The best way to share essential information with your customers and employees.
Knowledge bases are an incredibly useful tool for any business looking to provide excellent customer service. Nearly 70% of customers prefer to solve their issues on their own, rather than call or email a customer support team, and this is where a knowledge base steps in.
What’s more, a knowledge base can help streamline workflow within a company, leading to higher employee satisfaction.
This article will give you all the information you need on what makes a good knowledge base, the benefits of having one (or several!), and how to build your own.
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a store of information that has been collected, organized, and made easily accessible for its target audience. The process of collecting all this information is known as knowledge management, which pulls together all the data one might need to access at any given moment. Finally, dedicated knowledge base software is used to turn everything into a self-service resource.
In a business, customer support teams often use knowledge base tools to answer client questions, which can range from the mundane to the specialist. These tools can be internal only or customer facing.
The latter gives customers the autonomy to look for answers to their questions in their own time. It is not uncommon to find artificial intelligence built into these knowledge base systems in order to speed customers’ search for answers.
Types of knowledge base systems
There are 2 types of knowledge bases, namely, the internal knowledge base and the external knowledge base. Depending on the kind of information that needs to be shared and how this can or should be shared, people can choose to use either one or both of these knowledge base systems.
Internal knowledge base systems
Internal knowledge base systems are used by employees within the same company. They often take the form of shared storage systems on a local file server, which can then act as a centralized repository of company knowledge.
This is known as a self-hosted knowledge base, as it is kept on your company’s own server.
Another example of an internal knowledge base system is an intranet, otherwise known as a company wiki.
Now, let’s take a look at the kind of information that would appear in an internal knowledge base.
Examples of internal knowledge base information
· Company policies · Best coding practices · Employee benefits · Content creation guidelines · Copywriting style guide
External knowledge base systems
Unlike a private internal knowledge base, which is for employees only, external knowledge bases are, as the name suggests, created for the public. They are usually geared toward the customers of that business. A customer knowledge base can help lighten the load of your support team by providing self-service content.
An external knowledge base can be a great business asset. But, before you create an external knowledge base, it’s a good idea to consult with your sales and marketing teams for style guidance to ensure brand consistency.
An external knowledge base is also easy to set up, especially if you have access to customer relationship management (CRM) software that includes it in its offering. If you want to make the following pieces of information readily available to your customers, consider creating an external knowledge base.
Examples of external knowledge base information
· Frequently asked questions (FAQs) · How-to articles · Shipping information · Billing information · Account settings
The benefits of building knowledge bases
Both internal and external knowledge bases can make a huge impact on your business—from better customer service to streamlining employee workflow. Here are just a few ways where building a knowledge base could improve your business.
Higher customer satisfaction
Excellent customer service is essential to the success of any business. It ensures customer loyalty by making new and existing customers feel comfortable, safe, and looked after when purchasing from your company.
According to Forbes, customers prefer self-service to other forms of customer service. Not only do users prefer it, but customer-facing knowledge bases also allow companies to provide better customer service overall.
When customers can get the answers they’re looking for through self-service, they make fewer calls and send fewer emails. This reduction in direct contact reduces the pressure on customer service teams, reducing wait times for those customers who are calling or emailing in. What’s more, unlike a customer service team, a knowledge base is available around the clock.
Higher employee satisfaction
As we’ve just seen, external knowledge bases give customer support agents more time to manage customer inquiries. But it’s not just your customer service team that could see higher employee satisfaction—with an internal knowledge base, you might see employee satisfaction rising across the board.
Having quick and easy access to the knowledge customers need reduces frustration, especially for team members who are often asked the same question repeatedly, which frees up time for meaningful collaboration. Self-service options also empower employees to be more self-sufficient.
Reduced customer support costs
As we’ve already seen, external knowledge bases provide an alternative for customers to find answers to questions they would otherwise ask customer support teams.
So, not only does an external knowledge base reduce the number of calls overall, but it can also make each call that does come through more cost efficient. This is probably because the calls that get placed come from customers dealing with urgent requests or an uncommon question.
Reduced onboarding costs
Another area where costs can be significantly reduced with a knowledge base is new employee onboarding.
An internal knowledge base usually includes dedicated how-to guides for common company policies, onboarding forms, and even a searchable database for specific job-related information.
This self-service option again reduces costs that would otherwise be spent on lengthy training programs, freeing up resources and company time that can be better spent elsewhere.