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 Types of Knowledge Bases?
There are two types of knowledge bases.
Internal Knowledge Bases
An internal knowledge base is typically utilized as a way to allow employees to collaborate and share all company knowledge and information internally. When creating an internal knowledge base, you can include anything that is meant for internal use.
External Knowledge Bases
An external knowledge base (also known as a customer-facing knowledge base) is where customers can go to learn anything they’d ever need to know about a company’s products and services. It is usually public to everyone and can be easily found online. If you browse through the Help and Documentation section of any software, that’s their external knowledge base.
What are the Benefits of a Knowledge Base?
Both types of knowledge bases offer several advantages for organizations and users.
Benefits of Internal Knowledge Bases
There are the benefits of internal knowledge bases.
Easy access to Organizational Knowledge
Employee turnover is common in organizations. It is well known that Millennials and Generation Z switch workplaces almost every two years. Knowledge bases act as repositories of valuable information, and help new employees come up to speed and start contributing in the least possible time.
Having a structured source of internal information can increase your company’s overall productivity and efficiency. This is because employees can find information and answers to urgent questions by simply browsing through the knowledge base. They don’t need to diverge from the task at hand and wait for an answer from a busy colleague.
Reduced Onboarding and Training Costs
It’s common for onboarding processes to be time-consuming and costly. Companies can save a lot of time and effort and increase productivity at the same time by using knowledge bases where all relevant information is readily available.
Improved Communication and Collaboration
Through the knowledge base, employees can store and share any needed information with each other.
Benefits of External Knowledge Bases
There are the benefits of external knowledge bases.
Reduced Customer Support Costs
Whether your company is a startup or a 100-year business, a comprehensive knowledge base can help you can save customer supports costs by reducing the number of tickets that staff has to handle. Instead of focusing on minor issues, your staff can focus on critical issues and tickets of high importance.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
People genuinely don’t like it when they’re in need of something or when they’re not knowledgeable on a certain topic and have to ask someone. By providing them with this information right at their fingertips, customer retention will increase without sacrificing your company’s customer service.
Reduced Customer Wait Times
We all know that irritating feeling when we’re waiting for customer service while being put on hold for more than 10 minutes. With a properly organized knowledge base, your customers can get immediate access to 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.