Five Easy Steps to Enhance Your Knowledgebase for Improved Customer Service

By Baker Johnson | December 7, 2016

You’ve heard it before: “Knowledge is power.” There is a basic human desire to learn. And as much as people want to learn, they also want to help themselves. They want to easily find an answer or resolution to an issue and move on. They do not want to struggle when searching a website or have to contact a company. If you can make it easy for people to find what they are looking for, they will thank you and become repeat customers. If it isn’t easy, they may move along—and take their dollars with them.

There’s been lots of talk about the rise of “self-service” in customer service. Historically, FAQs may have been sufficient, but customer expectations are higher than ever and brands must deliver outstanding service or suffer the consequences. This demand for better self-service is now making knowledgebases more and more common because they usually include more detailed how-to articles and visual content that FAQs seldom contain. Here are five easy steps to enhance your knowledgebase for improved customer service:

Expand beyond FAQs.

FAQs are a necessary—and valuable—part of any knowledgebase but there should be content in many forms. Create tutorials, how-to articles and reference documentation. Use graphics, videos, animation and other formats beyond the written word.

The information can be culled from expert internal sources, prior customer inquiries, known pain points and more. It’s important to create content that answers the most common questions and issues from customers. Make sure to include the questions agents hear most often.

Optimize both the information and the organization.

Make it easy to find whatever your customer or agent is searching on. Think of your reader as someone who has never used your product or service before. What terms would you use to search for an answer? How would you phrase it? Consider search terms, phrases and synonyms.

It’s also important to maintain the “living” aspect of your knowledgebase. It should be regularly monitored and updated, with content additions as new questions arise. Highlight “best practices” or “lessons learned” within reference materials so people can benefit from the experiences of others. It’s important to capture all customer service interactions and pull relevant data, likely from your CRM, to ensure the information in your knowledgebase reflects current issues and resolutions. And be sure to conduct regular tests to ensure search results are easily returned.

Presentation is more important than ever.

It’s been said that one picture is worth 1,000 words. In fact, people are more than 300 percent better at following directions when there is an illustration or graphic included with text than when reading text with no graphics. Present information so that it is easy to read and understand for readers at all levels. One way to make things clearer and easier to understand is to use screenshots, illustrations and graphics.

And it is very important to be descriptive—but don’t create lengthier pieces to make them seem more important or authoritative. Make your information as descriptive and specific as possible. Remember that you are making it easy for people to find answers to their questions so they can move on to their next activity with a positive feeling about your company.

Make use of your reporting capabilities.

This may seem like a strange point to make here, but reviewing reports can show you what’s missing (what customers are searching for and can’t find) and therefore what should be added to your knowledgebase. Reports can also show the most popular topics, to help you determine if more information is needed on those topics (perhaps a video walk-through in addition to the written piece?).

Optimize for mobile platforms and all devices.

People use their mobile devices to do everything so information should be as easily searched, found and reviewed on mobile devices as on a computer. Don’t neglect the back-end formatting to make mobile searching simple and mobile viewing seamless. Navigation should also be simplified, with touch-screen usage in mind.

Your knowledgebase is likely the first place your customers turn when they need help. People will naturally try to help themselves before asking for help. Make it simple for customers to find what they need, and make it easy for your agents to find what they need to help customers. Investments made in your knowledgebase will pay dividends in reduced customer service/support costs, improved agent morale and enhanced customer satisfaction. Knowledge really is power—and with some work to enhance your information, your company can earn the most interest on your knowledgebase investment.