Customers today demand quick and efficient solutions to their queries, and the ability to provide prompt problem-solving has become a defining characteristic of excellent customer service. Studies have shown that approximately 60 percent of consumers view rapid issue resolution as a hallmark of top-notch customer support. But how can businesses meet this demand without compromising on the quality of assistance provided? The answer lies in creating a robust and user-friendly knowledge base.
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base serves as a powerful tool for delivering fast and efficient customer support. It essentially functions as an online library of information, encompassing details about products, services, or specific topics. This comprehensive resource offers two main types of knowledge bases: internal and external.
1. Internal Knowledge Bases: A Treasure Trove for Streamlining Company Operations
Internal knowledge bases are designed to document and share vital policies and resources within a company. These knowledge bases are exclusively accessible to employees, making them an ideal repository for storing private company information. Such internal knowledge bases often include details about organizational structure, onboarding processes, HR and legal policies, and technical support.
One company that benefits greatly from an internal knowledge base is Polaris Adventures, where Nora Raisanen, the R&D platform manager, emphasizes its significance in the onboarding process. New agents can quickly get up to speed without having to comb through documentation scattered across different platforms. This streamlined approach not only saves time but also enhances the efficiency of the team.
2. External Knowledge Bases: Empowering Customers for Independent Solutions
On the other hand, external knowledge bases are tailored to serve customers and the public. They provide on-demand support by addressing common questions and offering guidance on using products or services successfully. By making such resources available to customers, businesses empower them to resolve issues independently, reducing their reliance on customer support agents.
The potential benefits of external knowledge bases are evident. Research indicates that a significant 79 percent of customers managed to resolve problems on their own by utilizing knowledge base resources. By enabling customers to access helpful information quickly, companies can not only streamline their support processes but also enhance customer satisfaction.
Building an Effective Knowledge Base: Best Practices to Follow
Creating a powerful knowledge base requires careful planning and execution. Here are some best practices to consider when designing your knowledge base:
1. Identifying the Questions You Want to Answer
To build a knowledge base that truly meets the needs of your customers, start by identifying the most common questions they ask. Engage your support agents in the process, as they handle customer queries regularly and have invaluable insights into recurring issues. Reviewing support tickets can also provide valuable information about frequently encountered problems.
When building an internal knowledge base, it is essential to identify which departments are often bogged down by requests and questions. For instance, you may find that your HR staff consistently fields questions from new hires, or your IT team spends a significant amount of time helping employees troubleshoot software-related issues.
2. Investing in Knowledge Base Software
To ensure a seamless self-service experience, invest in knowledge-base software that offers essential features for both customers and employees. Look for tools with a user-friendly search bar that enables users to find relevant information effortlessly. Feedback mechanisms are equally crucial as they allow customers to provide insights into the helpfulness of the provided content.
Moreover, the integration of AI technologies like chatbots can enhance the overall user experience. These AI-driven chatbots can offer real-time assistance and guide users to the most relevant articles or resources, further promoting self-service and reducing the need for direct customer support.
Additionally, choosing knowledge base software that allows easy content upload, publication, revisions, and performance analysis is essential for maintaining an up-to-date and efficient knowledge base.
3. Engaging Knowledge Base Contributors
Building a comprehensive knowledge base requires insights from various departments. Assemble a team of contributors, including members from customer support, product development, and engineering teams. Each contributor can play a pivotal role by answering questions and creating informative content in various formats, such as articles, videos, or in-depth guides.
Diversifying the pool of contributors ensures that different perspectives and expertise are incorporated into the knowledge base, resulting in more well-rounded and comprehensive content.
4. Setting Editorial Guidelines for Quality and Consistency
Maintaining uniformity in the presentation of content is crucial for a seamless user experience. Provide contributors with style guides and templates for various content formats to ensure consistency throughout the knowledge base.
Introducing editorial guidelines from the outset sets a high standard for content quality and aids in avoiding potential confusion among contributors. As the knowledge base evolves, you can introduce new guidelines to address emerging requirements, but having a solid foundation of guidelines from the beginning is beneficial.
5. Crafting Engaging and Accessible Content
An effective knowledge base should be accessible to a wide range of users, regardless of their level of expertise or familiarity with the subject matter. To achieve this, ensure that the content is free from jargon and uses language that is easy to understand.
In addition to well-crafted written content, consider incorporating visual elements like infographics, photos, and videos. These visuals not only break up the text but also enhance user engagement and understanding.
The inclusion of visuals can be especially valuable when explaining complex processes or guiding users through step-by-step instructions. Such multimedia content can cater to various learning styles, making the knowledge base even more effective and user-friendly.
6. Optimizing for SEO
Creating an external knowledge base that is easily discoverable is crucial for reaching a broader audience. To achieve this, optimize the knowledge base for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords that users are likely to use when searching for information.
Consider what phrases or terms customers might use to find solutions related to your products or services. By aligning the knowledge base's content with commonly used search terms, you increase the likelihood of your articles appearing in search engine results, attracting new visitors to your website.
An SEO-friendly knowledge base not only improves visibility but also enhances customer satisfaction, as users can quickly find the answers they need.
7. Monitoring and Measuring Performance
After launching your knowledge base, the journey to delivering exceptional customer support does not end. Continuously monitor the knowledge base's performance through various metrics, such as page views, resolution times, and customer inquiries.
Analyzing these metrics provides valuable insights into how customers interact with the knowledge base. For example, tracking the time spent on each page helps determine the content's relevance and effectiveness. If users spend significant time on particular articles, it indicates that the content is valuable and aligns with their needs.
Conversely, if users leave the knowledge base quickly after accessing certain pages, it might signal a need for content improvement or a lack of relevance. By analyzing such data, you can identify potential areas of improvement and optimize the knowledge base to better cater to users' needs.
A well-constructed knowledge base can prove to be an indispensable tool for both customers and companies alike. By empowering customers to resolve issues independently, businesses can streamline their support processes and enhance customer satisfaction. Moreover, internal knowledge bases contribute significantly to the efficiency of company operations.
To create an effective knowledge base, businesses must carefully identify customer pain points, invest in appropriate software, engage contributors from various departments, maintain content quality and consistency, craft user-friendly and engaging content, optimize for search engines, and continuously monitor and measure performance.