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What is a knowledge base? How to build & manage in 2024

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What is a knowledge base? How to build & manage in 2024

To understand your customer queries, service strategy, and support team capabilities.

Let’s do a quick self-check, shall we?

  1. Do your customers ask the same questions?
  2. Do you support your customers on multiple channels?
  3. Is your service response time more than the industry average?
  4. Do you plan to scale your business rapidly in the near future?
  5. Is onboarding and training new support agents a lengthy and complex process?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to most or all of the questions above, you must build a knowledge base.

To help you through the journey, we are covering the concept of the knowledge base, significance, usage, platform, and building process.

Let’s explore.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a customer self-service tool that provides on-demand support by solving common queries with product or service details. It must be comprehensive, accurate, user-friendly, and updated at all times for reduced risk of misinformation and maximized product results.

There are two types of knowledge bases: internal and external.

Internal knowledge base: It assists employees by providing company knowledge, including company policies, processes, and practices. In-house knowledge bases are department-specific tools. For instance, HR relies on them for policies and onboarding, while sales benefits from sales processes and product data. Marketing accesses branding guidelines and marketing strategies, ensuring consistent messaging and effective campaigns.

External knowledge base: It caters to potential and existing customers, answering their queries and solving product or service issues. They focus on customer support, offering FAQs and troubleshooting for issue resolution. They also provide product information, assisting potential customers in making informed decisions. These knowledge bases improve customer satisfaction by enabling self-service support.

Here’s an example of a comprehensive and user-friendly knowledge base for customers.

DevRev’s knowledge base, built on its AI-native platform, is comprehensive, user-friendly, and customer-centric. It contains features and usages of the product in a structured manner so that a user can easily search and navigate for quick query resolution, which is extremely important for excellent customer support.

Why do you need a knowledge base?

Knowledge sharing is the primary function of customer service. More often than not, customers have simple and easy-to-solve queries such as, ‘How can I export data from your software to a different format?’

Such situations occur due to a gap of knowledge, not the understanding of customers or product problems. Therefore, a customer support rep need not step in. Most of the customer queries can be resolved with a detailed document or a demo video from the knowledge base.

A knowledge base empowers customers to resolve product issues independently and swiftly, enhancing their user experience and customer satisfaction, all the while reducing the support team’s workload.

In addition to building a knowledge base that improves customer support, you can also enhance your products via UI, training, and labeling so that your users can solve primary queries by themselves, and your customer support teams can help them solve more complex queries to achieve their goals.

What are the major benefits of a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is like a holy grail. It provides answers to customers, guidance and direction to the customer service team, and invaluable data to the companies.

As per statistics published by Gartner, 74% of customers who experience easy transitions to a customer service rep say they’ll return to self-service next time. Also, seamless transitions save an average of 4 minutes of agent time per customer journey because they do not have to ask customers to repeat information they have already provided.

Here’s how a knowledge base benefits customers, customer service teams, and businesses.

Benefits for customers

Convenience

Customers can independently find answers to their queries at any time because they don’t have to wait for support to open or respond.

Empowerment

Access to a knowledge base empowers users because they can troubleshoot issues, access resources, and explore features at their own pace.

Efficiency

Customers experience reduced response time. They can find immediate assistance within the knowledge base, resulting in a higher level of convenience and problem-resolution efficiency.

Benefits for customer service teams

Reduced workload

The knowledge base handles routine and common queries, drastically reducing the support tickets and, as a result, the team’s workload. They can focus on more complex and unique issues that require human intervention.

Improved responses

The knowledge base ensures that everyone has access to the same, up-to-date resources and procedures. Therefore, support agents can provide consistent and accurate information to their customers and resolve issues faster.

Operational efficiency

The knowledge base empowers support agents to deliver faster and more accurate technical support in the first go. They can access the latest information and resources, fostering an optimized approach to problem-solving and elevating the overall quality of customer support services.

