Believe it or not, your customers love self-service: three out of four consumers choose to resolve product issues on their own if they can. And if you want to keep those customers, you should provide them with self-service information. The cheapest way to do this is to create a knowledge base.
If this concept is new to you, congratulations — you have a few highly informative minutes ahead of you. Even if you know what it is, read on, because we’ll tell you how to create a killer knowledge base with helpful content.
What Is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is your path to better and more efficient customer service. Why? Because it offers self-service. We’ll show you with a very familiar example.
You know that filling up your car with gas yourself is much faster than waiting for an employee to do it. Especially if there are ten more cars ahead of you in line that also need gas. Still, you need instructions to fuel up your vehicle the first time you do it. And if you also decide to inflate your tires or add windshield wiper fluid, you need two more sets of instructions.
By putting all these instructions together, we get a small knowledge base. How does this apply to your business? It’s directly related to your business because, as in any business, your customers face issues they can solve on their own if they are guided. For example, they are fully capable of changing their profile settings and find your return policy on your site if they’re directed to it.
What’s more, according to Bizreport, 73% of users want to solve their product issues on their own. That’s why you need a knowledge base — a simple and accessible repository of guidelines, product descriptions, how-to articles, and videos to help your customers solve their common requests without contacting support.
But if you think your company and customers are different, and they don’t need a knowledge base, read about the advantages it provides.
5 Benefits of a Knowledge Base for Your Business
So, now you know that a knowledge base gives your customers the information they need to solve their product- and service-related questions on their own. Now, let’s look at the benefits it brings to your business.
24/7 support without additional personnel expense
While your help desk agents are sleeping at night, your knowledge base is working. This means your awake clients can solve most of their problems, whether they're browsing at 3 am or are in a different time zone, without waiting for an agent to respond on the next business day.
Your customers can avoid direct communication if they want
One of the reasons why people love self-service is because they don't like to talk. This applies especially to generations of the digital era. For example, 81% of millennials experience anxiety before making a phone call. Gen Z doesn't feel good about contacting people either. Imagine: one-third of the younger generation would “rather clean a toilet” than speak with customer service.
Reduced number of tickets
The more issues customers can solve for themselves using the knowledge base, the fewer tickets your employees receive. And those tickets that employees do need to handle will concern more challenging issues.
Happier employees and better service
Fewer tickets give employees more time to tackle more complex issues. They'll be able to serve customers faster, give them more attention, and be happy to find solutions to unusual problems instead of parroting the same instructions for the easy problems over and over again.
The problem with customer support service is that as more people buy your product, you need more agents to help when they have questions. Eventually, your department structure becomes extremely complicated and expensive. But the knowledge base doesn't care how many people read it — it helps everyone so that you can focus on scaling.
As a result, you can keep your support team small and at the same time, provide outstanding service. Fewer employees mean lower personnel costs and thousands of dollars of savings annually.
You can reap all these benefits if you create a consistent and informative knowledge base. Let's see how to create one.
How to Create a Knowledge Base?
Like any support strategy project, creating a knowledge base requires planning. We’ve ‘planned a plan’ for you; please use these steps to build a killer knowledge base.
Research and plan
To get started, find out what questions your customers have most often and who these customers are. If you use a ticketing system or other automation solution, this is quite simple: use the analytics. This way, you’ll know your audience and what topics you should consider including in the knowledge base.
For example, lawyers, procurement managers, HR managers, and marketers can use contract automation products, and each group may encounter different problems from the others. Identify and write down solutions to those problems to include them in your knowledge base.
Find the right structure
Now that you know for whom and what you should write, you need to create a structure. The base can consist not only of long-read articles but also of any format suitable to answer a customer's question: how-to videos, manuals, a FAQ section, and product review articles.
Decide which formats are best for which questions and design your knowledge base structure. By the way, don't forget to add tags or categories to pieces so your customers can easily navigate your knowledge base based on their needs.
Don't forget about SEO optimization
SEO optimization helps more people find your product when they're trying to figure out a cause of and solution to their problem. This is good for your sales. And even if your goal is not to attract new customers with your knowledge base articles, SEO will help your current clients find information faster: they simply google their problem and your company name and then follow the link.
Write and create
When you're done with planning and have all the data, it's time to create your knowledge base content. Remember: you must make your content concise and understandable for readers. So, if you can shoot video instructions, shoot it. If you can answer in a couple of lines, create a FAQ. And if you need to explain something in great detail, write an article. Respect your customer's time.
The knowledge base is useless if you don't update it, so check your content from time to time, and edit or delete it as needed. Your clients don't need the Library of Alexandria if it doesn't solve their problems.
Use metrics to evaluate your success
To find out if your knowledge base is working, use metrics. Reduced ticket numbers are the main indication that the knowledge base is doing its job (assuming you haven't changed anything else). But if ticket numbers remain the same, pay attention to the following indicators: the amount of time customers spend with the knowledge base, the number of views, and organic search results.
If you have few views or organic search results, you have a problem with SEO optimization, or your customers simply don't know about the knowledge base because you forget to tell them about it on your site. If you have enough views but your support service still gets the same number of tickets, your knowledge base content doesn't solve your customer's problems. Luckily, you can fix this problem, and we'll show you how.
5 Tips on Writing an Effective Knowledge Base Article
If you know what to tell, writing a good knowledge base article is easy. Just follow a few rules.
1 Write a clear title and subtitle
You don't need to lure your customers with catchy titles like news sites do because they're already looking for your article. So, the title of a knowledge base piece should clearly state what it's about, and the subtitle should add even more clarity if needed.
2 Make it skimmable
In many cases, your customers already know a possible answer or its, and they're only looking for the part of the solution they’re missing. They don't want to waste time reading what they already know, so you need to structure the text to help bypass that information and find the answer they’re looking for.
Clear headings, bullet points, numbered steps, and short paragraphs allow you to separate the main points, and bold text can highlight the central ideas of each piece. Let your readers choose what they need, and they'll reward you for the saved time with their loyalty.
3 Know your audience and write for them
You must speak the same language as your customers do to help them understand instructions, and you're the one who should adapt to their level, not them to yours. The easiest way to do this is to follow these basic rules.
- Avoid jargon and abbreviations, or clarify if you can't avoid them.
- Use active voice and short sentences to keep the text simple.
- Get straight to the point and don't write lengthy introductions.
- Give relatable examples, and don't force readers to google.
This way, you show respect for your customers’ time and give them all the information they need then and there.
4 Add keywords smartly
Choosing the right keywords is vital, but it's even more important to use them correctly. Google reads words in context and pushes keyword cheaters to the bottom of the search results. That’s why you should use keywords where they fit and change their forms if needed to make them look organic in the text.
5 Don't forget to include the date
Add a date to each piece of content so that your customers don't waste time on outdated information. If an article was written long ago, indicate that it’s still relevant by adding the date of the most recent update.
So Do You Need a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is a way to help your customers solve their product-related issues without assistance from support agents. Your customers will be happier because they don't have to contact support and can resolve their issues quickly. And it benefits your company because the quality of service goes up and the cost goes down.
The key is to structure the entire knowledge base and each of its elements correctly by optimizing them for your audience's needs. If you research their needs well and use our tips, building a knowledge base will be an easy task.
As we know from our help desk migration experience, many businesses don’t overlook their knowledge base and move their knowledge base along with localized versions to a new help desk. So if you are considering changing your support service tool, be sure to pay attention to your help center transfer. Read more on KB translation migration here.