Customer communication is the heart of support. But there’s a fundamental part of the customer puzzle that we might forget about — self-service. Eighty-one percent of US consumers expect to see the option when visiting a company's website.
The fact of the matter is that customers and support agents alike will be happier when you implement a knowledge base and FAQs… but only if you do it right.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of potential pitfalls. That's why we created a step-by-step guide on developing and implementing knowledge-centered support into your business.
What is knowledge-centered support?
Knowledge-centered support (KCS), also known as knowledge-centered service, is a way for businesses to capture, store and deliver product documentation to customers and employees using knowledge base articles.
For example, instead of a long conversation with an agent describing each step of product integration, your customers get a link to the relevant article or find it themselves.
Simply put, it’s when your customers get 90 percent of the info about product set-up, delivery, features, etc., by reading resource articles instead of talking to your support team.
For example, if HelpCrunch SaaS platform users want to customize a chat widget, they go to a customer knowledge base. ↓
Then, they search for relevant guidance there. ↓
Visitors can also ask agents or chatbots for this info. If that's the case, they get a link to the "Chat Widget" article.
Why is knowledge-centered support necessary?
If you're here, you’re familiar with every customer support team's typical issues.
- Agents drowning in customer requests.
- Reducing the quality of agents' replies.
- Customer satisfaction fall.
Knowledge management helps to solve them all. It saves time for your customer support representatives and makes customers happier.
- Fast and simple problem-solving. Instead of wasting minutes or even hours searching for and then typing answers to a customer request, agents send a link to the relevant article in seconds.
- Increasing customer satisfaction. More and more people prefer self-service now. KCS allows your visitors to find answers whenever they want (even when your support is sleeping) and follow the guidance in their tempo.
- Better support quality. Thanks to all your customers receiving information from the same source, there are no inconsistencies within the support actions and marketing strategy. The data your teams share on different channels is the same.
- Fast new team member onboarding. Knowledge-centered support is a perfect solution when you need to train new agents fast. All the information they need is structured and easy to access.
- More website traffic. With KCS, people can find solutions to their problems at their own pace, so they’re more likely to search your website for answers. What’s more, the right knowledge base tool allows you to optimize articles with keywords. All these things result in higher web traffic, leading to business growth.
- Social media growth. Knowledge base articles are a great source of product content that can be valuable for your current and potential customers. Let your SMM manager use it on socials to convert more followers.
And we’re not just saying this. The stats speak for themselves.
Scribe top tip: KCS is an excellent solution for overloaded mid-size and big teams with a limited training period. But think twice before creating a knowledge-centered service if you have a low user request number and a couple of agents.
Challenges you'll face building knowledge-centered service
When creating a KCS, your task is to turn specific knowledge into a collective, collaborative one. You'll likely run into a series of challenges when building your knowledge base.
1. Culture of knowledge hoarding.
Some people know more about your product. And others… well, less. But the former aren't used to or don't want to share their experience with others because it can make them seem less valuable to a company.
The fix: Shift the value focus from the process to the results.
2. Outdated knowledge base tool.
Check if it’s hard to:
- Customize knowledge base design.
- Create and publish articles.
- Make them visible to search engines.
- Track their performance.
- Survey readers after they read the content.
- Manage knowledge-base articles.
- Integrate with your current support tech stack.
The fix: If at least one of the answers is "yes," time to opt for a better customer knowledge base.
3. Support agents aren't writers.
Think about the quality of articles' content, design and efficiency. Support articles can be hard to understand for a non-specialist.
The fix: Hire a support agent with decent writing skills or a seasoned tech writer. Define roles of who will create, check, publish and update articles.
4. Knowledge base article creation can be time-consuming.
Agents might not want to use a knowledge base because they’re comfortable in their old way of handling things. If they don’t understand the value of the knowledge base, they might not think it’s worth the effort. That's a question of strategic mindset.
