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Everything you need to know about knowledge base

What is a Knowledge Base?

A robust knowledge base allows you to store, share, and maintain organizational information in a centralized repository.

A knowledge base is a single source of actionable information for your customer service executives and customers. Customers can search for answers to their questions in the knowledge base through information disseminated through the knowledge base on several self-service portals. Support agents can refer to the knowledge base and answer the customer queries quickly instead of asking colleagues for guidance or trying multiple options.

No matter how big or small your company is, you need a knowledge base no matter what industry you are in. After all, searching for answers online is the new normal for most of your customers. A ready repository of the organization’s knowledge can be created, filtered, updated, and accessed by the creator. 

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What is a knowledge base used for?

Knowledge bases can be aimed at internal as well external audiences and serve various purposes. For example, a network operator may maintain FAQs and plan instructions in a customer-facing knowledge base and also have an internal knowledge base for their employees to understand the offering in detail.

It is the only source of seeking information on any and every product or service of the company. Majorly they help organizations maintain how-to and troubleshoot guides or just have detailed information about a product or service. 

Benefits of Knowledge Base

A well-organized, clearly written, and designed knowledge base helps customers help themselves, acts as a learning tool for new joiners and is a go-to source of information for all departments.

Some of the benefits you can expect in day-to-day operations by maintaining your knowledge base include:

  1. Lower risk of error as you keep on updating information & clear out outdated information
  2. Save time for customers and customer service executives as a knowledge base has one platform for all solutions. 
  3. Cut unnecessary workload by mitigating repeat queries on the service desk.
  4. Improve customer satisfaction as you cater to their needs by having ready repositories of information to troubleshoot. 
  5. Outgrow the need for an extensive database by regularly maintaining your knowledge base.

Types of a knowledge base?

There are many tools for information storage and access. Some common ways for collating information into a knowledge base include:

Shared document systems

A local file server with MS Word or PDF documents, a Dropbox shared folder, or Google Drive, but the idea is to create a common point for making information accessible to many people. Fundamental challenges with this method are – duplication, file format, and accessibility to other systems.

Wikis and Intranets

Making information easily editable and findable by employees is the key benefit of a wiki tool. Intranet tools are often used for capturing internal knowledge and making it accessible to staff across the organization.

Dedicated knowledge base tools

Knowledge base software is a specialized tool for creating, curating, maintaining, and delivering information. Knowmax is an excellent example of knowledge base software, built to provide improved self-service and create a central repository for data through its unique knowledge management tools

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How to develop knowledge base articles or information?

Building out that knowledge base articles and organizing them in various categories are a task itself. But looking at it step-by-step with a purpose in mind simplifies it drastically. 

Knowledge base creators like Knowmax have authoring tools to input your created information to segregate it into various formats like FAQs, articles, etc. 

The significant effort lies in what you want to convey in this information repository you create. Let’s take a look at the following tips to develop practical knowledge base articles

1. Understand what you need to cover

Determine the needs of your organization at the moment. Note down all the ideas and start from your top or urgent priorities. Your customer service team who regularly talks to customers will be able to share the most commonly asked questions, and that’s a great place to begin at. 

Look at what information already exists and what is needed for your organization in the repository. 

2. Collect existing information

You probably already have all the content you can add to your knowledge base. Start compiling existing information from FAQs, new release documentation, and other collaterals and materials that can be used. Copy all of that information into one place so you can see what you have, what you still need, and where you might have inconsistencies.

3. Organize your information

Organizing and structuring all the information is key to a thriving knowledge base. Organize your data in such a way that it is most accessible by internal or external users. Try to categorize data according to how customers or customer service executives are likely to need it. Similarly, arrange and link information for easy findability too.

4. Create new content

Writing an article or creating information in the form of FAQs takes significant effort. In this process, you can find gaps in your current set of knowledge and make a repository that is easy to understand and guide customers to the next step for their concerns.

If your support team wants to create articles containing text and video or create in the form of guided flows, then there is no need to write long essays. A Knowledge Management like Knowmax provides DIY (Do It Yourself) capability to create content in various formats without much effort. 

5. Maintain and improve your knowledge base

A cloud-based knowledge base should not act as a written once and fixed in place type of knowledge repository. Information becomes outdated or incomplete constantly, so you will need to revisit and update it regularly.

Once you build an effective system, then over time, your team can extend your knowledge base by updating existing content and adding new content or by adding new formats for existing content. Building an information resource will save plenty of time for your customers and your team while decreasing average handling time.

How to make your knowledge base precise for customers?

Now that you know the steps to create a knowledge base article, the most important thing to note is to make it accessible to your customers. 

A knowledge base isn’t helpful if people cannot find the correct information at the right time, understand the info and apply it to their concerns. The following simple tips can increase the usability of your knowledge base: 

1. Use the language your customers use

You might use your marketing terms or internal jargon to describe features or elements of your core service, but customers may never search for those terms or, for that matter, understand them. Review your support conversations and chat transcripts to understand how customers talk about your offerings and tell you their needs so that you can include those terms in your knowledge base.

2. Omnichannel presence

Rather than wait for customers to arrive at the front door of your knowledge base, make the visible information right where they need it. Connect your knowledge base to all your contact points. Most of the time, customers reach out for your help because they don’t know your knowledge base is there. Link to your knowledge base prominently from the places they can trigger a support question and enable self-service so they can help themselves.

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Get started on your new knowledge base

In a nutshell: Planning, designing, creating, curating, and maintaining a knowledge base is necessary and an extensive process. However, every article you write might represent hundreds or thousands of future customer concerns answers without your help. An excellent Knowledge base has the power to improve customer satisfaction and customer retention rate.

An excellent knowledge base can act as an incredible tool for training new staff and a perfect tool for on-the-job training. Additionally, it’s a superb SEO resource that can grab the attention of potential customers. Building a knowledge base the right way now will pay off for years to come.

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