Knowledge Management – Efficiency and Effectiveness Metrics

There is no limit to the number of knowledge management metrics that can be measured.  There are however a finite number of metrics that must be measured. Essential metrics are those that provide insight into performance against established knowledge management goals and objectives.  Two key knowledge management metrics are efficiency and effectiveness.


The ability to capture and share knowledge offers the potential to reduce the time to resolve a case thus lowering the cost of service delivery.  Efficiency can be achieved by:

  • First Contact Resolution – Increasing the rate that cases are closed on first contact.
  • Diagnostic Time – Reducing the time it takes to diagnose a problem.
  • Total Effort to Resolve (FTE) – Reducing the number of people that need to be involved in resolving a case.
  • Time to Resolve (TTR) –  Accelerating the time it takes to transfer knowledge to customers.


Effectiveness is the measure of how accurately a problem is resolved.  Based on ServiceXRG’s research, the effectiveness of a solution is in many cases more important to a customer than the time it takes to be resolved.  Effectiveness is measured by the accuracy of providing the right answer to a customer.

Effectiveness depends upon the coverage of a particular issue and the ability to find and apply this information.  Effectiveness applies to both self-service and assisted transactions.  The ultimate indicator of effectiveness is the acknowledgement by a customer that this issue is resolved.  Effectiveness can be achieved by:

  • Coverage – Providing comprehensive coverage of issues with which customers are likely to need assistance.
  • Comprehension – Making certain that users of the information can find and understand how to apply the information.

For more information about the benefits of knowledge management see the following research report:

Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management

First Contact Resolution

Defining Knowledge Management Success

Knowledge management success must be clearly defined and articulated to assure that consistent expectations are set about the impact of Knowledge Management.  The definition of knowledge management success will vary from company to company and will evolve as knowledge management initiatives mature.

The definition of knowledge management success must be expressed in terms of formal goals and objectives. Well defined goals and objectives are the basis by which expectations are set about the possible return from an investment in Knowledge Management.

There are four primary elements to be considered in the development of goals and objectives.  These four primary elements include:

  • Efficiency – The ability to improve processes used to diagnose and resolve customer issues by leveraging knowledge assets.
  • Effectiveness – The expected impact of knowledge management to provide timely, accurate and consistent responses to customer questions.
  • Deflection – The potential to resolve customer issues satisfactorily without the direct involvement of support staff. This is achieved by helping customers resolve their issues through self-help access to well documented solutions.
  • Transformation – Transformation describes the redeployment of resources freed-up due to efficiency gains. Transformation represents the direct impact attributable to Knowledge Management including savings, improvements in customer satisfaction and revenue.

Establishing Objectives and Goals

Objectives and goals are the means to describe the expected outcome from knowledge management initiatives. The distinction is as follows:

  • Objectives – the function of a clearly defined objective is to establish realistic and focused expectations of the potential impact from Knowledge Management.
  • Goals – A goal provides an indication of the extent to which an objective is met. Goals must be realistic, and the inputs and assumptions used to establish a goal must be credible.

Objectives and the associated goals provide a basis for determining if the initiative is on target to solve the right problem and the potential to make a meaningful contribution to the business.  The scope and impact of the project as defined by goals and objectives will have a direct correlation to the level of support and funding that can be secured.

Examples of Business Goals and Objectives

Element Objectives Goals (Examples)
Efficiency Improve the speed and accuracy of processes used to diagnose and resolve issues.
  • Improve handle time by x%
  • Simplify the troubleshooting processes
Effectiveness Provide access to technically verified descriptions of known problems and their solutions to assure consistent and accurate responses to customer questions.


  • Increase first contact closure rate by x%
  • Reduce escalations to tier 2 by x %
  • Reduce the rate that previously closed cases are reopened by 40%
  • Increase customer satisfaction with answer provided by x%
Deflection Provide customers with direct access to information to help them help themselves.
  • Meet increasing support demand without the need to hire new service staff
  • Improve resolution rates of self-service resources
  • Improve customer satisfaction scores by x%
Transformation Achieve efficiencies at a sufficient level to redeploy resources to high value activities.
  • Redeploy 3 of the 5 FTE staff to account management activities.


Source: ServiceXRG

For more information about the benefits of knowledge management see the following research report:

Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management – Defining the Business Need

Successful knowledge management is not achieved by chance, rather it is a function of understanding the scope of the required effort, establishing a clear vision of the expected benefits, and securing the support and resources necessary to execute.  The formulation of a successful knowledge management strategy is based on providing answers to five fundamental questions:

  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • What benefits can we expect?
  • How will we measure progress against our goals?
  • What level of support is required from the organization?
  • What is the cost to execute this initiative?

Although it may not be possible to answer these questions conclusively, it is essential to invest sufficient effort towards a reasonable response to each question. Further, there must be organizational acceptance. Failure to articulate answers to the fundamental questions may result in unrealistic expectations or lack of executive support to achieve project objectives. Providing answers to these questions is not only required at the inception of a knowledge management initiative but must be an ongoing activity as the project evolves and matures.

For more information about the benefits of knowledge management see the following research report:

Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management