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The do’s and don’ts for creating a customer service knowledge base

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Great customer service is very important for any company striving to achieve great customer experience. Sometimes, to provide great customer service you can simply provide your customers with access to immediate knowledge without them requiring personal assistance from your customer service reps.

The best way to provide your customers with great customer service but not have your customer service reps assisting the customers is with the help of a customer service knowledge base. Creating a customer service knowledge base can be difficult, as it requires a lot of work to create, manage, and maintain knowledge base articles and the customer service knowledge base itself.

But even with all the effort, it takes to manage a customer service knowledge base, implementing it has lots of positive effects on the quality and efficiency of your customer service. However, successfully implementing a working customer service knowledge base program requires careful planning.

In this post, we will be exploring the benefits of a customer service knowledge base and what you should and should not do when building a customer knowledge base for your business.

Do Make Your Customer Knowledge Base Clear and Easy to Understand

You should include a discrete help menu both on your website and in your app. Your knowledge base should also have a distinct search bar. You also need to write clear and concise titles for your help articles.

The most frequent issues your users face should be on the top of your knowledge base. Also, ensure that you have a “contact us” badge in case that your users cannot find a solution to their problem.

No matter what kind of help articles you end up writing, make sure it is not just a wall of text, as that will scare or piss off your users. Be visual and keep your pages organized so that you do not confuse your users. Whenever you can, include annotated screenshots or even instruction videos or GIFs.

Make sure that your knowledge base works on different resolutions and devices, as you never know what device one of your users will use. The less clutter your customer service knowledge base pages have, the easier will it be for your users to get what they need.

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Invest your time organizing the sections in your customer service knowledge base that your customers will see and use. At the same time, do not spend so much time on the visuals that you lose sight of how your customers will be using your customer knowledge base.

You must not forget that your customers have a limited amount of time and patience, and the more clicks it takes them to find something, the more frustrated and dissatisfied they will be. We all know that feeling of being slowly defeated by an unresponsive poor customer service rep is doing their best to help you. As a business owner, you do not want to be on the receiving end of that as well.

Don’t Require Your Customers to Log In to Use Your Customer Service Knowledge Base

No matter if your product is subscription-based or not, you should not push your users to sign in to their account to view your customer knowledge base. What happens when a user forgets their password or is not signed in to your software from the device they are using to read your knowledge base?

No one wants to spend 5 minutes looking for their password just so that they can find a one-sentence solution to their problem. Make sure that access to your customer service knowledge base is not restricted. Let everyone use it, whether or not they want to sign in.

You have to remember that your customers are in a rush and are looking to solve their problems quickly.

Do Keep Your Knowledge Base up to Date

As you are constantly updating your products or your services, you should do the same with your knowledge base as it needs to keep up with the rest of your offerings. The last thing you want is to give your customers outdated instructions.

You also need to regularly audit your customer knowledge base for any dead links and changes. Make sure that you analyze which of your pages get visited frequently and find out why.

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Another good practice is to document any changes whenever you are updating and beta-testing your product. Also, you need to get your support to read up and study material from the customer service knowledge base. You can also use the customer knowledge base as an aid when onboarding and training new staff.

Don’t Use Too Much Industry Jargon

No matter what kind of product you are offering, you likely have users of different skill levels trying to help themselves and solve their problems using your customer service knowledge base. If a customer cannot understand the answer because of too much industry language, they are likely to contact your team instead, which is as good as if they did that in the first place.

You need to make sure that your knowledge base is comfortable to read both for you and all of your customers, no matter how they are experienced with your product. However, not every customer knowledge base article should be dumbed down. Instead, whenever one of your knowledge base articles includes industry jargon, explain it quickly or include a link to a glossary that explains it.

If your customers have to know a certain term you mention in your knowledge base, make sure to write up a separate page explaining that term.

Do Standardize your Customer Knowledge Base and Be Consistent 

Your brand should have a voice. Your knowledge base should follow that voice, too. The last thing you want is to have a completely different tone and formatting in your knowledge base.

Whenever you have multiple articles that approach the same problem from different angles (trust us, it happens more often than you realize), make sure that those articles are combined into one. The easiest way to connect similar articles is to follow the same structure.

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Create a template of a few for the most common articles to ensure that all your knowledge base articles follow the same structure. Whenever you change an article, make sure that all the articles related to it are keeping up with the changes.

Another way to create some structure in your knowledge base software is to write content with a visual aspect in mind. You need to ensure that your customers are able to find the knowledge base article they are looking for quickly. You need to make your customer service knowledge base intuitive. Start with the basics and go from there.

Don’t Hide the Support Options

You should never hide from your customers. Your knowledge base should be another option for your customers to get support. You should treat it as social media, email tickets, live chat, and phone calls, not hide behind it.

Your knowledge base needs actionable content that will help your customers solve their problems; it should not be another sales channel. Your customers need help, and if your solution to their problems is to give you more money, they will be pissed.

Even though there are some cases where the best answer for a customer is to upgrade to a bigger package, that should not be the default answer. While yes, some companies sell premium support as a part of a higher tier package; this should not be the ultimate answer for most questions.

Final Thoughts

A well-planned and thought out customer service knowledge base can be a key contributor to a positive customer experience that not only delights your customers but keeps them coming back to you.

A great customer service knowledge base will save lots of time—both for you and for your customers. It will also make your customers and your customer service reps happier. While it takes more time upfront, it is very worthwhile in the end.

When creating a customer service knowledge base, you should start small. Do not try to tackle the little problems; handle the big problems first. While it may make sense that writing articles that solve small problems is the way to go, trust us when we tell you that you will end up running in circles.

Also, do not be afraid to start over if something does not work. Make sure that you have multiple iterations of your knowledge base and if it is possible, test multiple versions of the same article to see which one responds better to your customers.

Creating a customer knowledge base is a learning process. Similarly, your customers will be using your knowledge base to learn how to solve problems they have with your product and service; you will also be learning how to teach your customers on using your product.

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