When customers have a question, they want an answer quickly. This fact certainly hasn’t changed in the world of customer service, but one thing has— how we communicate. The knowledge base has been a key enabler of the self-service economy, and customers continue to expect quick access to information. In fact, 70% of customers prefer to use a company website to get answers to their questions before contacting a customer service representative.
The typical knowledge base contains a wealth of useful information. When implementing a knowledge base, it helps to plan out your article structure and develop a standardized writing plan. Just like your standard blog or website content, knowledge base articles are most effective when they are informative, clear, and connected to other useful resources. Here are a few essential tips for writing an ideal knowledge base article that your customers will value.
Choose One Topic Per Article
Having articles that are clear and to the point is a must for maintaining a knowledge base that customers will want to use. It helps to do some advanced planning and choose a specific topic for each article that you write. One of the best ways to find new topics for your articles is simple: ask customers or review feedback you have already collected. If a topic is overly complex, consider breaking it down into individual articles.
Write with Clarity
It’s always best to write a knowledge base article in a style that is suitable for your audience. In most cases, this means using clear and direct language without too much technical detail. If your articles have a logical flow and structure, they are much more likely to help your customers find the answers to their questions quickly. In addition to these tips, here are a few other helpful points:
- Use words and phrases that are conversational
- Be consistent with product names
- Use enough detail to cover the topic fully
- Write for beginning and advanced users
- Use a standard article structure
Make Your Articles Easy to Find
The article structure for your knowledge base will have a dramatic impact on how easy it is to use. When writing each article, it should be assigned a relevant category and grouped with similar topics. You should also include relevant keywords in the article so that it is easy to find when searching. Another useful way to help readers find the information they need is to Include links to internal or external pages and resources. Many knowledge base administrators also set up tags to connect articles related to broader topics and make them easy to find.
Write a Great Intro
Customers should be able to skim content and quickly determine if an article contains the information they’re looking for. If an article doesn’t seem to be relevant at a glance, they’ll look elsewhere. The introduction to an article is a great place to clarify what the article will discuss. When writing a tutorial, make a few points that highlight what the customer will learn from reading the article. If it involves troubleshooting, talk about the specific problem which the article addresses and how they can diagnose the issue for themselves. Including an outline in your introduction will also help the reader navigate the article more quickly and is especially helpful for longer guides.
Include Images and Infographics
Adding media to your articles can help with readability and article flow, making it easier for a reader to understand the topic. Images are ideal when discussing part of a physical product, and screenshots are useful for showing certain features or functions of a software program. Infographics, tables, and charts help illustrate data and other information effectively in many situations.
Think about the most straightforward way that you can convey each main point of the article, but don’t be afraid to use more than one method. For instance, you might reinforce written descriptions with graphics or screenshots to make complex information easier to understand.
Follow the Workflow
Especially when describing a process or troubleshooting solution, it will help to outline the series of steps that the customer should follow. Make a list before you start writing, and be sure to include all steps in chronological order. Having this organized workflow will help you address each step in the process, and you are less likely to forget something important. If there is a potential issue that a customer could encounter during a particular step, you can highlight it and share additional details or links. Using the same workflow that your service agents would follow helps to standardize the content for your customers.
A knowledge base is a powerful tool for customer engagement and one of the best ways to enable self-service support. Your articles represent the foundation of your system. Writing effective knowledge base articles is all about preparation, staying organized, and developing your communication tools.