Customer support is hard.
It’s hard for your support team, your customers and your business—because if you can’t create a great support experience, you’ll have a tough time growing.
If the daily grind of customer service is wearing you and your team down, you’re not alone! But what if I told you there was a way to ease the burden on your team while also increasing customer satisfaction?
A customer service knowledge base can do exactly that!
TL;DR: Customer service knowledge base
- A customer service knowledge base is a content repository for customers to find information and solutions independently.
- A customer service knowledge base typically includes FAQs, troubleshooting guides, product documentation and community forums.
- Create a knowledge base by defining its purpose and scope, gathering information, choosing software, establishing content guidelines, developing a content plan, writing and reviewing articles, adding search functionality, integrating with customer support, promoting usage, and continuously monitoring and improving content.
- Benefits of a customer service knowledge base include quick answers, 24/7 access, fewer repeat questions, easier internal onboarding, reduced customer support costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
What is a customer service knowledge base?
A customer service knowledge base is a content repository for customers to find information and solutions independently. It includes articles, FAQs, visual guides, and troubleshooting steps for post-purchase issues.
Customer service knowledge bases go by many different names. On the front end, your knowledge base might be called a help center, a support center, an FAQ page, or something else along those lines.
Key components of a customer service knowledge base
Here are some of the key components of a customer service knowledge base:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): A collection of questions that are commonly asked by customers.
- Troubleshooting guides: Step-by-step instructions for resolving common problems.
- Product documentation: Detailed information about products and services.
- Community forums: A space for customers to discuss issues and share solutions.
Your customer knowledge base will never be totally comprehensive, but the more robust it is, the better the customer experience.
Ride-sharing app Lyft is a great example of a user-friendly customer service knowledge base.
Effective knowledge bases contain knowledge in a variety of formats, from text to video to GIFs and Scribes. All that knowledge can be presented and organized in different ways, from frequently asked questions to how-to guides to troubleshooting tips and more.
How to build a customer service knowledge base
- Define the purpose and scope
- Gather and organize your information
- Choose your knowledge base software
- Create content guidelines
- Develop a content plan
- Write and review articles
- Include search functionality
- Integrate with customer support
- Promote and encourage usage
- Manage and maintain knowledge base articles
Here are a few tips to get you started building a self-service knowledge base that will transform your customer service strategy!
1. Define the purpose and scope
Clearly outline the purpose of your knowledge base. Is it to provide self-service support, reduce ticket volume, or enhance customer education?
Once your purpose is defined, determine the scope of content, prioritizing topics that address common customer inquiries and pain points.
2. Gather and organize your information
Gather information from multiple sources, including customer support tickets, product documentation and subject matter expert interviews.
Talk to your customer support team, your social media people, and anyone else you can think of who has a pulse on common customer issues. Use their insights to start drafting content for your knowledge base, then build out from there.
Build a framework for your knowledge base that makes things as simple as possible for customers. Organize the information into a logical structure, using categories, subcategories, and tagging for easy navigation.
Thoughtful categories and easy-to-navigate lists are key here, as well as the search bar.
3. Choose your knowledge base software
Select a knowledge base software that meets your needs in terms of storage capacity, user management, search functionality, and integration with existing systems. Cloud knowledge base platforms also offer scalability and accessibility.
4. Create content guidelines
Establish clear guidelines for writing knowledge base articles, including tone, style, formatting, and language. Ensuring consistency across all articles helps you maintain a professional and approachable brand voice.
5. Develop a content plan
Create a content plan that outlines:
- The topics to be covered.
- The target audience for each topic.
- Timeframe for creating and publishing articles.
Prioritize frequently asked questions and common troubleshooting guides.
Customer onboarding is an important period where they’re eager to learn and use your product. It’s a great idea to build clear sections to help customers get started with your product.
4. Write and review articles
Assign content creation to subject matter experts or team members with relevant knowledge.
Scribe is the easiest way to create articles and step-by-step guides. With Scribe, your team can capture processes and auto-generate a visual step-by-step guide in seconds. Simply open the Chrome extension, click "Start Capture" and go through any process. Scribe will auto-generate a step-by-step tutorial, complete with text and annotated screenshots.
Use Scribe's generative AI to write articles, then combine with multiple Scribes and multimedia like videos, images, GIFs and more.
To ensure your search is effective, make sure your knowledge base articles use the same words that your customers are likely to use. If you’re unsure how your customers talk about your products, your customer service team will be a great resource to help you learn more.
Use specific and clear language, especially for article titles. An article called “How to install our software” will be easier to find than one called “What you need to do to start using our software”.
Make sure your articles go through a review process to ensure accuracy, completeness, and adherence to your style guidelines.
5. Include search functionality
Use a powerful search engine that can effectively index and retrieve relevant customer service articles based on user queries. Encourage your knowledge content creators to use natural language and synonyms to improve search results.
6. Integrate with customer support
Integrate the knowledge base with your customer support system, allowing agents to quickly access and share relevant help articles with customers during live interactions.
7. Promote and encourage usage
Make the knowledge base easily accessible from your website, customer support portal and other relevant touchpoints. Encourage customers to use self-service resources by providing clear links and promotional messages.
8. Manage and maintain knowledge base articles
Regularly monitor usage analytics to identify popular articles, areas of improvement, and gaps in content.
Ask for feedback from your customers and service reps to refine your knowledge base and enhance its effectiveness.
