Knowledge Base: The Ultimate Guide

To deliver a fantastic customer service is an uphill task. With your emails pining, live chat boxes, blinking and telephone lines ringing, burying you under support tickets. And it will become increasingly frustrating as you will answer all those irrelevant questions.

Sooner or later, you will hit the wall and will question, “How can this service be scaled? How can more customers be served with the same quality and efficiency?”

Answer: Customer education! If your customers have the power to solve the queries themselves, then you would not have to.

Customer education, also known as self-serving customer service – or best-known as a knowledge base (KB).

A good knowledge base is like a library of information about all the services and products a company has to offer. If done right, a KB can help customers navigate through the content available on your site and solve problems on their own. A well implemented KB can scale out your customer service and dramatically improve their experience.

Knowledge base fact 1
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There is ONE thing that every company needs to understand: customers do not want to informed what to do. They will always prefer finding answers themselves. Nuance conducted a survey recently and discovered that 71% of users prefer visiting the company’s website to answer their queries instead of contacting their customer representative.

As people are more and more tech-oriented, they have started preferring less and less human interaction. Gartner Summit predicted that by the year 2020, customers would be managing 85% of their relationship without any human interaction.  

Lastly, but it is the most important to address: what’s in it for me? A knowledge base can benefit you by saving your time spent repeatedly answering the same questions, every day. Having a platform with a self-service for customers can be hugely profitable. In fact, Destination CRM highlighted that 54% of the companies providing a web or mobile self-service had received increased web traffic on their websites.

If you are considering investing in building a better customer experience or are struggling with an active customer support service, you should consider developing a knowledge base.

We have prepared a comprehensive guide for the resources a knowledge base will need. We will be covering:

  • What is a knowledge base?
  • What are the components of a knowledge base?
  • Using WordPress tools to make your knowledge base

You are welcome to use this guide as your very own resource in sculpting your picture-perfect design. If you can, you can read through the entire passage in a go, or jump between sections to gather what applies to you.

What Is a Knowledge Base?

Alright, first things first, let’s define a knowledge base.

A knowledge base is there to promote collection, organization, and retrieval of knowledge. Or in simpler words, KB is a library about a topic, service or product designed to provide self-serve customer service.

Typically, knowledge bases look something like this:

WooNinjas Knowledge base Source: Wooninjas

The idea behind a KB seems simple enough, but let’s put some context behind the concept, so you understand its significance.

Customer services are built to improve the experience of the user. And even though, there may be some variations, but it usually follows the same process of ticketing or case by a case management system.

So when the user generates a query, it is usually routed by the system to the customer support representative. Now there are several handles used for this process: email, Facebook, Skype, etc.

The process revolves around reactive customer support. The representative waits for an action from the customer and THEN generates a response in return. The whole process is time-consuming and requires considerable investment. Having a well-trained staff present round the clock to interact with the customers will naturally demand running costs.

There may be an argument about the value of such a repetitive service. It can show you the user experience and whether any improvements are needed. However, maintaining reactive repetition is stressful, time-consuming and unscalable.

At this point, you need to use knowledge bases and take on a proactive approach. A proactive approach revolves around identifying and resolving customer issues before they become problems.

By investing in a scalable approach, you will be creating happy customers and saving the customer reps valuable time. Satisfied customers often turn into customer advocates, acting as an external sales force for your business.

A KB allows you to create content around recurring topics, issues, and themes. But it does not only have to be centered around articles or blogs. You can also have content like FAQs, forum, how-to articles, reviews, video tutorials, case studies or glossaries. You follow the rule of thumb: anything that helps your customers understand and use your product/service helps!

For this article, we will be focusing on customer-facing KB. Let’s move onto the next topic: How to create a knowledge base?

What Are the Components of a Knowledge Base?

Let’s start off this section by addressing the elephant in the room. Building a knowledge base does not, in any way ensure that it will be successful. Or even be used for that matter.

First of all, the customer has to find the answers to their queries. This factor is affected by design, user experience (UI/UX), architecture and even SEO.

Secondly, they have to be able to find the information they are looking for, but more importantly, they need to be able to follow it. It is hard to create robust documentation, but it is not impossible.

