Building and maintaining a knowledge base for customer service is a great idea.
A 2020 Zendesk report found 61 percent of consumers believed resolving their issue quickly to be the most crucial factor for good customer service. The second most important was 24/7 or real-time support at 42 percent.
Basically, customers want their service fast and available anytime.
A customer support knowledge base supports both of these concerns, letting customers find the answers they need whenever and wherever is convenient.
These databases help free up time for your customer service team to deal with more complicated support tickets. Plus, they empower customers to fix their own problems.
In this guide, we’ll go over what a customer service knowledge base is, why you should focus on building one for your organization and how Scribe can help you build it.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Knowledge base customer service
- Why you want a knowledge base for customer service
- The benefits of a knowledge base
- How to start building your knowledge base for customer service
- Final thoughts: How to build a knowledge base for customer service
Knowledge base customer service
A knowledge base is an organized collection of documentation, videos and other information you provide to your customers to help them understand your product or service. Generally, knowledge bases are organized in a way that makes sense for customers to find the info they need quickly and easily.
A knowledge base for customer support is one of the cornerstones of self-service for your customers — and a knowledge management best practice.
It should make things easier for both your customers and customer service agents. And you don’t want it to be so complicated that customers need help using it.
A good knowledge base example to aim for is AWS from Amazon. It has a very effective knowledge base for its customers, organizing topics by the type of service a customer might need help with.
While the high-quality information you include is important, we’d argue organization is just as crucial.
You’ll want to group similar topics together under easy-to-follow headings. For example, if your company offers a software solution, organize topics from the same menu item together. Try to think how your customers would.
Why you want a knowledge base for customer service
So, we’ve gone over what a knowledge base is. But we hear you thinking, “It sounds like a lot of work. Do I really need to go to the trouble of building one?”
Customer service is projected to become even more demanding. A 2022 Zendesk report found that 86 percent of companies in the U.S. believed demand for customer service would grow in the next 12 months. They don’t necessarily have the ability to keep up with this demand, though.
With the rise in customer expectations, you need to focus on building more channels, particularly self-service portals, to help meet these demands. If you’re focusing everything on more phone support staff or email, you aren’t addressing some of the main concerns customers have.
Customers want fast help. They also want to get that help online when possible.
A 2022 Salesforce study found that 57 percent of customers prefer to interact with companies through digital channels. You don’t want to force customers to call a customer service center or come into a store when they’d prefer to get their answers digitally.
A lot of companies have been embracing chatbots, help desks and other automated forms of help. However, a knowledge base has some unique benefits when compared to these other self-service support options.
The benefits of a knowledge base
We’ll go over three main benefits of a knowledge base in more depth here. Namely, your customers can access them anytime they need help and get answers immediately, you can answer common questions in a simpler way and your team members can benefit, as well.
A knowledge base is available 24/7 whenever a customer has a question. They don’t have to worry about whether there’s a representative working over the holiday or at one in the morning because a knowledge base is always online.
Customers also don’t have to wait 20-30 minutes before connecting with a call center employee. They can find their answers in minutes if you’ve organized your knowledge base well — especially if you offer a search function.
Take care of repetitive, easy questions faster
A knowledge base doesn’t replace your customer service team. Don’t forget this! You still need to have a group of dedicated customer-facing team members to help out with customer queries.
What it can do is deal with a lot of the same questions your customer service agents get over and over again. This frees up time for more complex customer issues and eases the burden on your staff.
Your employees can learn from it, too
You’ll find that a knowledge base benefits both your customers and your workers. While you might be thinking about a separate internal wiki, you can also direct new employees to the knowledge base content.
They can use this in addition to internal documentation to learn more about your products, especially if these are call center employees.
Your employees can also look to the knowledge base to help them as they continue to develop their customer service skills.
How to start building your knowledge base for customer service
So, we’ve covered what a knowledge base is and why it’s essential. Now, it’s time to go over how to build one. Here are a few tips for making your own customer service knowledge base.
