Customer Service Knowledge Base: Best Practices

Customer Service
January 9, 2024
Customer Service Knowledge Base: Best Practices

The success of any company hinges on its customers. Even if your business attracts a lot of attention, providing poor customer service will spread the word and harm sales, regardless of how great your product is.

Just like marketing relies on attracting potential customers, the customer service aspect of your company should focus on maintaining positive relationships with existing customers.

What is a customer service knowledge base?

A knowledge base is like a user-friendly encyclopedia for your product. It's a bunch of articles organized in a way that's easy to navigate, covering everything from setting up your product to advanced tips and tricks. Editors make sure it looks good and is easy to find info.

Most companies blend their knowledge bases seamlessly into their websites. It looks like part of the site, no different from if they made it themselves.

Searching is the go-to move in these knowledge bases. It's like a super-smart search engine built just for helping you. You type a question, and it instantly shows articles related to it. The search bar is finely tuned for questions about using the product.

Customers love it because they can quickly find what they need. The articles are short and to the point. After reading, they can rate how easy it was to follow the instructions.

So, why is a customer service knowledge base so important?

A customer service knowledge base is amazing for your wallet. It's all about making your customers happy while saving you money.

Imagine this: People prefer helping themselves instead of waiting in never-ending phone queues or dozing off while chatting with support reps. A knowledge base is like a one-stop-shop for top-notch support, meaning you don't need a full-time army of live support agents.

Even if you outsource support to a place with lower wages, you'll still save a couple of thousand dollars monthly by choosing a knowledge base over a phone team. And guess what? Happy customers found their answers quickly, making it a win-win for everyone.

Having a knowledge base on your website gives your company an online swagger. When you Google tech support questions, you often stumble upon answers from various places. But when you find practical solutions on the software maker's site, it's a win! It shows they take responsibility for supporting their product.

With the rise of knowledge bases, having all this info on your website looks slick and professional. Users trust you more and feel confident that your company has the answers they need.

And here's a bonus: Your website becomes a magnet for search engines. More content on your domain means better search rankings. Companies work hard to boost their websites, but a knowledge base is like a turbocharger for climbing the search engine ladder.

Optimizing your knowledge base for search engines is like having a secret weapon. When people search for tech support, your solutions could pop up even when they're having issues with your competitors. Now, that's a golden opportunity to impress them and make another sale.

If this sounds like a dream, keep reading to discover how to make your customer service knowledge base the absolute best. 

knowledge base customer service

1. Understand Your Readers

When you start creating documentation, it's crucial to know your audience inside out. One effective method is to develop a "buyer persona" that outlines all the key traits of your audience.

In simpler terms, a buyer persona is a made-up representation of your ideal customer, based on research and real data about your current customers, as explained by HubSpot.

Creating a buyer persona helps you figure out how technical or simple your language should be. This ensures your audience finds it easy to read your documentation. For instance, if your audience includes non-native English speakers, instead of saying, "Head up to the 'File' menu and look for the 'Save As' button," you'd say, "Go to the 'File' menu and select 'Save As.'" This way, the instructions are immediately clear at first glance.

2. Embrace Different Perspectives

Many times, a single writer takes charge of the entire knowledge base project. While having someone skilled in writing is excellent for clear and consistent articles, it may fall short in fully capturing what all your customers need.

For example, the person handling tech support calls may view crucial customer service information differently than someone testing the user interface (UI).

Even though the knowledge base may seem like a small part of your overall operations, remember that nearly all your customers will interact with it at some point. This makes it crucial to get it right.

Imagine a customer diligently using the knowledge base to find information about their issue, only to come up empty-handed. They end up searching elsewhere, turning what could have been a positive customer service experience into just another negative statistic.

While you can't predict every customer's needs, involving people from all levels and departments in your company can offer diverse perspectives. Don't wait until after the knowledge base is complete to gather opinions; make an effort to seek feedback throughout the process.

3. Trim Ruthlessly

When it comes to your knowledge base, less is often more. Shorter articles work better because, let's face it, people usually just skim through help articles. Having concise information encourages readers to go through every word and follow instructions accurately, preventing frustration.

Consider setting a word count limit for yourself when writing. After the first draft, aim to reduce it by 80%. By carefully reviewing your content, you'll likely find areas to cut down on unnecessary details and shorten sentences.

Adding pictures is a great way to save words. Most modern knowledge base software allows you to insert images directly into articles, making it easier for users to follow outlined steps. Just remember to update visuals if you make changes to the user interface.

However, don't apply the minimize rule to articles themselves. Create a new article when introducing a new topic. This ensures the search function picks up tags and article contents effectively.

4. Embrace Feedback

At the end of each article, users can express their opinion with smiley faces or thumbs up/down icons. 

Act on direct feedback immediately, but also pay attention to backend metrics. Monitor the most and least visited articles, as well as the sources of visits (web, links, or search bar). Adjust your knowledge base based on these metrics, recognizing that different companies will interpret data differently due to varying levels of traffic.

5. Keep Content Updated

Regularly update your knowledge base content, especially when making improvements to your product or introducing new features. People often turn to the internet for help with new features, making it essential to have documentation available early. Link knowledge base articles directly from your update blog post to enhance SEO rankings.

While knowledge base software updates automatically, your content requires manual attention. Failure to update articles over time can lead to references to non-existent buttons or outdated names, eroding user confidence in your support documentation. Perform a comprehensive knowledge base audit every few quarters to ensure everything is accurate and up-to-date.

Tired of writing knowledge base articles? Ariglad plugs into your ticketing system, learns from past conversations, and learns how your customers speak about what they need. Ariglad auto updates and creates new knowledge base articles for you in tools like Zendesk, Salesforce, Jira and Intercom. Book a demo to learn more. 

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