How To Create and Organize A Knowledge Base

By Sami Ghoche
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How To Create and Organize A Knowledge Base

Delivering knowledge to your customers can seem like a massive undertaking, especially when you don’t have a centralized location for that stored knowledge.

But centralized knowledge, or a knowledge base, for your organization can be the difference between serving customers quickly, in optimized, helpful ways and making their customer experience a confusing and lengthy process. 

Providing high quality customer service goes hand-in-hand with helping your customers help themselves and you can enable better self-service by upping your knowledge base game. 

A comprehensive knowledge base is crucial to getting your customers the answers they need when they seek them. It should be what you’re building on when customers come to your organization with new questions or if you need to add updated information to an article customers constantly frequent. 

These days 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a representative when it comes to getting customer support. And according to a study by Forrester, customers prefer the knowledge base to all other self-service channels because 90% of customers want immediate resolutions to their needs. 

The need for robust knowledge bases is clear. 

In this blog we’ll give you an overview of the purpose of a knowledge base, how you can create and organize one, and how you can optimize yours if you’ve already gotten started.  

The Purpose of a Knowledge Base 

First, what is a knowledge base

A knowledge base is a self-serve customer service library that can provide information about a company’s product or service and any topic related to either. 

While a knowledge base is meant to answer questions and provide information on all topics, it’s not meant to be an FAQ. An FAQ can be a part of your knowledge base, but overall a knowledge base is meant to be a well-organized library of information that includes articles, videos, how-to pages, tutorials, dictionaries, glossaries, and case studies. Anything that could help a customer understand a product or service better will be in a knowledge base. 

You’ve probably used one in the past to find information about an item or how you can benefit from a service you’ve purchased. It’s where a company stores all the knowledge related to their product or service for their customers to search for. 

A knowledge base makes it easier for the customer to have a positive experience with your organization. 

Why should your organization even create a knowledge base? 

If you’re already going to be monitoring an email or chat where people can ask questions, what’s the purpose of doing more? 

Two good reasons: people want information now and not everyone wants to interact with an agent.

A knowledge base helps centralize your organization’s information into one location where people can search topics or keywords in order to surface the relevant answers they need. Often, knowledge bases start off as simple FAQs that expand into other areas of knowledge. 

A knowledge base can be either internal or external. You’ll eventually want both of these so that you have external, easily-accessible information for customers and internal knowledge for agents or company access. 

What are the advantages of a knowledge base? 

A knowledge base will immediately be useful for both your support agents and your customers. These days 84% of customers expect to have self-service solutions when seeking customer support and not offering them could lead to unsatisfied customers who switch to a competitor due to poor CX. 

Customers most often seek information through self-service solutions when they: 

  • Need quick answers to easily-searched questions 
  • Are hoping to bypass wait times whether on chat or via phone 
  • Can’t reach your support team team after hours 

With a properly built out knowledge base that is organized and optimized for customer use, you can help mitigate these issues and help prevent questions from turning into tickets that your agents then have to work to deflect. 

Building A Knowledge Base

It can seem like a huge task when you first start building your knowledge base since there really are so many topics you could have questions and answers for. 

But when you prioritize creating this handy tool you are really investing in creating positive customer experiences for your customers and audience. 

Determine Format 

A knowledge base is usually listed under a company’s help center on their website. It’s essentially a high-level overview of their support-based content for you to sift through. 

Route, a Forethought customer and customer support AI user, does a great job of highlighting their own knowledge base and help center. Here’s what their homepage looks like:

Customers looking for information from Route have the option to search the customer FAQs, contact support, or try to resolve a specific issue. From here you can navigate away from this higher-level page view and dive deeper into knowledge articles. 

You should decide the format you want your knowledge center to take and then start building out pages from there. 

Writing Articles

The best way to know what knowledge base articles to write first and how to start building one out for your organization is to start with your customer data and sifting through the most frequently asked questions. 

These are the questions you have customers coming to you for already and you should have the information somewhere on your website where they can easily find it. 

