start.  The other critical ingredients in a successful KCS implementation are the people, processes, training, metrics and goal-setting, and leadership.  ServiceNow delivered a webinar, Leveraging CSM to deliver on KCS, to help guide you in your KCS journey.  The KCS Academy has all of the resources (training, case studies, guides, etc.) needed to support you in your KCS adoption. 

Who can help my organization with adopting KCS, and where do I go for more information?

The KCS Academy website offers a wealth of information about the KCS practices, verified vendors, and available resources.


Do software products support KCS practices out of the box?

While many KCS practices are supported out of the box in CSM, all products require some amount of configuration and customization to be KCS Verified.  Descriptions of the ServiceNow out of the box features, configurations and customizations required to support the KCS v6 practices are documented in our completed ServiceNow KCS v6 Verified Self-Assessment Worksheet.

How does a customer or ServiceNow employee or partner learn how to perform the KCS Practices with ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM)? 

The ServiceNow KCS v6 Verified Self-Assessment Worksheet specifies the requirements for v6 verification and documents how those requirements are achieved for ServiceNow CSM, which is available to licensed customers.  From this worksheet, you can review the links to the KCS practices and review how the requirements are fulfilled out of the box, through configuration, or customization.  Click here to access the spreadsheet.  Please note that the self-assessment worksheet has been updated for the New York release of Customer Service Management / Knowledge Management.  The initial KCS v6 Verification was done against the London release of Customer Service Management / Knowledge Management.

I see that is only CSM is listed as KCS v6 Verified.  What about IT Service Management (ITSM) and HR Service Delivery (HR)?

ServiceNow Knowledge Management is a common component leveraged by CSM, ITSM, and HR.  There are some minor differences on how Knowledge was integrated into those applications.  We documented and demoed CSM for the KCSv6 Verification, but ITSM and HR could have been KCS v6 Verified if we had tailored the documentation and demo to either one of them. 

KCS v6 can be implemented in an organization as part of a CSM, ITSM and/or HR deployment – the implementation details will vary slightly.  ServiceNow Professional Services or one of our services partners can advise as to specifics.