Customer service knowledge base vs. FAQ page
Your customer service knowledge base should include answers to frequently asked questions, but it can also include so much more.
While simple FAQ pages can work well in some industries, research like the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report shows that customers prefer being able to solve their own problems. As that desire for self-service has grown, so has the capabilities of the typical knowledge base.
There are a few other key differences between knowledge bases and FAQ pages worth noting:
- Content: FAQ pages just contain answers to common questions. Your knowledge base should include a range of other resources to help customers be successful, like onboarding guides or troubleshooting tips.
- Usability: FAQ pages are typically single pages with a list of FAQs, like this Cards Against Humanity example. Since a knowledge base is more comprehensive, they typically include search bars and easy navigation—Dropbox does this really well.
- Organization: While FAQs may be grouped by common themes, organization is far more important in a knowledge base. Your knowledge base should include organization around things like products or similar topics. Menus or some other form of structure quickly allows users to see everything related to a given topic.
Check out our blog on FAQ page examples for a more in-depth look.
Benefits of a customer service knowledge base
An effective customer service knowledge base provides benefits to both you and your customers. Let’s take a look at a few.
1. Quick answers
The vast majority of customers in today’s world prefer not to engage with a customer service agent if they have a question or issue. In fact, Salesforce reports that 89 percent of millennials use a search engine to get their questions answered before calling customer service.
A dedicated knowledge base is the perfect solution to improving the customer experience. All they’ll have to do is get to your website, search for what they need, and they’re all set. And since most resource centers are also SEO-friendly, your customers may even be able to find what they need just by searching on Google.
2. 24/7 access
No more “please call back during normal business hours” when support agents are offline.
Your self-serve support is available to customers every hour of every day, which means they don’t have to wait around for your support team to help them. They can get help immediately, then get back to using your product to the fullest.
3. Fewer repeat questions
If your support team is constantly getting the same questions from customers, a knowledge base will help.
Imagine the customer service experience who clicks the “Help” link on your website and, as soon as the page loads, sees their specific question answered clearly and simply. Boom. You’ve just set yourself apart as a company that pays attention to the customer service journey.
Enabling customers to find answers in your knowledge base also means less work for support teams. That means you’ll be able to redirect that time and money into other areas that drive more results for your business.
4. Easier internal onboarding
While we’ve focused on how a knowledge base improves your customer service, it also helps out your internal teams.
You know those first weeks when a new hire comes on board? You’ll no longer have to scramble to create training from scratch.
If you’ve created a comprehensive knowledge base and kept it updated, it can serve as the basis of their training. They’ll also be able to use it as a resource when they have questions and a tool to learn about your products.
5. Reduces customer support costs
By providing customers with a self-service resource, you can reduce the number of tickets that need to be handled by live agents. A self-service help center can save a significant amount of money in the long run.
6. Improves customer satisfaction
Customers who can find the information they need quickly and easily are more likely to be engaged and satisfied with the customer service they receive. A well-organized and up-to-date knowledge base can be a valuable resource for customers, and it can help to build trust and loyalty.
7. Deflects tickets from live agents
When customers can find the information they need in the knowledge base, they are less likely to contact live agents for help. This can free up support agents to handle more complex issues, and it can also improve the overall efficiency of your customer service team.
What is good knowledge of customer service?
Having a good knowledge of customer service involves understanding the needs and expectations of customers and being able to effectively address their concerns and inquiries.
Customer service best practices include:
- A deep understanding of products or services offered, including features, benefits, and limitations.
- Providing accurate and helpful information to customers.
- Strong communication skills.
- Asking relevant questions to gather information.
- Providing clear and concise responses.
- Building trust and rapport with customers.
- Understanding company policies and procedures.
- Understanding return and refund policies, warranty information, and relevant guidelines impacting customer interactions.
What are the 5 most important things in customer service?
There are five key elements that are essential for providing excellent customer service.
- Effective communication: Active listening, understanding customer needs, and providing accurate information or solutions.
- Empathy and understanding: Putting yourself in the customer's shoes and showing genuine care and concern.
- Product knowledge: A deep understanding of the products or services being offered enables representatives to answer customer queries, provide accurate information, and offer appropriate solutions.
- Problem-solving skills: Analyzing problems, identifying root causes, and finding appropriate solutions.
- Positive attitude: Being friendly, patient, and professional, even in challenging situations, creating a pleasant customer experience.
What are the 4 concepts of customer service?
These four concepts of customer service are interconnected and essential for building strong customer relationships, driving customer loyalty, and achieving business success.
- Customer satisfaction: Meeting or exceeding customer expectations, understanding and fulfilling customer needs and preferences.
- Customer loyalty: Building strong relationships with customers, gaining their trust, ensuring repeat business, recommending the company to others, and becoming brand advocates.
- Customer retention: Keeping existing customers, providing ongoing support, addressing customer concerns, and offering personalized experiences.
- Continuous improvement: Regularly evaluating and enhancing processes, systems, and employee skills, seeking feedback, analyzing data, implementing changes, and staying ahead of customer expectations.
Get started building your customer service knowledge base!
Building a customer service knowledge base might seem like a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it overnight. Start by building out some core content you know will be useful, then add to it over time. While it can take some work, the benefits of having one far outweigh the cost.
And with Scribe here to help you create content for your knowledge base, you can get moving in no time. Sign up for Scribe today to get started!