Writing successful knowledge base articles can be a little tricky, but lucky for you we’ve narrowed down the best tips to help you write articles that improve your KB and help meet your customers’ needs. Here are a few: 

  • Use your support team’s voice: write your articles like your agents would speak to your customers. This makes articles easier to digest and understand.
  • Put ticket tags to good use to figure out what your customers are coming to you for. Ticket tags tell you who tickets are going to, so if you see an uptick in a specific need, write an article about it or update the one you currently have. 
  • Write clear titles and tier your content when writing articles to make for easy readability. 
  • Ask for feedback from your customers in order to get a sense for what areas could use help and begin implementing the changes. 

Once you know how you want your content formatted and what strategies you want to follow for future writing, you can focus on the organization of your KB and work to optimize it for your customers. 

Organizing a Knowledge Base 

Building a knowledge base is only part of the equation, what comes next is organizing and maintaining the thing so it continues to provide your customers with the information they need in a searchable way. What we go over in these sections will help improve your knowledge base management and organization. 

Organization Tips

How do you organize things so they don’t get lost or buried under other articles and internal linkage? 

You first want to determine the taxonomy, or categorization of your knowledge base. 

Some of the first categories you begin with could easily come from your ticket tagging system and could include the following:

  • Getting started with your product/service 
  • Account/settings information
  • Technical issues 
  • Product/service FAQs

These are the areas your customers are likely already seeking information about. You want to meet your customers where they’re at and provide them with the correct information they are already searching for to optimize their customer support experience.  

Optimizing For Search

As you write articles and build out your knowledge base, you’ll soon realize you need to optimize a few things for searchability and readability for both customers and employees.

In order to write articles that help customers find you easily consider these tips: 

  • Focus on simplicity when trying to resolve issues. Provide clear, succinct information in words your audience will understand. 
  • Follow our writing tips mentioned above! 
  • Implement technology that allows you to make the most of your knowledge base and use it even further
  • Update articles as new information is released about a specific topic. If you change the way customers access their account information, then be sure to include that in the article about changing account information. 
  • Consider online accessibility when writing your knowledge base articles. This means writing alt text and image descriptions to make pages easier to search for anyone trying to read the information. You’ll want to use larger fonts that are easy on the eyes and clear. Consider bullets and multiple headers to break up text. This will help everyone. 

Updating Articles

How often should articles be updated? What information should be included in your knowledge base? Are we missing anything else?

Don’t panic. Update articles as information is updated and rolled out. For businesses who are building knowledge bases, it’ll always be a construction project that needs to be worked on. Whether you’re trying to add the finishing touches or you’re just barely putting things together, there’s always room for improvement and you’ll be trying to add things here and there as you grow the base you have. 

You may also find that as you build your knowledge base you’ll need an internal-facing knowledge base for employees along with the external-facing one you’re using to provide customers with information. This will change how you update information and how frequently employee info might change more than customer info or vice versa. 

Enhancing Usability With AI 

If you’re wondering how else you can leverage your knowledge base, we’ve got you. 

Customer support AI is here to revolutionize the way you do customer support and provide customers with high-quality customer service.

On top of ensuring you have a location for all your company, product, or service information, a knowledge base can also help support agents do their jobs better and make processes within cross-departmental projects more efficient by making knowledge more accessible than ever. 

Most often customers will want to self-serve and find solutions to their problems on their own. When this is not the case, your customers will find information by asking you for it directly. 

When a question does become a support task, agents can run into the issue of not being able to find the necessary information to answer the query. With the help of AI, agents can have the info of a knowledge base article set to go automatically. This can help reduce resolution times and improve agent attrition

Leveraging Your Knowledge Base With AI 

Building a knowledge base is crucial to helping your customers have a positive customer experience whenever they visit your website in search of support. It can help reduce support costs and improve CSAT all while helping support teams meet their goals. 

As you work to build out, organize, and maintain your organization’s knowledge base you’ll find there are other ways that people within your business can benefit from it. What you might not be aware of is that you can leverage your knowledge base to its fullest with the help of AI for customer support.  

AI can help agents resolve chat and email requests quickly and automatically by sending the article and the exact paragraph within the article to whoever requests the information. 

If you’re interested in learning more about AI for customer support and how it can enable better knowledge base use and growth, let’s chat

We’ve helped companies like Route, Marriott, Asana, and Qualtrics enhance their CX efforts and we can help you too. 

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Interested in generative AI for customer support? Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

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