Great customer service is a cornerstone of the customer experience. But it takes up a lot of time, particularly if your team is answering the same queries again and again. This is why understanding how to create a knowledge base is so important.
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a resource that customers (and employees) use to find information about your business, products, and services.
A knowledge base for customers
A knowledge base provides answers to customers’ most frequently asked questions. This means that they can self-solve problems quickly and easily, without needing to raise a ticket.
Crucially, it’s something that the majority of customers want. A recent study revealed that 81% of consumers say they want businesses to provide more self-service options.
A knowledge base for employees
Employees also benefit from a company knowledge base.
By providing in-depth info about how your organization/product/service works, you support both new and old employees to do their jobs better.
You also promote a culture of knowledge sharing, where you share best practice tips across the whole of your company.
6 tips for building your own knowledge base
Want to build a knowledge base for your business? Take a look at these tips first.
Use analytics to guide you
What topics will you include? This is the first question you need to answer when building a knowledge base. You need to know that you’re providing answers to the questions that customers actually tend to ask.
Analytics helps to take the guesswork out of the equation. You can take a look at what your customers search for and the requests that regularly come up in tickets, and then build articles based around them.
Data analytics will also prove useful further down the line, where you can use it to determine knowledge base performance.
Looking at page metrics — like views, bounce rate, and average time on page — you can see whether users are interacting with your knowledge base articles in the way you intended.
Read more about using data analytics to grow your help center here.
Prioritize user experience
A knowledge base is only useful when customers and employees are able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. If it’s too difficult or long-winded, they’ll give up and simply raise a ticket.
To ensure that your knowledge base saves your team time, users have to be able to answer their questions in a matter of seconds. So how can you make this happen?
Largely, it’s about great design. Your system should have a clear and clean interface that is easy to navigate. Users should instantly know where to search and click, and should get the same great experience whether they’re accessing your knowledge base from a desktop or mobile device.
Good categorization and cross-referencing of articles, putting information right at a user’s fingertips, is another good idea.
Incorporate your branding
Anything you ever put in front of your customers says something about who you are as a brand. Ensure that your knowledge base says all of the right things by giving contributors a style guide to follow.
That means fonts, type size, colors, and any other design elements are consistent across the whole of your resource library. Many knowledge base software platforms, like Zendesk, come with a markeplace that allows you to purchase premium quality themes for your help center. These themes are easy to install and configure with your own brand settings. Check out this guide on using the right help center theme for your knowledge base.
You should also aim for a consistent tone of voice across all of your knowledge base articles, so customers feel they’re getting the same top-quality, branded insight across every single page.
Market your knowledge base
Build a knowledge base and they will come? Not unless you realize the importance of knowledge base marketing.
Make sure you publicize your knowledge base, highlight it on your website, and push customers towards it as a first port of call.
And always include knowledge base signposts or pop-ups in places where customers typically reach out for support. For example, your contact or help pages.
Want more ideas for marketing your knowledge base? Check out this article: How to get customers to “see” your SaaS knowledge base.
Keep your knowledge base updated
A business is always changing — improving processes, developing new products, adding a new service to their offering. To retain its value and its relevance, your knowledge base has to keep pace. You need a plan for revisiting topics, updating existing content, and adding new pages on a regular basis.
One other important word of advice on knowledge base maintenance: Try to keep knowledge base pages focused on a single topic, linking to other pages for more information when necessary. That way, if you do need to make edits, you don’t have to edit every single page in the resource.
Measure knowledge base success
If you’re taking the time to build a knowledge base — and then maintain it — you want to know that it’s a worthwhile investment. People should leave a page feeling satisfied that they have found an answer, not frustrated that they have to seek further support.
So who do you get to judge your knowledge base? The customers who are using it. You can include a quick survey asking users whether they found an article useful. They can simply click a thumbs up or a thumbs down to give their response.
Regular analysis of this feedback will help you to learn whether your knowledge base needs work, or whether it’s doing an excellent job for your users.