Are you struggling to keep up with the increasing volume of support tickets clogging mailboxes and ticketing tools? Do you find yourself juggling with truckloads of manuals, flowcharts and other documentation at your organization? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Most organizations give utmost importance to streamlining their customer support while paying little or no attention to “self-service.” The result: customer support teams get over occupied in resolving customer questions and get no time to share or document knowledge already locked in their heads.

Creating a knowledge base can end all such problems once and for all. New to knowledge bases? Don’t worry. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of knowledge base platforms and the endless benefits they provide for customer support teams.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a repository of data and information stored in the form of documents, wikis, articles, manuals and other formats that can be stored and retrieved easily as and when required. Modern knowledge base software has made the creation and sharing of this information a cakewalk. Any organization can create an internal or external knowledge base to serve as ready references for customers.

The Importance of A Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is indispensable for any organization due to the following reasons:

Self-help for customers

You can drastically reduce the load on your customer support staff with the help of a well-documented knowledge base that is openly accessible to your customers. Whenever a user is facing trouble on your website or with your products, they can simply refer to your troubleshooting guide before raising a ticket. If your documentation is comprehensive and up to date, the chances of their query getting resolved on their own are quite high. Hence, a knowledge base can significantly reduce the number of tickets raised. This further translates into reduced need for customer support staff, i.e. lesser overheads and higher profits. Besides, happy customers are loyal customers.

Guidelines for employees

You can create an internal knowledge base for your employees and update it with the complete organizational documentation, including operations manuals, sales manuals, sales scripts, corporate policies, mission statement, company values and so on. This makes the on-boarding process for new recruits a breeze as they can simply refer to these important documents with just a few clicks. Moreover, experienced employees and even senior management can continuously upgrade their knowledge.

Improve your products

Knowledge bases enhance customer experiences by not only acting as a help guideline but also by improving the products or services that your company offers. You can see the most frequently accessed articles in the knowledge base through Google Analytics. These are the major pain-points of your customers. Put your efforts in alleviating these issues and you have improved your offerings!

How to Build A Simple Knowledge Base

It is clear now that an exhaustive knowledge base is critical for every organization. But simply putting several disjointed articles or documents on a portal won’t help your cause. Here are the steps that you need to take in order to create a helpful knowledge base.

Identify your needs

The first step is to become completely sure of your aims with a knowledge base. You need to identify whether the knowledge base that you are creating is for internal use, external use or both. Then, identify the right type of documentation that would suit your requirements. You can make a troubleshooting guide, an FAQ section, user manuals, wikis and so on for customer knowledge bases. If you are building an organizational knowledge base, you can put manuals, flowcharts or standard operating procedures.

Select the right online knowledge base platform

Once you are clear about your needs, it’s time to choose the perfect software that fulfills your requirements. Make sure your tool is cloud-server based so that it is accessible from any device and location. You should also be able to seamlessly contact their support staff in case your need help. Additionally, creating a knowledge base requires a team effort. The right tool would have great collaborative features. Finally, check whether the tool you are going for can be integrated with other tools that your organization is using currently.

Start small, but be consistent

Creating an exhaustive knowledge base can be intimidating when you look at all the documentation that needs to be done. Don’t fret about doing everything at once. Start with just one article, build some momentum and keep on publishing. The vital thing is to be persistent in your efforts. Trying to cover a lot of stuff in one document is both exhausting and unhelpful as the reader might get demotivated.

Give your content a structure

Unstructured content would not be able to serve the intended purpose. Try to look at the bigger picture and divide it into smaller and smaller sections until you come up with a list of topics to include. Provide a table of contents to assist users in navigating through your internal or external knowledge base.

Ensure proper internal linking

Everyone is familiar with Wikipedia. It is such an important resource, and is also a good guideline for building your own knowledge base. Note how every small article contains links to other content pieces. It helps in keeping the length of the content shorter and readable by providing links for certain terms that are topics in themselves. The reader can click on the link, read it to understand the term and then come back to the original piece again. Make sure you include such links, but for the right purpose and only when necessary.

Provide robust search functionality

Navigating through the entire knowledge base for a specific query is not feasible for users. You must ensure that the online knowledge base tool that you are using provides a robust search option for your repository.

Integrate with other tools

Every organization uses specialist tools for their everyday work. Typically, you would be using tools for helpdesk, live chat, analytics, and community building (like Disqus). Integrate these tools with your knowledge base to so that they function seamlessly together.

Monitor and update continuously

Creating a knowledge base is not a one time activity. You need to continuously upgrade the content based on the feedback you are getting from various sources. For example, Google Analytics would help you identify which users are searching more. Through Disqus, you can gauge which users need help and even get direct input from users. Identify the most frequently asked questions on your live chat software and common support tickets. Then, improve your systems to alleviate the problems and include them in your knowledge base.

Creating and maintaining a great knowledge base is not a luxury anymore for organizations of any size. It is an invaluable resource for awesome customer service, document management and internal knowledge sharing. Online knowledge base tools can help you with this task. Follow the steps mentioned in this article to get started.

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