Think of a customer service knowledge base as a map that will guide your customers to their answers without external help.
You already know a knowledge base can benefit your customers and support team. From improved customer relationships and efficiency to reduced costs and resources, it’s a no brainer.
But the thought of creating one can be daunting to say the least. Where is the best place to start? What do you even write?
Look no further than this starter guide to the best practices when creating a knowledge base for customer self-service. Your customers and employees alike will thank you. Trust us.
Do You Really Need A Knowledge Base?
When a company’s customer support team is buried in tickets or calls it might feel like they’ll never get ahead. Add answering the same questions over and over into the mix and things can get even more frustrating. Not to mention time consuming.
At some point it’s time to move out of that reactive state and start putting efficiency to use. Which is exactly where a knowledge base comes into play. Creating one will not only save time answering repetitive questions but will free up time to focus on improving customer experience in other areas or simply focusing on more important tasks.
Think of a customer service knowledge base as a map that will guide your customers to their answers without external help. It’s actually what people want according to a study that uncovered that 70% of customers expect a company’s website to include a self-service option.
The same study also noted 40% said they prefer self-service over chatting or calling in to a support team. Of course, a knowledge base will never be a replacement for a customer service team but it can certainly compliment it.
What To Write About
What do you even write about when you’re creating your knowledge base? Simple. Start with the most common problems and questions your customers have then move forward from there.
Here are a few ways to figure out what those problems and questions are if you don’t already have a good idea:
- Review support chat transcripts and emails. Combing through transcripts and emails can help you to dig deeper into what your customers are asking, the language they use and how the customer support team is responding. Pro tip: tag emails, tickets and transcripts when you possible to make them easier to sort.
- Talk to the support team. Even if you view chat transcripts and emails, it’s always great to hear straight from the people dealing directly with the customers on a daily basis.
- Ask Google. Or whatever search engine or SEO tool you use. Browse search queries and take a peek at analytics to gain more insight on what your people are looking for and how they’re asking for the information.
The Structure of Knowledge Base Articles
It should be clear by now that the focus is on your customers and their needs when creating a customer service knowledge base. That means the information not only needs to relevant but it also needs to use the right language and be easy to understand.
Overall, creating knowledge base content is like writing any other educational or technical content and should follow suite in format. This means the content needs to include strong headlines, keep the reader’s attention, link to additional resources and focus on speaking to the reader in terms they’ll understand (meaning don’t go overboard on the industry jargon).
Make sure there is some form of visual included with all text based content whether it be simple screenshots, graphics or a video. Also, having a mixture of articles and video walkthroughs or lessons can be helpful for those who learn better by listening or watching vs. reading and vice versa.
Organizing Your New Customer Service Knowledge Base
If your customers can’t find the information they’re looking for, your customer service knowledge base isn’t doing its job. They don’t want to spend any more time than they have to looking for answers.
Break things into manageable chunks instead of making people scroll through an endless list of self-help articles. For example, group ‘getting started’ type information together and troubleshooting questions or how-to instructions in their own space. It will be easier to start categorizing information as the knowledge base grows and trends start to form.
In addition to separating information by category, providing an FAQ section can be helpful. This can help make things even easier for people who just need some quick help with common issues. The FAQ section is also a great place to link to more in-depth help articles throughout the knowledge base.
Lastly, make sure your readers can search! That is what they’re there for after all. This leans more towards design and function of your site but a search bar function in plain site is a must on the knowledge base page. (It’s also why clear, concise headlines are super important – they’re easier to find!)
Keep Up With Change
Like everything else in business, nothing is static. Some articles will become redundant after a while, products and services will change, and as people start interacting with the knowledge base you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for your audience.
There will always be new ideas and new questions that arise. The key is to be a part of the ebb and flow of change and to make sure your knowledge base reflects that.
If you want people to come back, don’t make it difficult for them to find the information they need from your business. Put it right in the open for them to use when and how they want.