Are you tired of answering monotonous queries from your customers? Does it exhaust all your time that you should be investing in enhancing your products and services? Then a Knowledge Base is a one-stop solution for you. And thanks to your queries and suggestions, we have come up with the all-in-one guide on “How to Create a Knowledge Base that Customers Will Love?” In addition to this, we will also be discussing why creating a knowledge base important?
79% of Negative Feedback Gets Ignored by the Company
When we came across this number, we were a bit shocked. We are guessing, you are too! This is only due to a lack of tools. But, you do not have to be a part of that stat. We will discuss the process of creating an efficient knowledge base by following just 7 simple steps. Thus, keep reading and learning.
Table of Content
Even though this blog is designed to help you in the process of creating a knowledge base, a few fundamentals have never hurt anyone.
In this section, we want to clear the basics regarding knowledge base. After reading this section, you will have a better understanding of what is the purpose of a knowledge base, how it will help you, and why it is necessary. If you already know all of this, please jump to the next section where you can get started in building your knowledge base.
What is a Knowledge Base?
The knowledge base is a published set of documents for self-serve customer service. The knowledge base generally includes the standard operating procedures, guidelines about any product, service, topic, or department, “help” & “support” pages, and FAQs. You might call it an online library for customer and staff learning.
Knowledge bases are the source of accurate and official information about anything. Thus, these are created by someone who is an absolute expert on the topic. In a large organization where it is impossible to maintain the consistency of how things work, the knowledge base works wonders.
The knowledge base can have different structures, depending on whom it is made for. For example, a knowledge base made for customers will not include the employee recruitment process guidelines. And sometimes in addition to the static pages, it may also have chatbots for answering the support questions.
To put it in a simple way, a knowledge base is the user manual for businesses.
Why is the Knowledge Base Necessary?
Do you get tired of answering the same question over and over? Do you get agitated when you can’t remember a procedure no matter how many times you go through that? If your answers are yes, then you might have understood why a knowledge base is necessary.
If you have not, let’s tell you more about it.
The key to success for any business is consistency. And knowledge bases bring the same for you. When the customers ask for information such as ‘how to get a refund’, it might vary if it is done manually. And this can create a misunderstanding between you and your customers.
Whereas, if customers are provided with the knowledge base, the answer is never going to vary and you can also attach an application form to make it easy for both ends.
Customer service is a very time-consuming task. If an organization handles every customer question manually, it can take forever. It keeps customers waiting even for answers and your employees stuck in monotonous tasks. Therefore, if you have a knowledge base, your customers can look up FAQs regarding any product or service.
Just imagine how much time would it save of yours and of your customers too.
By utilizing a knowledge base, you can cut on your customer support budgets. The knowledge base can save you numerous calls and responding communications.
The knowledge base allows your customers to find every information that they possibly need in one place. They do not have to get any support tickets, wait for the response from support staff, they don’t even have to mind your hours of operation. All they have to do is check your knowledge base.
Moreover, most of the customers prefer self-service. People tend to make a call only when they can not find the information they are looking for.
This convenience adds to the customer satisfaction and growth of your business.
One more reason why the knowledge base is necessary is that it offers different learning styles. People like to have their information in different styles. Some want to read about it, some want to hear about it and some want to learn by watching videos. A knowledge base can satisfy all of your customers by providing information on the way they like it.
Therefore, if you want to keep your business organized, you should create a knowledge base. As simple as that.
Alright! Who wouldn’t be convinced already right?
So, let’s see characteristics that make a knowledge base effective.
Characteristics of an Effective Knowledge Base
The knowledge base should cover all the possible customer questions. If the customer is not able to find the information on the topic that they want, it leads to a poor customer experience. This way a simple question can end up as a complaint.
Given that you want customers to use the knowledge base, it should be handy. They should be able to access it anywhere and anytime without any complications. For example, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “What if I forgot my login password?”. Now, make sure they need not log in to get the answer.