The fix: Create a knowledge-base article template to follow, reward agents for creating new knowledge base articles and tie this piece of work to performance goals. Let your team see the entire picture: how this shift influences your company goals, productivity and salary.
How to build knowledge-centered support
Set the goals
Goals will vary from business to business. To give you a little nudge, here are some goals that crossed our minds first.
- Increase customer satisfaction.
- Improve time to resolution.
- Boost the newcomer onboarding.
Do these goals fit your business context? What other goals can you think of?
Choose realistic metrics to track your success and update them at least once a year. Once you're done, analyze what content your team and customers enjoy. Is there anything they’d like to change or add?
Identify the tools to help achieve those goals
To answer the previous questions and implement KCS successfully, make sure you leverage these three types of tools.
- For analyzing the necessary content. It can be part of your current support stack or a separate CRM system to find out:
- FAQs on different channels.
- The most difficult questions.
- Conversation history across email, call, chat or social media.
- Notes your agent took while interacting with customers, etc.
- To simplify content creation. You can do it manually with the help of Google Docs, Grammarly, or video/screenshot capturing and editing tools.
Or you can automate the entire process with tools like Scribe. It’s a step-by-step guide generator that automatically documents your workflow, complete with text and screenshots.
You can easily link to Scribes in your FAQs or embed them in your help desk. And when it is time to make changes, simply click "Edit" to update any step.
Scribe is one of the fastest, easiest and most efficient ways to create customer documentation.
- For content management. I'm talking about the knowledge base system. It can be a part of a service your team already uses. For example, a platform with marketing, support and sales tools in one plan. Or you can link to a separate software that organizes and categorizes your resource articles.
Define the workflow
To make everything work, you should describe the roles, areas of responsibility and workflow sequence. Ideally, it looks like this.
- A manager sets a task for an article after a customer request and a product update analysis. The task for an article should include a(n):
- Article goal.
- Issue description.
- Article brief.
- List of media content types if needed.
- List of experts to ask for the relevant info.
- Related keywords.
- Example of an article template to follow.
- Tech writers or agents accept the task only if they clearly understand it. They know whom to ask questions and where to find the needed information.
- The manager and the tech writers crew team up for the content creation kick-off.
- An editor checks the content for grammar and readability.
- The manager or a stakeholder checks if the article answers the inquiry correctly.
- An SEO specialist checks if it meets the keywords requirements (if there was such a task).
- The tech writer publishes the article in the knowledge base with all the relevant tags if everything is OK.
- The tech writer delivers it to the support/product/sales team (usually in a team chat by mentioning responsible people).
Teach your team how to use knowledge base articles
Make sure each agent gets the link to the newly published article. They know where and how to find it. Here are a few tips to follow.
- Show them how to use search in your knowledge base.
- Role-play some knowledge-base article use cases for your team.
- Create message templates of how to share KB articles with customers.
- Integrate your knowledge base with agents' live chat.
- Add those articles to the FAQs or chatbots if needed.
When done right, your workers can create a cohesive customer support strategy for all channels.
For example, you can ask your team to include a link to KCS or repurpose some articles to help social media followers find solutions. Since the number of people who get in touch with businesses on social media is growing, this tactic leads to social media growth and higher customer satisfaction.
Update knowledge base articles
First, listen to your support agents' suggestions on KB articles. Customers are also highly valuable sources of insights. Let them speak via comments, simple feedback forms or a "Was the article helpful?" survey.
You’ll also want to improve your article whenever there’s a product update or new feature.
And of course, there are also must-have things to check regularly like broken links, poorly rated posts, failed search requests, etc.
Keep in mind that this is the task for the entire team, not just the author of the article.
To sum up knowledge-centered support
Knowledge-centered support can be a game changer for your team and the entire company's success. Your agents work faster; your visitors can solve common issues on their own via self-service. All that leads to:
- Satisfied users. 🙂
- Happy and productive teammates. 💪
- Increased sales. 📊
Sounds like a win-win-win! Use tools like Scribe to make this process faster and easier than ever.