Creating a stellar knowledge base: 10 best practices to follow

By Robin Singh

Creating a knowledge base is truly a labor of time and persistence. Many businesses are now turning to the information and data already stored internally to improve communication and improve productivity. It all starts with a simple question from a customer or even an internal question from an employee. The answer to such a question, especially from an expert, is worth its weight in gold! When these answers grow in count, the need to organize them grows so that it helps to improve productivity. The question is, how to create an effective knowledge base that helps to improve collaboration internally and reduces customer pain point?

Here are ten best practices worth benchmarking for your own knowledge base.

Tutorial style knowledge base

Start by dividing your product or service detail into “basics,” “functionalities,” and “leadership touchpoints.” Once these categories have been populated, convert them into tutorials. When the user clicks on the “basics” they should see all beginner tutorials, all the basic information to help them get started as quickly as possible.

Adding new customers or training new employees will become easier with the help of these tutorials. They would know the level of the tutorial with the aid of the categories they find themselves into. Categorizing and converting texts and screenshots to tutorials is definitely the way to go. Here are some of the tips to be followed while creating tutorials:

-Use multiple images to create a complete story if you don’t have the budget to create a video.

-Use highlighted texts and callouts to attract attention to the important areas of the text.

-Use bullets and numbers to define steps.

-Don’t forget the “Call to action” in the end. Invite the user to read more articles, sign up for a membership or even an email service.

Analyze your customer to design the knowledge base layout

Not all knowledge base sections can be created in the same way. Consider your business model, your transaction methods and your actual product and service before designing the layout of the knowledge base. Visualize how the user will be using the knowledge base site. Are the customers usually lost and confused and desperate for help? Do multiple customers ask the same questions? Will the customers find the knowledge shared in chunks useful? Analyzing the customer is the key to the knowledge base design. Always aim to satisfy the needs of the customers.

Take feedback from customers

That’s right. Ask the customer if they found the knowledge repository useful. Customers now do not have the time to write out sentences in complaint or praise. Provide options for a Likert Scale style rating system in the form of emoticons. Enable the customer to rate emotionally with these emoticons.

They will think twice before leaving the rating. Also use words like “Help us” or “Be honest to your learning community, tell us what you liked and did not like!” Then provide a list of items for them to rate with the aid of the emotions. Fast and effective customer feedback can then be analyzed with the help of analytics. This customer data can be used to improve the knowledge base.

Categorize according to website functionality

Another great way to categorize the knowledge base is to use the site menu items to decide the category names. Sometimes, customers are bombarded with overwhelming information on a website. They need clarifications on some services.

A knowledge base page that offers categories for each menu item will be more than welcome for such customers. The idea is to minimize wait time and the need to contact a live customer support professional. Popular and in-demand menu items are “payment options” and “subscription levels.”

A non-FAQ knowledge base

Customers expect a business to run 24/7, especially if it’s online. Not being able to find what they are looking for in the online shop is as disappointing as driving up to your favorite store and finding it closed. Consider a situation where a customer cannot find their question in the FAQ’s section. And they have no one to talk to except for the “Contact us” page where they need to write their question out and wait for an answer much later.

Creating a non-FAQ knowledge base would eliminate such frustrations. If resources are low, consider adding a search bar on top of the pages. Enable the user to search through and sift out what they need.

Anticipatory service

What kind of an organization can boast vigilance, precision, and understanding of the whole customer experience? The one that has a great support team, that is always reachable, and if and when they are not available, their knowledge base offers anticipatory service. And these organizations ensure that they follow up after the search with the customer, in case they have any additional questions. Or, if they found anything lacking on the knowledge base. Such feedback is valuable in improving the anticipatory services of the business.

You can expect a greater turnover, conversion rate and ROI on the knowledge base. It’s like saying. “Come on in! we are here to serve you!”.

Summarize the topics

Having a comprehensive article or a tutorial punctuated with great images in one thing, and having enough time to go through them is another. The customers nowadays are always pressed for time. If they do zero in on resource, they have the daunting task of going through it. They find themselves scrolling down to estimate the length, take a deep breath and dive in to look for their keywords.

Skimping is not very effective, as it may prevent the customer from reading important information. What great organizations do is, they create a summary of the resource and offer it as a starter with all the keywords highlighted. If the customer decides to take their time to read the entire article or resource, they are shown the total time the article would take to read. These two helpful pointers are another great way to create a stellar knowledge base

Avoid jargon

In case you do decide to add technical jargon, hyperlink it to your glossary list for the average customer to refer to.

Use GIFs

Have you ever seen entertainment articles that are accentuated with funny GIFs of celebrities saying out a dialogue? And the GIF is looped so that we get to enjoy it multiple times.

Consider incorporating the same style GIFs to summarize lengthy videos and “how-to” articles. Adding humor (tasteful, please) is also recommended when using the GIFs to keep the stress levels of the customer low and make the search more enjoyable.

Use soothing colors

It is best to use soothing colors as your knowledgebase background. Stick to cooler colors. Use bullets and well-organized numbers to arrange the topics. If possible, use a single column for searching. Use short and concise article names. Highlight important areas with blue (of course). Such attention-grabbing call outs will help the customer get to their target faster and easier.

Conclusion

Every business should consider having a knowledge base for internal or external use. It Although not all knowledge resources can be created in the same way, but it is key to maintain the quality of content to make so that the purpose of building a knowledge base is served. I hope you will follow these mentioned best practices to create a stellar and user-centric knowledge base.

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Robin Singh is a technical support executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various Knowledge base tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.

 

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