Since the Knowledge base should be extensive, it can be a heap of information. Thus, an effective knowledge base should be searchable. Provide your customers with a search bar. This way, they can easily look up answers to their questions without mining tons of pages. After all, all of your customers are not detectives.
Most of the time, customers refer to a knowledge base because they are having difficulties understanding a topic in the first place. An efficient knowledge base chops down big chunks of information in easy-to-grasp and intelligible pieces. The knowledge base should make sure once the customer has found the answer, they need not look anywhere else.
This one might sound tacit, but it is worth mentioning. An effective knowledge base should be factual, true, and to the point. The users should not feel doubtful about the information that it provides. Confirm and prof checks the information every letter before publishing it.
Okay! Now that we have built up a firm foundation, it is time to start constructing the building. Hence, let’s get started.
7 Basic Steps in Building a Knowledge Base
Creating a knowledge base might overwhelm you. But in actual it is not that big of a task if simplified by disintegrating into basic steps.
Therefore, we have come up with 7 such basic steps by which you can create a knowledge base easily.
Step #1: Define the Purpose
Step #2: Bring-in the Experts
Step #3: Design the Structure
Step #4: Create the Content
Step #5: Setup the Tech End
Step #6: Gather Feedback
Step #7: Update & Improve
Hence let’s dive deep into every step and discuss it in detail.
Define the Purpose
As mentioned above, a knowledge base can be for many purposes. And the first step is to define the purpose of creating a knowledge base.
How would you define the purpose? By getting a clear idea about two aspects.
Are you creating the knowledge base for providing information about a newly launched product of yours? Or is it for the information regarding the one that is about to launch? Or it might include all. Getting this clear will help you to define the scope of your knowledge base.
By knowing more about the service, you can prepare the most frequently asked questions and their answers. It also provides you with a list of features and areas that you need to cover.
Once you know what it is being made for, then the focus should be on for whom it is being made.
Knowing the audience is as important as it is to know the scope.
Is it for customer support, customer support team, or potential customers? Whoever is referring to your knowledge base must find it relevant and useful.
To get it right you need to ask yourself the following questions.
- What would the audience expect out of it? (Standard operating procedures or troubleshooting)
- What are the areas where the audience might face problems? (Installation or maintenance)
- What areas would be the audience most interested in? (Specific feature or update)
Answers to these questions would help you a lot while structuring the knowledge base. These are basic surveys to know vital aspects of your knowledge base, such as:
- where to start & where to finish,
- which section needs how much weightage, & most importantly,
- the point of view of the audience.
We have elaborated this step to such an extent because everything further depends on the purpose of the knowledge base. If the end goal is not engraved, it might end up being vague and futile.
Thus, if you want to create good knowledge base articles, do not take this step for granted.
Bring in the Experts
It will not be wrong to say that accuracy is the most dominating property of functional knowledge bases. If it is not accurate, the presentation and design have no values. And if the knowledge base has the utmost accuracy, the customers will be willing to compromise with the design and presentation.
By no means we are saying that effective presentation is not necessary but it is to enhance the customer experience. But it must be the accuracy at the heart of the knowledge base.
Therefore, irrespective of the scale of the project, you should always consult with the experts. Never try to put information on your own. Knowing the customer questions and their answers are better done by them. Moreover, you might need to bring different routes to solutions for the same issue. This way, you can give a better customer experience.
Thus, call meetings with the designers and developers of the product and ask them why the product has a particular design or feature? Meet up with the customer service team and inquire about the most FAQ they get from the customers.
Before launching or finalizing the product, it must have gone through numerous testings and updates. Thus, make use of all that effort and gather all the information about what problems were faced and how the developers resolved them. Knowing all these details will help you to compile the best knowledge base for customers.
