One of the best things you can do for your customers (and your customer support team) is to build a knowledge base. The goal of a knowledge base is simple: Empowerment. By creating a catalog of documentation, you empower your customers to solve their own problems. Your customers will appreciate that you’ve gone the extra mile to create a resource that helps them achieve their goals with your service. And you will enjoy an improved customer retention rate as a result.
Let’s discuss how to create a knowledge base that impresses and provides real value to your customers.
What Are the Benefits of Developing a Knowledge Base
Creating a knowledge base is a big undertaking. You may be debating the need for a knowledge base, especially if you already have a help desk, a blog, and a thorough FAQ page.
Is it worth it to build a knowledge base?
FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages offer quick answers to common concerns. Blog posts give generalized, high-level information on topics. Help desks provide on-demand individualized support. All of these components are necessary for your website, but none of them can replace a robust knowledge base.
A knowledge base is a self-help resource for customers who don’t want to wait for a help desk to solve their problem. When your customer encounters an issue in the middle of setup, the last thing they want to do is submit a ticket and wait 24-48 hours for someone on your team to get back to them. They want answers now. If they don’t get immediate answers, there’s a danger that their impatience and frustration may prompt them to take their business elsewhere.
You don’t want that.
The truth is that you can have a FAQ page, a blog, a support desk, and a knowledge base to cover all of your bases.
Here are the reasons why you should build a knowledge base:
- Improved Customer Service – Your knowledge base will become an extension of your customer service and support. You can show your customers that you care about their experience with your SaaS by providing this extra resource.
- Reduced Support Tickets – Answering the same questions over and over again is an inefficient use of your support team. Create a knowledge base that frees up your customer support to work on bigger or more complex problems.
- Reduced Cost – In addition to wasting time, you’re also wasting your money by paying your support team to answer the same question repeatedly. Creating a knowledge base will pay off.
- Customer Empowerment – Many customers want to solve their own problems on the spot. Give them the power to do that.
- Improved Customer Sentiment – Your knowledge base proves to your customer that you don’t just want their money but you also want them to succeed with your service. If your customer believes that you care about their experience, they will be more satisfied with your service.
- Available 24/7 – While your customer support may have limited hours, your knowledge base will always be available, no matter the time. This enables customers who are working at odd hours to get the help they need.
While building your knowledge base may be a herculean task, it will serve as an incredible resource for your customer and reduce demand on your support team.
It’s worth the time and effort to start building it now.
How to Build a Customer Knowledge Base
Now that we’ve talked about why you should create a customer knowledge base, let’s talk about how.
Understand Your Target Audience
A knowledge base is generally written to and for customers who’ve subscribed to your service. To create an effective knowledge base, think about your customer’s journey.
How will they naturally move through your product?
What do they need to know to be successful?
What are common roadblocks they encounter? (To find this answer, examine your most common support tickets.)
Next, create a series of documents that provide dead-simple answers to help them. No question is too elementary. Cover everything you can possibly think to cover in your knowledge base because, I guarantee you, someone will eventually have that question. (Cover even basic processes such as how to log in or out.)
Make Your Knowledge Base Easy to Use
In addition to simple, your knowledge base should be intuitive. Your customer shouldn’t need a knowledge base to use your knowledge base. Organize it in a way that aligns with your customer’s logic. Focus on the customer’s journey. After they complete this step, what’s the next logical step? Link to that article so that your customer naturally flows through your knowledge base without needing to rely strictly on search.
Consider separating your knowledge base into sections, such as “Getting Started” and “Advanced” so that your customers can self-identify and find answers quickly.
Also ensure that you place the most popular/ top-visited knowledge base articles at the top of the page. Prominently displaying these articles can save your customers’ time and sanity (not to mention reduce your support tickets).
Make Your Knowledge Base Easy to Find
Your knowledge base shouldn’t be a hidden resource that only a few customers stumble upon. You should actively promote your knowledge base to your customers.
- Highlight it as part of your onboarding process.
- Refer and link to it regularly in your blog, emails, and social media posts. Be sure that the link to your knowledge base stands out on your website or in your app.
- Share it on your contact page as an alternative to opening a service ticket.
- Embed it within every question on your FAQ page.
Include Keywords in Your Knowledge Base Article Titles
Chances are, your customer won’t have the proper verbiage to describe their problem with your product. Be sure to use keywords and phrases that your customer would likely use when searching your knowledge base. Your title is the most important place for keywords because your customer will likely eliminate articles based on title alone. Use a descriptive title that’s worded in the way that your reader thinks.
Lead With the Most Important Information First
Adopt the inverted pyramid approach to knowledge base articles. In order words, start with the most important information first. Your customer isn’t reading your knowledge base article for entertainment. They need a quick answer to a pressing question. By providing the information they need upfront, you help them decide if this article will solve their problem or if they need to keep looking.
Here’s a basic template for knowledge base articles:
- Start with a discussion of the problem
- Provide a step-by-step guide to solving the problem
- End with next steps or a list of related articles in case the problem remains unsolved
Also, look for opportunities to link to other, relevant articles at the beginning, middle, and/ or end of your article.
Keep Knowledge Base Articles Short and Actionable
If your knowledge base article is over 1,000 words, it can probably be chopped into several, smaller articles. The best-performing knowledge base articles are short and focused on helping the customer score an easy win.
Your articles should focus on action, not theory. For this reason, keep your articles scannable. Use bullet lists. Avoid writing in large blocks of text. Insert images, graphics, and videos whenever possible to illustrate your point or provide visual instructions.
Also include a table of contents at the start of your article to help the customer quickly see what’s covered in your article. This way, the customer can quickly scroll down to the section of your article that’s relevant to them.
Empowering your customers to find their own solutions shows that you care about them and their experience with your product. It also shows that your service is high-quality and customer-focused. As a result of building a substantial knowledge base, you can expect increased customer loyalty and retention.