July 21, 2021

A Guide to Building a Customer Service Knowledge Base

From working, traveling, learning, housework, or caring for their children, your customers have a lot to do each day. They don't necessarily have the time to call your service line or wait 24 hours for you to reply to an email.

They also don't want to. Your time-strapped customers demand fast, accurate answers as soon as possible, punctuating the importance of speed and knowledge for your customer support team. 

Enter the knowledge base. 

A knowledge base is an online collection of articles, documentation, tutorials, or frequently-asked questions that let your customers independently answer their questions. It enables a self-service customer experience that can positively impact the quality and efficiency of your support environment. 

Keep reading as we take a deeper look at the customer expectations driving the need for knowledge bases, the benefits of having one, and tips on building yours up. 

What Your Customers Want 

A recent study by Super Office reports that the average response time for handling a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes. In a world where customers want their answers now, not later, this isn't cutting it. 

What else do they expect? According to that same study: 

  • 65% of customers want a solution or answer the first time they reach out to support
  • 90% of customers want an immediate response to a question 
  • 40% of consumers prefer some type of self-service over speaking or engaging with a human agent 
  • 70% of customers expect a company's website to have some self-service 
  • 55% of consumers find brands' web self-services hard to use
  • 60% of customers will pay for a better customer experience elsewhere 

That means your customers want and prefer to handle simple tasks by themselves - whether it's troubleshooting an issue with a product or learning how to use a service. They also want it to be easy when they do seek out self-service channels. Knowledge bases, in particular, can address all of these desires by helping to eliminate some common causes of them: waiting, inexperienced agents, being passed around, and more. 

Solving Customers Expectations Through a Knowledge Base

As noted, a knowledge base is a viable solution to mounting customer expectations. It should be educational, organized, motivational, and efficiently answer common questions to save your customers (and agents) time and confusion. Some examples of what you may find in a knowledge base:

  • Instructions on downloading an app or product 
  • Tutorials on how an app, product, or service works 
  • Step by step guides for fixing issues 
  • Frequently asked questions, such as account management questions, billing, or company history 
  • Technical documentation 
  • Articles for internal use, like training new agents 

Data in a knowledge base can come from anywhere and take numerous different shapes. For example, a detailed FAQ page on your website could be considered a knowledge base. Likewise, word documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, wikis, and other internal resources can count. However, some of these methods can become complicated, and if you don't make it easy for users to find, they can't be considered self-service. 

Knowledge base software, also referred to as help desk software, can help you collect, store, create and share in one place that anyone can easily access (hello, self-service customer experience.) Popular solutions include Zendesk, Salesforce, HelpCrunch, and Guru. All of these can make crafting and operating a knowledge base simpler. Then you can reap the benefits such as: 

  • Better productivity 
  • Less stress on your team
  • Improved SEO 
  • Better content quality and consistency 
  • Learning tool for new agents 
  • Reduce call and email volume 
  • Customer trust from a better experience 

Sounds pretty great, right? It is, but to get to this point, you're going to need to do a little more work. 

Tips on Building Your Knowledge Base 

When creating your knowledge, there's more to it than just picking a software solution. There's considerable pre-planning that needs to be accounted for before you start writing articles. Here we outline some guidelines to building up a knowledge base that will delight your customers: 

Pick your tool or software. While not the only step, this is still a big one. You'll need some solution offering that fits your business's needs. Many platforms on the market have different features, but most offer pre-set templates and processes to help kickstart your efforts. 

Research your audiences and map their customer journey. To know what you need to write, you need to understand your customer. Start by researching the common issues they have, why they reach out to support, and typical questions as they move from just another email to a customer. Then try and come up with content ideas focused on that. 

Standardize your articles by creating a template or format. This will help create consistency and make you more authoritative. 

Use categories and subcategories. If you put all your articles in your knowledge base without categorizing them, your customers won't find them. If you struggle with this, AI solutions can streamline tagging and pull up the right answer when using your base. 

Create an editing process and stick to it. Before you publish anything, go through quality control and look for any spelling, grammar, or technical errors. 

Establish your macros. A macro is a prewritten message that answers questions for help desk tickets you likely get all the time. You can transfer some of these standard solutions into blog posts in your knowledge base.

Be descriptive in your content. Make sure everything has a clear title, meta description, alt text, and body. The goal is to help your customer resolve their issue, and adding as much detail as possible can benefit. You can also consider screenshots and videos to help illustrate a point. 

Encourage your team to contribute. Your agents are your most potent resource, and they all have varying experiences and expertise. The more people that add to your knowledge base with their articles, the more answers you'll solve. 

And lastly, and maybe most importantly, your knowledge base must be easy to find. Put it in your website's navigation, include it in your support team's email signatures, and add it to your social media bios. Whatever you can do to lead your customers to it is worth it! 

Final Thoughts 

In a busy world, having a knowledge base can make or break you. With the right solution and taking time to consider your strategy, you can build the self-service experience of your customer's dreams. You can also take it to the next level by augmenting it with AI, further ensuring your users resolve their issues. 

Wherever you are in your knowledge base or customer support journey, we'd love to help out! We can chat more about the guidelines and benefits in our blog or discuss how our advanced AI can take your support to the next level. 

Just reach out here! 

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