Sometimes, data is the best expert. To enhance customer support, you can go through the help desk data. Analyze the support tickets, prioritize your focus based on the ticket volume of the problems faced by customers. Data analytics from the help center can provide you with the most accurate queries and information about user feedback.
Since the first place users run for a solution are search engines, scour the internet for analytics about questions and queries regarding your product, and similar products from your competitors. This will help you create an extensive knowledge base software. Try to cover as many points as you can under the umbrella.
And most importantly, do not forget it is a team effort. The more experts you will bring-in, the better the knowledge base article would get.
Design the Structure
Without a proper structure design, the customers would not be able to find the information that they are looking for even if you have included it. The structure design of the knowledge base software adds to the searchability as well as accessibility.
By designing the structure, we mean nothing but the flow and segments of the knowledge base articles. The foremost basic thing you need to start is by deciding the following.
Sections are designed so that the customers can find all the information on a topic at the same place. Although there is no one right way to go, the best practices are all about minimizing the customer’s effort. We recommend you the Outside-in approach. Start from the shores and gradually step in. This is one of the best methods to build a knowledge base as crisp as it gets.
Hence, the first thing to figure out is the number of sections. Knowledge bases come in all sizes. Starting right from a single page to several volumes. A knowledge base software may contain a homepage, several inner pages depending on the scale and scope, and additional information pages.
Therefore, you should decide the number of sections that would need to cover all the information about the product or service.
After deciding the boundaries, let’s move into the inner circles. The next thing to structure is the clusters of the articles. Again, there are a lot of ways you can design the clusters. You can design them product-wise, element-wise, or based on any other criteria. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to be consistent. Whatever the criteria you select for clustering the knowledge base articles, make sure it is applicable throughout.
The order of the knowledge base article is also vital for a great user experience. If you have clustered the articles product-wise, decide which product needs to be the first, and which one after that. And if you have grouped them element-wise, then decide the order of elements. Such as FAQs should be at the top or end and which method of solving should be first? The structure of any knowledge base software decides how easily the users get to the relevant information. And if the users can’t find what they want in a few clicks, your knowledge base will do nothing other than just exist.
Create the Content
When they say content is king, we could not agree more. Especially for the knowledge base content.
Knowledge base content is the soul of the user experience. Factual and informative content can single-handedly improve the customer service rating of your business.
Hence, if you want to build a knowledge base that customers love, do not check the following rules.
The context of the customer is the key when you are writing knowledge base content for self-service. You can get the customer support tickets. These tickets are written by the users and you can study them for the general language, and the most commonly used words. By incorporating those words and language, you can create content that they can understand.
Knowledge base content should have self-explanatory titles. The users should get an idea about the content by looking at the title itself. If not done so, the users have to consume all the content and spend much of the time just to look for the right information. And most of the time they would not use the knowledge base software at all. Thus, ensure to keep easily understandable titles.
Most of the knowledge base content is text. Users can read the document anywhere anytime. The text does not take too much data and loading time. Therefore the written content is widely used. Having said that, sometimes it is hard to explain a process only relying on words. And modern technology allows us to add multiple formats of the knowledge base content. Videos, screenshots, flowcharts, and diagrams can make the information easy to understand. And reading may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Other than that, it makes the content much more interactive and adds to the user experience. Thus, instead of telling, you can show them how it’s done.Making grammatical errors and typos is just part of being a human. Therefore, thoroughly proofread every line of the knowledge base content at least twice. And not just the written content, but the images, links, and videos too. You should not publish the content without checking.
Setup the Tech End
The content is the soul indeed, but it is the technology that puts life in the knowledge base tool. Modern-day technology has revolutionized the way knowledge base software used to work.
Over time, some of the features have turned from accessories to necessaries. And to incorporate them, the technical support team is going to be your best friend.
Alright! Let’s talk about those features.
The first thing that customers look for in any knowledge base is the search function. Without a search feature, it can be a tedious task to pinpoint specific information out of heaps of similar content. The search bar makes finding the relevant information a stroll in the garden. All your customer has to do one click and all the relevant content shows up in the search results. Therefore do not miss out on this feature.
