A knowledge base (KB) is a platform or a repository that stores information for customers’ use. The information provides answers to frequently asked questions, tutorials, troubleshooting solution guides, how-to articles, and instruction manuals.
A business carries tons loads of information that a customer may require. It is tiresome to answer the same queries to the customers over and over again. In the meantime, good customer support and user experience are also necessary.
If you have a digital product or service, the majority of your customers will visit your website to get answers to any of their queries. Furthermore, the public prefers to find answers on their own than reach out to the customer service team.
A smooth customer support experience requires a knowledge base. A knowledge base is a cornerstone of good user experience and customer support.
In this article, we have explained the knowledge base, its advantages, the method to create a knowledge base, and some tips for enhanced self-service. If you’re interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
Knowledge Base Key Features
The most generic goal of a knowledge base is to assist the customers in finding solutions to their problems and answers to their queries. A knowledge base is also designed so that customers can have self-service and do not have to reach out to support teams individually to get answers.
A Knowledge base is built with a process called knowledge management. Knowledge management includes collecting, organizing, sorting, and listing the data that a customer can use.
This knowledge management system also includes the process to collect research and writing information, and then this information is managed and published with a dedicated knowledge base software and a knowledge management system. The end product is a library or repository of information that is usable for customers. Sometimes a knowledge base is also utilized by internal organization’s employees.
A customer service department is responsible to build and design a knowledge base to enhance user experience. The methodologies to assist customers varies, but the work starts with a ticketing system to tackle their issues.
You can no doubt assist customers personally with communication through calls and emails, but these actions are reactive and repetitive. Repetitiveness is valuable but can be stressful for the support team and consumes a lot of time. Also, such activities are not scalable.
All these issues and the need for a good customer experience require the use of a knowledge base. Scaling makes you proactive in achieving customers’ trust and ease.
Good customer service results in recurring customers and increase business sales. And somehow, these two features are also primary business goals.
What Kind of Information Is Provided in a Knowledge Base?
Some knowledge bases contain codes for developers, while some carry artificial intelligence data that a machine can learn from.
At the same time, there are some knowledge bases designed just for customers, and there are some designed for business employees and team members.
A knowledge base either aims for internal organization’s use or external organization use. The information varies depending on the target audience’s needs.
For example, an aircraft industry can have a knowledge base with the information of all the aircraft, their tools, and functions. Such knowledge-based is either for the pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers.
At the same time, an aircraft industry can have a knowledge base for customer use as well, that can include information regarding company policies and rules to follow during a flight.
Sometimes, a single knowledge base is designed for any audience that has an interest in a specific industry. This means the information of a knowledge base varies depending on the target audience and their needs.
What are the Benefits of a Knowledge Base?
Repetitive queries take a lot of time to answer manually. Using knowledge base systems in such scenarios is a cost-effective tactic. This not only saves time but also the efforts of both the customers and the support team. Here are some benefits your organization can have by using a knowledge base:
1. Enhanced Self-Service
Knowledge-bases allow users to have self-service. The majority of customers feel comfortable in not reaching out to a support team member, and they prefer to resolve their issues on their own.
Customers can enjoy this benefit by using the knowledge base. Such practices complement user experience and result in an easy chase of the organization’s goals.
2. Reduced Support Volume
When the customer service teams have fewer emails in their inboxes, they can focus more on fulfilling other activities. This way, employees can dedicate their energy to tasks with high impact.
Not only resolving the customer’s issues, but a knowledge base also shares additional useful resources with customers other than just resolving their issues.
3. 24/7 service
A knowledge base is a privilege for business to possess their service 24/7. Customers from around the globe have a different time zone, and you cannot have your support agents always there for user issues.
With a knowledge base, customers get answers to queries any time they want.
Even if you have support agents operating 24 hours a day, sometimes the burden is too much that service is delayed. Customers can have this knowledge base with them, and this way you can avoid this delay in help services as well.
4. Multiple Learning Styles
The knowledge base provides information through multiple mediums, for example, illustrations, flow charts, text, images, videos, and audio.
A customer can receive, comprehend and access information in a way they can best absorb it to stay up to date with the knowledge. This kind of live customer support is almost impossible to achieve in a manual system.
5. Deliver and Generate Useful Insights
Consider a scenario where a customer faces any issue and contacts the live customer support team. That team can do nothing but provide a solution as quickly as possible so they can refer to other queries.
This way, the chances to share additional information and useful insights are less and you cannot benefit customers more than they desire.
But through a knowledge base, you can not only just help the customer, but also assist them with case studies and practical examples.
This practice is not just useful for customers, but also the business as well. For example, with a knowledge base that has reporting capabilities, you can generate reports on what customers are frequently asking and searching for.
