Knowledge Base 101: A Beginner's Guide
The foundation of any self-service strategy for support teams centers on having an easily accessible knowledge base. Studies show that 70% of customers prefer to use a company's website to get answers to their questions over using phone or email, and over 50% of customers think it's important to solve product issues themselves rather than rely on customer service.
In this blog post, we'll dive deep into knowledge bases and show you how to plan, create, and deliver powerful knowledge base content that will improve your customer experience significantly.
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a collection of information that is accessible to employees or customers. It includes answers to frequently asked questions, how-to guides, and troubleshooting instructions, designed to make it easy for people to find solutions to their problems anytime, anywhere. In addition, a knowledge base can also come in the form of introductory articles and video demonstrations as well as glossaries and definition lists.
The importance of having a knowledge base
The benefits of having a knowledge base are endless. Some of the most impactful ones include:
Improved customer service
The most important reason to have a knowledge base is how it enhances customer service. Customers can search the knowledge base for solutions to their problems, and if they can't find an answer, they can submit a ticket to your support team.
This strategy enables customers to successfully support themselves. When customers have questions, they can often find the answers in your knowledge base. This means they don’t need to contact customer service, which frees up your staff to deal with more complex issues. In addition, customers who are able to find the answers they need on their own are more likely to be satisfied with your product or service.
A knowledge base can also boost sales by providing potential customers with information about your products and services. When customers can find the information they need right on your website, they're less likely to leave and look for it elsewhere. Spending more time on your website makes them more likely to make a purchase from you. According to RightNow Technologies, 55% of customers say easy access to information and support can make them fall in love with a brand.
Knowledge base content also appears in search results and helps boost SEO. It improves your website’s search engine ranking by increasing the number of indexed pages on your site. As a result, top-notch documentation not only helps your existing clients, but also helps your business attract new customers.
Reduced support costs
A knowledge base can play a big role in reducing costs. When customers have access to information about common issues and solutions, they’re able to resolve problems on their own more often. This means fewer tickets for your team to handle and less time spent on support tasks overall. In addition, a well-organized knowledge base can help you identify and fix common problems before they become bigger issues.
A knowledge base is also a great resource for your team. With up-to-date information at their fingertips, your support staff can quickly resolve tickets and provide better service to customers. Plus, when team members are knowledgeable about the product they’re supporting, it leads to fewer questions and a more streamlined support process.
Knowledge base best practices
By now, we've established how a knowledge base can be an extremely valuable asset to your business. However, creating a successful knowledge base is not as easy as simply putting some articles on a website. Here, we'll go over a few best practices you should follow to make sure your knowledge base is effective.
Include relevant content
The first step in creating a successful knowledge base is to determine what content you will include. Not everything belongs in a knowledge base. The focus should be on providing information that is the most helpful and easy to find. Start by brainstorming the topics that your customers are likely to ask about. Then, create articles that provide clear and concise answers to those questions.
It should also be well-written and easy to understand. Be sure to use keywords and phrases that customers are likely to search for. This will help them find your content more easily. Avoid including irrelevant information or duplicate articles. Your customers won't appreciate having to wade through a lot of unnecessary information to find the answers they need.
Keep it organized
Once you have your content planned out, it’s important to make sure it is organized in a way that makes sense to your customers. Include keywords in your titles and use headings and subheadings to organize your content. Use a logical structure that matches the way your customers think. For example, if you're selling a product, start by listing the features and benefits of the product, explain how to use it, and, finally, provide troubleshooting tips.
If you have a lot of content, it might be helpful to create categories. You could have categories for “Product Overview,” “How to Use,” and “Troubleshooting.” You can also organize your content by topic.
Make it easy to navigate
Be sure to promote your knowledge base prominently on your website's main menu. Make it easy for customers to find and use. Include a search bar so customers can quickly find what they need and make sure that this function is easy to use and returns accurate results.
Grouping articles by topic and using clear headings and subheadings can also help organize the content. Include images and videos where possible, as these can be helpful in explaining complex concepts.
Maintain the information
It’s also important to make sure your content is up-to-date. As your business changes, so will the questions your customers are likely to ask. Be sure to update your knowledge base regularly to ensure that it contains the latest information. Delete old information and add new information as it becomes available. Addressing customer concerns and answering common questions can also help you keep your content up-to-date.
Make sure your contact information is easily accessible, so customers can get help if they need it. And finally, be sure to regularly monitor feedback and comments from customers about your knowledge base. This can help you improve the content and make it even more useful for your customers.
Having a knowledge base is an on-going process
Creating a knowledge base is all about finding what works best for you and your customers. But by following these tips, you can create content and organize it in a way that makes it easy to find and use. As more people use your knowledge base, you'll gain more insight to improve it, and the more successful it will be in the long term.