Lastly, there are no actual means of measuring the effectiveness of your KB. How will you know if your customers are satisfied with the content present, or are they leaving disgruntled and frustrated? Similarly, there is no right way of determining the relevance of your content either. How will you be able to create the content to answer every query from your customers?

Let’s start off with structure and design, mainly the UI/UX interface. It is the first interaction of the user with your platform, so landing this one matter. We will take a Restrict Content Pro (RCP) Documentation display as an example for this case.

RCP Knowledge base

Source: Restrict Content Pro Documentation

RCP Documentation is designed to give its user the opportunity to navigate through categories and search for specific issues or articles. They even have support options like their community and social media handles.

Other than the appearance, discoverability is hugely significant for a knowledge base. When a user comes forth with an issue, would they be able to find the solutions? A good tactic is to highlight key focus areas in articles, so they become prominent. Search functions should also be improved to locate and identify specific problems.

You should primarily focus on discoverability and navigation. Get those down, and then you can start working towards optimizing the process of a substantial knowledge base article.

Mainly, you are following the same writing tips that apply to blog or other nonfictional, instructional formats. In both of the cases, you are writing to persuade and attract the reader.

We came up with a few general guidelines to help you through the process of writing your knowledge base articles.

Have a descriptive title: Write titles like you are searching for it on Google. Short and precise. Sometimes they can sound like questions as well.

  • Have a graphic content: As we mentioned before, have all the relevant data and be precise. Content that will linger on uselessly will be counterproductive.
  • Have it checked for typos: Nothing, and we repeat, NOTHING gives a worse impression than those typos. It makes the reader feel you are careless and do not pay attention to.
  • Have a fair amount of links to helpful resources: It is essential that you focus on the understandability of your content while keeping it short. At times linking it to other material can be of great help.
  • Have yourself be placed in the user’s feet: You should never forget about user experience and readability. After writing, read through everything and be critical. Better it spends longer in the editing section than misleading customers.
  • Have a section for FAQs: At times, the users themselves are not aware of their problems. Discussion corners for recurring issues might save the user’s time. Remember, a happy customer is an excellent advocate.

Okay, we have got the textual content covered, let us move on to visual content.

There is an argument between which is more effective – text or video-based content. There are various preferences, but generally, a good practice is to go with a combination of the two. While text can be used to deliver detailed content, visuals can be used to attract viewers and make the article vivid.

Additionally, the type of content you have also affected its visibility. Text-based content is ranked higher on search engines, easing its discoverability for customers surfing through your website. Content for videos generally includes tutorials, walkthroughs, and reviews. 

There are several tips on creating compelling video content for your knowledge base. We will mention some of them here:

They should be consistent in their tone, not display private information, and always end with a call to action that guides the viewer on what to do should the video not be helpful.

These videos will increase your customers’ ability to self-serve, improving customer satisfaction and reducing your caseload all while reaching a broader customer base in the medium they want to use.

We are mentioning some of the more obvious ones below:

  • Keep a consistent tone
  • Avoid displaying private information, even if it were to increase viewership
  • End video with a call to action to keep your viewers engaged

Good video content will enable to the ability of your viewers to self-serve, reduce the load on your staff and improve customer satisfaction.

Using WordPress to Create Your Knowledge Base

This section has been the most anticipated, and we kept the best for last!

If you want to create a knowledge base, wiki or FAQ section for your website or want to create a design that allows users to answer questions, then WordPress has the right answer for you.

WordPress gives creators the freedom to develop any content using their themes and plugins. Thus, WordPress has, in its library, over 5000 themes and well over 29 thousand plugins. One might feel that it’s a bit extreme, but WordPress truly believes in the uniqueness of their developers and extends them all the liberty.

For a WordPress creator, there are generally two ways of creating a knowledge base:

  1. Creating a knowledge base using WordPress themes
  2. Creating a knowledge base using WordPress plugins

No need to fret. We will not send you on a wild goose chase. You can hop on to your preferred guide and dodge the details you feel you don’t need. However, we do recommend going over both of the topics.

Hopefully, by the end, you will know exactly what you need for your knowledge base.

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