Benefits for businesses

Save costs

The knowledge base significantly reduces support costs by minimizing the need for live agent interactions and phone calls, which can be expensive for companies in terms of personnel and infrastructure.

Scale faster

The more the customer base grows, the more the inquiries increase. As customer inquiries increase with business growth, a knowledge base allows the business to scale its support operations efficiently without the linear increase in support staff.

Data-driven decisions

The knowledge base collects valuable data on customer inquiries, behaviors, and information preferences, providing actionable insights that can further be used to enhance – business strategies, product development, and customer engagement initiatives.

Here’s how DevRev, an AI-powered knowledge base platform, helps support agents to update and access articles and more (online and offline) quickly and efficiently.

How to build a knowledge base?

Building a knowledge base is an art as much as it is a science, and it requires a structured approach that combines the organization of information, effective data collection, and user-friendly access methods. It also requires a deep understanding of customers, their requirements, and expectations from the product and the company.

Knowledge base didn’t become a hero overnight; customers have liked and wanted self-service since more than a decade ago. A survey that was conducted in 2014 showed that companies that provide web or mobile self-service have witnessed an increase of 45% in their website traffic and a significant reduction in phone calls.

Here are the steps to create a robust knowledge base:

Define your objectives

Start by clarifying your goals. Are you creating a knowledge base for customer support, employee training, or something else? Understanding your objectives will guide the entire process.

Identify common issues

Before creating content, pinpoint the most frequently encountered issues or questions from your audience. Create knowledge base content to address these common concerns, ensuring that users can quickly find solutions to their primary challenges. This proactive approach enhances the knowledge base's effectiveness in resolving issues and improving user satisfaction.

Select knowledge base software

Choose the right platform or software to host your knowledge base. Options include custom websites and dedicated knowledge base software like DevRev or a self-hosted knowledge base.

Plan content structure

Organize your content into logical categories and subcategories. It helps users find information efficiently. You can create easy-to-navigate and easy-to-follow knowledge base content so that your customers can solve their problems quickly and easily.

Create high-quality content

Start populating your knowledge base with informative, accurate, and user-friendly content. Use clear and concise language, and consider including visuals like images and videos.

Review and update

Regularly review and update your content to ensure that it remains current and accurate. Outdated information can lead to user frustration.

  • Set a clear update schedule.
  • Assign content ownership to subject matter experts.
  • Encourage user feedback for improvements.
  • Implement version control for tracking changes.
  • Automate updates when possible.

Tips to enhance your knowledge base

Implement search functionality

A robust search feature is essential. It helps users quickly find what they need, improving their experience and reducing the need for manual navigation.

Promote user engagement

Encourage users to provide feedback and suggest additional content. It can help you continuously improve your knowledge base.

Train your team

Ensure your team knows how to use the knowledge base effectively. Train them to contribute, update, and maintain the content and to assist users when necessary.

By following the aforementioned steps and tips, you can create a comprehensive and effective knowledge base that serves its purpose and benefits both your users, your customer service team, and your organization.

How can knowledge-based software help your business?

Knowledge-based software is a specialized platform that helps create, collect, store, manage, and share knowledge in an efficient manner. It primarily serves as a centralized repository of information that can be easily accessed by employees, customers, or other stakeholders.

Companies use knowledge-base software to store a wide range of content, including articles, FAQs, manuals, documents, tutorials, videos, and more. Here are some key features.

Content management

Content can be categorized, tagged, and formatted to ensure easy retrieval and navigation. You can also create and add content creation guidelines to ensure that your brand remains consistent across platforms.

User access control

Knowledge-based software often provides role-based access control, allowing organizations to define who can view, edit, or contribute to specific content. It is crucial for maintaining security and data integrity.

Collaboration tools

Some knowledge-based software includes collaboration features that enable multiple team members to work together on creating and updating content. This can include version control, comments, and approval workflows.

Reporting and analytics

Analytics tools within knowledge base software help organizations monitor user engagement, track popular content, and identify areas that may need improvement.