ChatBots are straight out of sci-fi movies. Chatbots use Artificial Intelligence to simulate human conversation through chat messages and voice. These can provide your customers with a live chat help desk.
You do not need your customers to log in every time they want to look at the same information. Customers should be able to share and export the information easily. And data analysis is a primary function wherever the data is involved. Thus, not including these features would disappoint your customers.
SEO optimization is the feature that makes your knowledge base content search engine friendly. What is the purpose if it can not reach the users? SEO optimization helps the knowledge base get a smaller rank in the search results of various search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These elements are the industry standard features that customers expect. Other than these, features like the ability to integrate particular systems and connect platforms are always welcomed.
Moreover, the technical designer and developers should put all their resources to ensure security and compliance with accessibility.
If you have got it all done, it’s time to test every feature and functionality. The search function and chatbots should work perfectly and all the various post formats should be functioning smoothly without any error.
Feedback is vital for making anything perfect. Therefore, once you have created the knowledge base and tested it thoroughly, let others try it as well. Try to accumulate as much feedback as you can, because it only polishes the software.
Customers need different functionalities and features, depending on the system they use to access the information. And it is quite normal to miss out on such tiny details. Feedback sheds light on such bugs and helps you get nothing but better. Also, gathering feedback is one of the primary agendas of a knowledge base tool.
You can accumulate feedback directly from the customers by allowing them to rate the helpfulness of the knowledge base articles. A simple scale of rating from 1 to 5 can give you insight into the usability of the knowledge base articles.
The other means to collect feedback is from your customer relationship management analytics. Customer support staff can generate great in-depth feedback data by asking directly to the customers.
If that’s not enough, understand and study in-depth the user behavior that Google analytics can provide you. You can analyze user behavior on each page for further enhancing.
Alright! You have the feedback and all the data. Now what?
First and foremost, whatever the feedback may be, an appreciation or complaint, always respond to as many as you can. Especially the ones which customers have given you first hand.
Most businesses fail to respond to customer feedback and it adds to brand degradation.
After responding and understanding the customer’s requirements, you need to update the articles accordingly.
Which brings us to the next step.
Update & Improve
This step is a never-ending one. Updates and improvements are constant processes. You can never attain perfection. All you can do is get it better than before.
There are three basic types of updates.
The feedback that we gathered is put in use here. The knowledge base articles should be updated for new questions and features.
You need to update when your business introduces or abandons any products and services. Ensure, if it needs to add the new sections, update it before the launch of the new products or services. And if a section needs to be removed, do it after a while of the actual abundance.This way the users are well prepared for the exciting new launch and also prepared to wind up the use of the products that are declared out of service.
Other than the above two updates, the most important are the regular updates. These updates are planned on a regular time interval, whether feedback suggests any or not. Timely reviews and improvements are the ones that enhance your software tool and keep you in the competition. This includes integrating new technologies and keeping the design up with modern trends.
Every knowledge base should include the following elements:
- Detailed description
- FAQ section
- Search function
- Live chat option
Hurray! Congratulations on becoming an expert on creating a knowledge base for customers. As we discussed the 7 simple steps to create an effective knowledge base, you can now go and ace the game right away.
Therefore, go to create your knowledge base for better customer service. What? Is it easier said than done? No worries you are welcome to use The Cloud Tutorial to get your knowledge base ready in no time.
If you choose to use The Cloud Tutorial, you can provide unmatched customer service, take business decisions based on accurate data, and spend the least time answering the questions. With The Cloud Tutorial, you can easily enhance your FAQ section with just a few clicks.
So, what are you waiting for? Hurry and Sign Up now!
If you liked this blog, we would like to share more knowledge on Top Digital Knowledge Management Platforms and 10 Best Knowledge Base Open Source Software Solution.
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