This data can provide useful insight to business by showing how a product is performing and what are the most common issues customers face. Thus, you can fulfill the gaps through these reports and insights.
6. More Selling and More Customers
As answers to frequently asked questions show up in the search results, it also boosts the search engine optimization of your content.
SEO leads to market your business and you can acquire more customers with great documentation.
No doubt knowledge bases are beneficial for customers in innumerable ways. You can acquire tons of insights by analyzing the customer-facing knowledge base and user behavior which improves customer success and good service as well.
What are the Types of the Knowledge Base?
Knowledge bases (KB) are categorized into various types depending on the target goals and audience. Here is provided a brief on some types of knowledge bases:
1. Hosted Knowledge base
A hosted knowledge base carries data and information both for internal use (employees) and external use (customers). The information is well-organized and easily searchable for both audiences.
2. Internal Knowledge Base
As clear from the name, Internal knowledge bases carry company knowledge, information, and instruction just for the internal organization (employees) use. The information contains manuals, work policies, and methods to tackle equipment. An internal knowledge base benefits company employees and workers. Companies use internal knowledge base software to design an internal knowledge base.
3. Open-source Knowledge Base
An open-source knowledge base is openly accessible by the public for their use. Such knowledge bases are usually paid. These types of knowledge bases are developed by SaaS businesses, where developers and programmers use the source code as per their needs.
4. Customer Knowledge Base
A customer knowledge base resolves customers’ queries, provides them with information about a product. The information is organized in a user-centered method to increase customer satisfaction and is easily accessible for users. Customers have self-service through these knowledge bases.
5. Self-Hosted Knowledge Base
These knowledge bases are hosted on an organization’s server. The main goal of this knowledge base is to provide privacy and security, but also assist in resolving issues and handling concerns.
6. External KB
An external knowledge base provides a service or a product to the public and potential customers. An external knowledge base benefits customers and the public. As customers use these knowledge bases, these must not contain any confidential or private business information.
How Do You Develop a Knowledge Base?
The above-stated information is enough to know that a knowledge base cannot be designed with a slap in a single attempt. Instead, building a knowledge base can be as difficult as you can perceive.
A knowledge management process develops a knowledge base. There are different knowledge base tools that organizations use to develop documentation. Here is provided a brief method to develop a knowledge base. You can leverage this process to build an understanding of how to develop a knowledge base.
1. Know your Purpose to Develop a Knowledge Base
Dig deeper into the needs that require you to develop a knowledge base. Know the purpose and goals of your knowledge base. Choose the right knowledge base software to develop the repository.
2. Organize the Content
After you have defined the goals, start working on the contents. Research on the questions like what customers care about, what are the common problems customers encounter, and how do they use your products.
Collect some initial data, so that you get a pavement to work on with a team. Upload this gathered data into the right knowledge base software for correct documentation.
3. Draft Content Collaboratively
Collaboration is necessary to build knowledge bases. Multiple teams work together, and this is how you can answer customer queries from any department. Only this way, you can obtain a variety of answers and create knowledge base content.
Also, working with a team allows you to know the possible issues customer may face while using a product. This practice leads to a diverse information spectrum that you can list in the knowledge base. Use knowledge base tools to draft the content.
4. Ensure Professionalism
Presentation and professionalism are two important aspects of a knowledge base. A knowledge base is an identity of your brand. Make sure your brand shines with the information you deliver, stay professional. Avoid personal opinions and use technical writing rules to draft the content.
5. Stay User Friendly
Customer experience matters the most. Focus on user satisfaction and then draft the content. Writing with a user-friendly tone result in a good user experience.
6. Practice, Practice, and Practice
The last step you should focus on while creating a knowledge base is that your knowledge can not be 100% complete. You should keep updating and revising the content.
Businesses keep on evolving and launching more products. The more the products, the higher the number of queries that arise. So, a knowledge base should be continuously updated and edited to make the best out of it.
A traditional knowledge base is a repository or library that contains information regarding a product or service. Knowledge bases vary in types depending on the target audience. Sometimes, a knowledge base is designed for internal organization’s use, sometimes external organization, and sometimes both.
An external knowledge base helps the business customers to resolve their issues. Customers prefer self-service, and knowledge bases are a privilege in such cases. It also reduces the workload of the customer support team. Customers can use different learning styles and absorb the most information in the style they prefer to learn from.
You don’t need to operate 24/7 with a knowledge base. Customers can benefit themselves at any time through a knowledge base regardless of the region they operate in.
In short, we can say that knowledge bases provide excellent customer service. If you want to design a knowledge base, then refer to the knowledge management process we have discussed above to build one.
If you are new to document control management and are looking to learn more, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of managing technical documentation.