According to a recent study examining how 1,000 organizations use customer support, the average response time for handling a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes. That is a lot of time, and during the wait, a customer could be losing a lot of productivity. One of the best ways that modern organizations are reducing cycle times for customer support requests is by creating a knowledge base.
A knowledge base provides customer support teams with access to all important product or service information in an organized database. As solutions are queried, they can also be updated with the very latest information, keeping the resource useful and current. A knowledge base can also be shared directly with customers, giving them a self-service support option. In this article, we’ll break down why a knowledge base should be a critical component of your customer support efforts and some best practices for a successful launch.
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is a digital archive that allows you to store and publish important information about your products or services. Using a software tool, you can create and organize your files and information in a way that makes it easy for customers to access the material they need.
A knowledge base can also provide a secure forum for confidential information that can be utilized by your support team. It can also be password protected and shared directly with customers and other third parties. Having a knowledge base can enable customers to find answers to their questions and issues before entering a support ticket.
Benefits of a Knowledge Base
Leveraging a knowledge base to compile and share product and service information offers a number of potential benefits.
Consistent content quality
A knowledge base acts as a single repository for all relevant information. It will be accessed regularly by your support team and also by customers if published to your website. As a central, collaborative information hub, regular content updates can improve clarity and ensure that the most accurate, thorough, and up-to-date information is accessible for all users. Over time, it becomes a reliable reference that grows and evolves along with your company and your customers’ needs.
Enhanced customer trust
Giving customers access to a self-service knowledge base gives them confidence that your company cares about their experience and strengthens your relationship. A self-service knowledge base makes it easy for them to find answers on their own, without the need to make a call to your customer support team. Easy access to answers their issues are often resolved faster. If you are consistently giving customers what they need, your knowledge base can become a great foundation for increasing customer loyalty.
One of the most important benefits to an organization is the amount of time and effort that a knowledge base can save its customer support staff. A customer-facing knowledge base provides customers with easy access to answers to frequently asked questions, how-to guides, and information for resolving common issues. By creating a useful database of important information, you give your customers the opportunity to resolve issues on their own. If done well, this can ultimately lead to fewer support tickets and emails so your customer support team can focus their efforts on more complex issues.
How to Set Up a Knowledge Base
A knowledge base can be very easy to launch but a challenge to implement effectively. Like most software, your success depends heavily on how well you integrate the system into your workflows. Here are some of the key steps to launching an effective knowledge base.
- Create useful knowledge base articles by adding images and linking to related content.
- Add categories to your articles for easy searching.
- Divide articles into sections to help readers quickly find the information they need. Within categories, organize articles in an intuitive order for ease of use. For example, articles providing initial setup instructions should be listed before more detailed how-tos on using specific features or customizations.
- Upload important product/service reference material such as PDFs, ebooks, etc.
- Standardize articles and other resources with templates, ensuring that the tone and language is consistent across your knowledge base and in line with your brand voice. It’s also a good idea to create standard email templates your customer support team can use. This allows your team to send customers information directly from your knowledge base. Not only does it support faster resolution of customer support queries, but it also ensures a consistent customer support experience across departments and agents.
- Consider creating multiple knowledge bases to organize your support material by product, service, customer, or other designation.
- Implement processes for reviewing new knowledge base articles before they’re published and accessible by customer service reps or customers to avoid publishing inaccurate or out-of-date information.
- Don’t neglect to secure your knowledge base(s) to protect proprietary product, service, and/or customer information. Ensure that employee-only articles and resources are only accessible by internal team members or authorized external partners.
- Have your support team utilize the shared inbox to respond to customer requests from a single forum and easily attach knowledge base articles to replies.
- Embed your knowledge base into your website to publish articles for easy customer access.
- Integrate a contact form to make it easy for customers to get in touch. Even the most comprehensive knowledge bases can’t address every possible customer question. Integrating a contact form lets your customers know that your customer support team is reachable if they need more guidance.
Having an effective knowledge base is becoming an important need as more customers desire self-service solutions and demand faster resolution of questions and concerns. With an effective knowledge base launch, you can increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. At the same time, you’ll provide your support staff and customers alike with a useful resource that can be improved upon and grow alongside your business.