Knowledge base development can be a whirlwind. Knowledge base development in the presence of a backlog of support tickets and an overwhelmed staff can lead to less time for other inbound business activities.
The question is, what can be done to ensure efforts to deliver excellent customer service meets with success?
As a business owner, the world of support tickets and relentless customer inquiries is not new. The need to provide answers to individual support tickets can be overwhelming.
However, the presence of ongoing support is an essential aspect of customer service for every business.
The lack of ongoing support in your business could lead to financial losses with dissatisfied customers and negative referrals.
Some companies have resorted to limit support to a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) or huge manuals. With digitization and an online presence, these manuals or limited FAQs lack value or provide minimal benefit to the client or user.
In recent times, users frown at receiving manual handbooks and consult online formats of support systems or flood the company with support tickets. This leads to an increased number of billable workforce hours and a need for more human resources.
More than ever, an online knowledge base is essential. However, the thought of creating an online knowledge base may be daunting.
In this guide, we provide answers to questions related to knowledge base-development, such as,
A knowledge base is a collection of topics related to the use of the product being offered. Wikipedia defines a knowledge base as ‘a special kind of database for knowledge management.’
A knowledge base enables self-service or a do-it-yourself (DIY) process. It saves a business the task of having to reply to similar questions repeatedly.
It is easier to scale a business with the presence of a knowledge base, as this frees up time for other revenue-generating activities.
A set of frequently asked questions is simple. The primary difference between a knowledge base and FAQs is the presence of information structure or categories. A knowledge base is dedicated to the client or user experience and aims for the complete user journey, unlike FAQs.
The knowledge base includes the frequently asked questions, guides to help troubleshoot issues with the product/service, and other details.
A host of software is dedicated to knowledge base hosting along with search optimization and backend analytics. However, the development of the knowledge base articles has a better impact, if allocated to expert writers.
All providers and users of a product, software or service would achieve more success with an expert developed knowledge base.
Target clients, people who fit a demo- and psycho-graphic profile for a service or product need a knowledge base.
Think about it. As a user or client using a product/service other than yours, you must have had a fair share of exposure to knowledge bases. Were they helpful? Most times, yes.
According to Zendesk, 9 out of 10 clients would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. In fact, self-service is becoming more preferred compared to the use of support agents. Almost all users in the study said they would use a needs-based knowledge base, due to speed, ease of use and answers to service-related questions.
A knowledge base can act as a virtual support assistant, saving you time and resources which can be diverted to scaling the business. Statistics from Zendesk supports this, as 6 out of 10 customers decide not to call support, after looking for answers to their questions in self-service articles. Imagine diverting that amount of human resources and time to scaling the business.
Dan Kennedy in his book, the Ultimate Marketing Plan states ‘every business should have a customer-service diplomacy program.’ A customer-service diplomacy program should include ‘a good means of immediately getting an answer for customers at any time.’
A business with working hour policies and function on a global scale does well to have a knowledge base with the needed support, on a 24-hour basis.
A dissatisfied customer can create immense damage for any business and have been responsible for high churn rates.
The next question is,
Having a knowledge base increases staff productivity, reduces the number of support tickets and billable working hours. Support staff can refer to knowledgebase content for help during live chat support. They can direct the customer to knowledgebase topics relevant to the subject, with time savings and increased customer satisfaction.
An expertly written knowledgebase saves time and human resources.
Knowledge base content could be an ample source of backlinks, a more comfortable request to grant for mutual benefits. Content outlines on the steps for knowledge base integration with other apps provide immense value for both businesses. Zapier does this very well.
Knowledge base development could act as a feeder for forums and communities. Regular questions from users with contributions from other users, provide a steady source of content and engagement, this helps with content marketing efforts, overall visibility and ranking on search engines.
A hybrid knowledgebase (community support included) can help with market research and novel ideas for related software or products.
To create knowledgebase content with high quality, the provider needs to close the gap between the problems your product solves and your target client profile.
Work with an Expert Knowledgebase creator or Technical Writer - Having an expert create your knowledge base is a no-brainer. Technical terms have to be explained in easy to understand language.
Client Outreach/Feedback - What barriers could prevent your users from recognizing or achieving success with your product? You could reach out to your present clients, asking for areas of difficulty or why they have not used your product recently. Also, feedback from the customer service department on reported challenges at different stages of the user journey is indispensable. Feedback includes customer complaints received during the on-boarding, the trial period, paid use, and the cancellation period.
Use the Search History - From the search history on your platform or assessments of Google Analytics data (or data analytics monitor of choice). Identify common areas where users have issues and provide solutions.
Repurpose pre-written content given in answer to client questions. FAQs are a ready source of material, which can be repurposed into valuable knowledge base articles.
Previous answers which proved helpful to clients (received excellent client feedback) can serve this purpose.
The use of a knowledge base should be more beneficial for small startups as it allows time for team members to focus on other inbound outreach activities.
I decided to ask a typical company, Alore, which boasts a team of fewer than 20 employees. Alore CRM provides cold emailing and outreach services with a team of fewer than 20 employees. With regards to knowledge base development for companies with small teams, Alore CEO, Vikhas Jha suggests a gradual build up of knowledge base content. This is because people tend to be lazy with the reading process. Allowing them to grow with the platform allows them to get used to knowledge base content and develop reading habits.
Another CEO, who chose to remain anonymous, claims that knowledge base content seems to be more effective compared to help from customer service staff. This is due to the short time-to-response.
The decision to make the knowledge base private or public will depend on your target audience and the aim of creating knowledge base content. If your knowledge base contains sensitive information (roadmaps, trade secrets), meant for internal employees, its best to keep it private and vice versa.
A category structure makes it easy to organize knowledgebase content into public and private sections. Most dedicated knowledge base software, for example, Freshdesk provides settings you can adjust to fit your company needs.
These settings can be adjusted to prevent non-users from submitting support tickets. However, they can ask questions. Intercom offers this provision for its subscribers with restrictions at different subscription tiers.
Public visibility and an optimized content can be a steady source of free publicity and lead generation in real-time or in the future.
Formats include blog posts, GIFs (voiceless videos, and fleeqs or screenshares), actual videos. From internal research, providing answers in a stepwise fashion has brought positive feedback from our clients.
Hybrid and dedicated systems are also known as multichannel support apps offer a knowledge base fused with a support system. These systems use varied channels (inbox, mobile phone, social, chat, and forum). This enables analytics/monitoring and can help with the content generation process.
Other companies like Invanto (a learning management system) use the crowdsourcing method. They encourage answers from the community or forum in response to questions from fellow users. These questions and their answers are stored within an open knowledge base system. This encourages interaction and community building among users while supporting customer loyalty. The need for customer support is reduced with input from expert users within the community.
You can use a knowledge base for a host of actions,
In this post, Zapier provides a list of 20 customer support tools (open source, free and paid). You can look through for a host of options.
Creating and maintaining an effective knowledgebase your clients love can be a massive project. However, it is a noteworthy and essential part of customer service.
Once done, it increases the odds of scaling your business with higher rates of customer satisfaction and a lower number of billable hours. These time-savings can be diverted to outreach and inbound business activities.
As a service provider, what challenges do you have with knowledgebase development?
Share with us and our readers below.
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