You are constantly working to deliver the best possible customer service to your customers, as they are what keep your business alive.
However, you can become easily frustrated when you find that your customer support team is answering the same questions repeatedly.
When this happens, you need to figure out a way to scale your customer support and provide better assistance to your customers.
One form to do this is with self-serve customer service, also known as a knowledge base, which is at the heart of data-driven marketing.
It is essentially a large library of information that specifically relates to your business offerings. When done right, a strong knowledge base has the potential to improve the overall customer experience while also scaling down your own customer support program.
Let’s learn more about it and how you can create one that helps your business thrive.
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is an online or offline content library that consists of various information regarding a product, service, or even topic.
It is filled with tutorials, guides, and answers to common questions your customers have.
It is self-serve, allowing the user to find answers to their questions, and it can be used internally among employees or externally for customers and prospects.
Its primary goal is to provide end-users with the information they need to solve a problem they are having without needing to rely on another individual.
What are the Types of Knowledge Base?
There are multiple types, all of which serve a different purpose. Some are for internal use, some are for external use, and some are for both!
Internal Knowledge Base
An internal knowledge base is generally used so that employees have a more efficient way to collaborate with one another and share company data internally with each other and different departments.
It contains information that isn’t intended for viewing by the public.
You may find onboarding information, human resources information, legal documents, meeting agenda, company vision statements, company calendars/schedules, team resources, IT manuals, and more.
External Customer Knowledge Base
A customer knowledge base is external, which means it is designed to help those who are outside of the company. It contains information that is intended for public viewing.
A customer knowledge base will help customers learn more about the products/services that you offer, how to solve common issues related to the products/services, and more.
Research shows that most consumers want to look for an answer themselves before contacting the company, and a knowledge base serves as the best place for accurate information.
Keep in mind that the content in any knowledge base can vary, but as a general rule, it will include various information about how to use a company’s products, how to take advantage of advanced features, and overcome some common problems.
Why is a Knowledge Base Necessary for Businesses?
In today’s tech-driven world, end-users expect accurate information to be available at their fingertips — literally.
Most people don’t want to have to make a phone call to a company to get the answers they need. They want to gain access to the answer to their question immediately.
In fact, this last statement refers to 90% of customers, according to a study performed. This is where a knowledge base comes into play.
With the development and implementation of a strong knowledge base, your company will reap many benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Being able to deliver faster and more consistent customer service.
- Improved self-service with your customers.
- Being able to offer regular updates regarding products/services and their features.
- Reducing training overhead.
How Do You Create a Simple Knowledge Base?
Your knowledge base should exist to consist of quality, helpful content for its users. It should save your customers time by solving common problems. Above all else, it should be organized and up to date at all times.
Here is a look at a few steps you can take to begin building a simple knowledge base.
1. Decide on the Core Elements of Your Knowledge Base
Your first step is to determine what will make up the foundation of it.
You can find pre-designed templates that have the core elements included, which means you just need to provide the actual content.
Basically, there are three main elements any basic knowledge base should have:
The FAQ section is where most customers will go when they have simple questions about your product/service.
Make sure they are able to find one and make it easily accessible to them.
It saves your customers time and effort, and your customer service team gets to focus on more serious issues.
Contact Support Option
Regardless of how many questions and answers you have in the FAQ section, it may just not be enough for a customer.
If this is the case, you want an easily seen and accessible “Contact Support” option available.
Ideally, this option should be available on all FAQ pages, so they can easily click on the button/link when the page fails to answer their question.
The last thing you want is your customers searching and searching for a contact option.
As a general rule, a simple knowledge base will have a search bar/function before anyone has access to the information within.
Having a search function ensures those customers who are looking for something specific can find it easier.
2. Choose Your Knowledge Base Content
It can be pretty overwhelming trying to figure out what content you should begin with as you create your knowledge base.
Ultimately, you need to focus on the topics that your customers are likely to ask.
As you begin the content creation process, you will want to start off small. Start with the basics, as this will not require any kind of significant research to complete.
From there, you can begin creating more in-depth content, which will require some research on your part.
Check into past help desk requests, customer support tickets, etc. Identify areas of common concern and use this information to create your FAQ section.
Consider breaking up your content into categories, which will make it easier for your customers to find the topic they’re looking for. This will improve the overall user experience.
3. Agree on the Structure of Your Knowledge Base Articles
To make the content creation process easier, you may want to develop a simple template that is used for all knowledge base articles. Here is a good start:
- Step by Step Process
- Related Resources
With this basic template, you will explain the problem the customer is having, go into a step by step process that will solve the issue or help them complete a task, let them know what should happen after they’ve completed the step by step process, and offer related articles in case they need further assistance.
Make sure your knowledge base article structure puts the most important information at the start of the content and all steps are listed in chronological order (or the easier steps first if no specific order is necessary).
4. Write Your Knowledge Base Articles
Now that you’ve built your foundation and created a structure for your articles, it is time to start writing.
As you begin, make sure that you are always assuming that the user is a novice with no prior knowledge of basically anything.
Therefore, you should never use industry-related terms or jargon. While it makes sense to you, it probably doesn’t to them.
Make everything as simple as possible. Here are a few tips:
- Keep it short, sweet, simple, and to the point.
- Write in short paragraphs.
- Create bullet points and lists.
- Utilize bold and italics.
- Add links to additional resources.
5. Add Visuals to Your Content
Visuals help create more appealing and effective content within your knowledge base.
The most common visuals used in this sense include screenshots, instructional videos, and the like.
However, it is imperative that you do not replace text with visuals. Visuals should serve as supplementary information.
Plus, there are many people that would prefer to read instead of watching a video.
Further, in the event that an image or video is unable to load, you need to ensure customers still have access to the necessary information.
6. Publish Your Knowledge Base
Now that you have everything put together, it is time to publish your knowledge base so it can be used.
Ideally, it should be easy to find on your website as well as search engines.
Feature a link to your knowledge base anywhere and everywhere you can. This will increase the chances of customers finding it.
7. Analyze and Improve Your Articles
Just like anything else you do for your business, you must track the performance of the knowledge base.
In doing so, you can learn what’s working and what may not be working the best.
As you are analyzing the success of your content, you should track the decreased volume of tickets and increased satisfaction of customers.
Take a close look at what areas of the knowledge base your customers are using the most and what they’re searching for initially.
This information can help you identify potential areas of improvement, including topics to add.
Periodically, you should perform a full audit of the knowledge base so that you can update content and remove old, irrelevant content. It should expand as your company grows.
In the end, a successful knowledge base has the potential to save you time and money while also keeping your customers and employees happier.
While it will take some time and effort upfront to get it going, the end result is well worth it.
Having a knowledge base at your helm will allow you to put your focus on other efforts, such as customer empowerment and education, since there will be a decline in customer support tickets.
Ready to take the plunge and improve your business?
Take this Content Marketing Maturity assessment to identify areas of success and areas that require a bit of improvement.