Integration

Users can integrate with other software and services, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, help desk software, or project management tools.

User feedback and ratings

Users can provide feedback, ask questions, or rate the usefulness of content. It helps organizations identify areas for improvement.

Documentation and training

Knowledge-based software can be used for creating product manuals, onboarding materials, training resources, and internal documentation for internal and external purposes.

Customer and employee onboarding

Knowledge-based software can support the onboarding process by providing new employees or customers with access to essential information and training materials.

FAQ and help centers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sections and help centers are commonly used for knowledge base software, helping users find answers to common queries.

How to choose the right knowledge base software?

Just like bringing in any other internal or external systems, you must consider three elements: people, including your customers and customer support and service teams, technology, and budget.

Here’s a quick checklist for you:

  1. Identify your specific needs, whether it's a basic FAQ system or more advanced information management.
  2. Consider your budget, as options vary from free to paid.
  3. Check for user-friendliness, an intuitive interface, and good customer support.
  4. Ensure scalability to accommodate growth.
  5. Verify integration with existing tools and systems.
  6. Prioritize security with robust features.
  7. Read reviews and seek recommendations for an informed decision

With AI-enabled platforms such as DevRev, you can streamline your CRM and content management systems and cater to your customers all through the same platform effortlessly.

Examples of some of the best knowledge bases

Spotify

Spotify’s knowledge base provides valuable information and guidance on using Spotify's music streaming platform. It's a helpful and easy-to-navigate source for troubleshooting, discovering new features, and understanding how to make the most of your Spotify experience.

Nike

Nike's knowledge base is a valuable hub for customers seeking information on Nike products, sizing, and orders. It is exceptional for its user-friendly interface, detailed product guides, and comprehensive FAQs, making it easy for shoppers to find answers to their queries.

Lyft

Lyft's knowledge base offers information on ride-sharing services, safety guidelines, and troubleshooting. It has an organized layout and extensive FAQs that make it an excellent tool for quickly addressing common questions and concerns, enhancing the overall Lyft experience.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The AWS knowledge center includes articles and videos covering the most frequent questions and requests that we receive from AWS customers. It helps users optimize their cloud infrastructure and resolve issues efficiently, ultimately saving time and resources.

Create an intelligent knowledge base

Embrace advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing for their three remarkable features: efficiency, personalization, and adaptability.

They enable more accurate and relevant responses, resulting in superior user experiences by continually refining the understanding of user inquiries.

Their adaptability and personalization capabilities will give your business a competitive edge in today's dynamic marketplace. Explore the AI-native platform DevRev to build an advanced knowledge base system.

Frequently Asked Questions

A knowledge base for internal purposes supports employee onboarding, training, and even knowledge transfer, enabling them to access company policies, procedures, and documents. It simplifies information sharing, centralizes resources, and enhances internal communication, making it an essential tool for efficient knowledge management within an organization – for HR, sales, marketing, and product management teams.

No, they are different. A database is more of a representation of raw facts, while a knowledge base stores information as answers to questions that customers face while using a service or a product. This enables a faster and more accurate issue resolution.

AI constructs knowledge bases by collecting data from diverse sources, extracting relevant information through natural language processing, structuring it, and verifying facts. This structured repository enables AI to access and utilize organized knowledge for various applications, such as answering questions, making decisions, or providing insights.

Common challenges that most businesses encounter when implementing a knowledge base are content quality, organization, user adoption, search functionality, security, integration, scalability, measuring success, and content ownership.

An ideal knowledge base will support internal knowledge sharing and collaboration as it centralizes information, enables easy access, and promotes contributions from employees, resulting in enhanced productivity and a culture of learning and collaboration.

Jeel Patel
Jeel PatelMember of Marketing Staff

Jeel Patel, a marketing team member at DevRev, excels in writing about customer support, CRMs, and startups. His expertise shine in every piece!

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