Knowledge base or FAQ page?
A lot of people mix up a knowledge base with an FAQ page when they’re first introduced to the idea. But unlike an FAQ, which tends to be one or two pages filled with simple questions and answers, a knowledge base is more detailed.
Knowledge bases are also more organized.
They don’t just answer questions with a few paragraphs and pictures. You’ll find video tutorials, detailed walk-throughs and all sorts of self-help guides here. However, an FAQ page can still be part of your knowledge base.
Gather all your data
Take advantage of all the different resources you already have when building up your knowledge base. Talk to your sales, customer service and technical support teams to collect the most relevant information.
You don’t need to limit yourself to text and images, either. Adding videos or Scribes showcasing how to complete tasks can be even more helpful for many users. Some of our most popular Scribes demonstrate how to complete specific tasks in apps or software, like this one showing people how to make a new channel in Slack.
Focus on answering questions
This isn’t just about hitting different keywords your customers might be googling. Try to think of the actual problems they need help with. You want to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, creating content that a beginner would appreciate with lots of step-by-step guides.
You also want to make sure these answers are easy for others to make.
Like Lance on G2 says,
“Scribe enables us to quickly create new (and rework old) instructions for our many products. Additionally, we can improve how we onboard internal staff with step-by-step guides for our processes.”
Organize content thoughtfully
In addition to answering your customers’ questions, you also want to make sure things are easy to find. Keep things simple when writing a knowledge base article. Focus on clear, easy-to-read content that customers don’t have to search all over for.
Don’t make the answers too detailed or long. Instead, break things down into manageable pieces. Then, group these answers in a way that makes sense, whether it’s chronologically or by category.
Add a dedicated onboarding section
Onboarding is a great time to set expectations for customer service. If you have a great section in your knowledge base dedicated to new customers and helping them learn to use your product, you’re showing them they can help themselves.
If your knowledge base isn’t set up for your new customers, you risk adding confusion to their support needs. This could frustrate some of them.
A 2023 Zendesk report shows that 37 percent of customer support agents said customers became noticeably angry or stressed when they couldn’t complete a simple task on their own.
Work smarter with multitasking
You can use your knowledge base in a few ways. It can act as a database for your chatbots, and they can help get customers to the correct page.
We already mentioned that your customer service agents could use a knowledge base as another reference source. They can also take advantage of the different help formats.
If a rep has a customer on a phone call who needs help with a complex task, they can direct them to a video with visual help as they guide them over the call. We’ve got more tips on this post for making a knowledge base.
Don’t limit yourself to one format
Touching back on multiple ways to help customers, a knowledge base should include several formats. You might find FAQs, manuals, training videos and Scribes all together in a single knowledge base for customer service.
Some problems are easy enough to solve with a few screenshots and a paragraph of text explaining the next step. But others are more complex, so a video or Scribe might be a better option.
Look into technology
So, you might be worried about creating detailed, step-by-step instructions in a few efficiently organized formats. But you don’t have to build everything from scratch.
Lots of tech exists that can help you build a knowledge base faster than you’d think. While there are dedicated knowledge base software options, you might find you already have the tools you need. Or you’ll find options that can help with internal troubleshooting, as well.
There are a lot of free wiki software options available to help you make an internal knowledge base for employees.
For your customers, you’ll find that screen recording options, adapting existing documentation and tools like Scribe can help you create a few dozen pages in less time than you might imagine.
Final thoughts: How to build a knowledge base for customer service
A knowledge base for customer service can help everyone.
Your customers will love having another channel they can access anytime to help them answer their questions faster than having to wait for a representative. Self-serve customer service is a popular choice for both companies and customers, after all.
Speaking of companies, your customer support team will probably appreciate how a knowledge base makes their work easier. They can focus on really improving the customer experience while consumers handle frequent issues themselves.
You don’t have to write down everything for you knowledge base in brand-new articles, either. If you use Scribe to help build your customer service knowledge base, you’ll have step-by-step instructions with images ready for your users in minutes.