12 Knowledge Base Benefits You Can’t Miss Out On
The truth is self-service support has come to stay. Not implementing it is like having a retail business and wondering if your customers will like a touch of e-commerce. Sounds ridiculous? Don’t take our word for it. Read on and see the amazing ways a knowledge base can help you drive customer satisfaction and retention.
- A knowledge base is a self-serve repository of information about a product, service, or specific topics, created to guide users effectively.
- Most knowledge bases contain information in different formats: knowledge base documents, how-to guides, explainer videos, glossaries, etc.
- There are two main types of knowledge bases: external (for customers) and internal (for employees).
- Knowledge management is the process of gathering, storing, and distributing information. A good knowledge management process is essential to succeeding with self-service support.
- A knowledge base isn’t the same as an FAQ page. The main difference is that knowledge bases are typically exhaustive, while FAQs are shorter and more straightforward.
12 benefits of a knowledge base that will interest you:
- Gives 24/7 availability
- Enables you to provide support at scale
- It empowers users
- Provides consistent communication
- Delivers improved customer experience
- Leads to increased retention and revenue
- Saves time
- Results in higher team productivity
- Saves costs
- Facilitates faster new hire training
- Preserves knowledge
- Enables cross-functional collaboration
Best practices for creating your knowledge base:
- Know your purpose: Identify the target audience (employees or customers?). Set goals for your knowledge base and determine the best content formats and knowledge base software to use.
- Categorize your content: You need a suitable knowledge management process to keep your support center in top shape. Otherwise, it’ll turn into a mess.
- Put user-friendliness first: Don’t get too creative and complicate the UX design. Give customers easy access to information by using tags and having a search function. Also, keep the main elements of your learning center where customers expect to see them.
- In the market to build a support center for customers? Userpilot has flexible knowledge base software for you. Among other benefits, our software is customizable, code-free, and powered with analytics to enable you to track engagement. Get your hands on it.
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a self-serve repository of information about a product, service or specific topics, created to guide users effectively.
A typical knowledge base contains information in different content formats, including help docs, step-by-step guides, explainer videos, glossaries, etc.
What are the types of knowledge bases?
There are two main types: external and internal. The main differentiator is the target audience.
Some knowledge bases are created for customers (external), while others are for employees (internal). Some knowledge bases, however, are built to serve both customers and employees.
Let’s take a closer look.
External knowledge base
Also known as a customer service knowledge base, this resource is created solely for customer education. The external knowledge base captures every piece of information customers need to use the product or service without friction. It’s also updated regularly as the company grows or changes.
The information included in this knowledge base varies, depending on the company, audience, and customer communication strategy. But areas commonly covered include:
- Reference docs (contain information about your product and important features)
- Update and release notes
- Courses (mostly for complex tools)
- Live chat
- Feedback option
Internal knowledge base
An internal knowledge base is designed to educate, train, and onboard employees. It’s a great way to save time for your HR team while ensuring new employees don’t get stranded.
An internal knowledge base contains the following information:
- Process documents
- Company Policies
- Company and team structure
- HR processes
- Employee onboarding material
- Product roadmaps
Knowledge base vs. FAQ page: Aren’t they the same?
No. Although similar, they’re not the same.
To begin with, knowledge bases are more expansive than FAQs. On average, the FAQ page only contains a few headlines and short information to give customers a general overview of the topic. But a knowledge base can go deep into the topic and combine multiple content formats to ensure the user has clarity.
Another striking difference that sets a knowledge base apart is navigation. Since knowledge bases are built to house massive information, they typically have intuitive navigation to help users get the right information fast. That’s unlike the FAQ page, where you typically have to scroll to find what you want.
Lastly, most knowledge base software have analytics features to enable you to identify what customers are searching for and how they’re interacting with the center. An FAQ page is too simple to enable such functions.
12 knowledge base benefits that will interest you
A well-crafted knowledge base is an invaluable tool for customer education and reducing friction along the user journey. And the best part? You can start reaping the benefits even before you’ve included all the necessary content pieces.
There are many reasons knowledge bases are so powerful, but here are 12 immediate benefits.
1. 24/7 availability
Once live, your knowledge base will be available to users round the clock; no lunch breaks, no vacation. This means your customers will find answers to basic issues even if it’s a holiday or they have time zone conflicts with your customer support team.
This ease in finding answers will lead to less frustration, make customers happier, and drastically reduce churn rates.
2. Support at scale
As your customer base grows, it becomes harder to assist everyone. Your next instinct might be to hire more people on the support team, but that’s costly, and it doesn’t always solve the problem.
Automating support with a knowledge base is the perfect solution. The resources will be available to everyone at once and just as effective whether you have 10 or 1000 visitors.
3. Empowered users
Self-service is highly demanded by users: 81% of customers prefer to solve problems independently and only escalate the difficult ones to a support agent. It’s the same reason people would much rather self-onboard a simple tool than wait for a sales rep to explain something they can understand without assistance.
An exhaustive knowledge base allows users to resolve queries on their own, leading to more customer satisfaction.
4. Consistent communication
A knowledge base unifies information about a product in one centralized hub, ensuring the product messaging is consistent.
This way, both your customers and team members will refer to one big source of knowledge that gives everyone the same consistent info. You won’t see the advantage of this until you’ve experienced inconsistent product messaging.
Imagine a customer messages support to get an issue fixed. Without access to unified information, the support agent will give advice based on what they know best about the product. And if it’s incomplete advice, the customer will need to message again, and this time, chat with another agent that may tell them something else. Such disjointed communication can result in a bad customer experience.
5. Better customer experience
One of the big benefits of a knowledge base is that customers no longer have to delay projects because a support agent is yet to reply to them.
All your user has to do when they run into issues while working is wander to the education center and search for answers to their problems. Additionally, knowledge bases can also include resources in various formats to support different learning styles.
This combination of speed and convenience naturally improves the customer experience.
6. Increased retention and revenue
Another reason for higher revenue is that resource centers are expansive. The customer might search for something else and come across a functionality they didn’t know was available on your platform.
It’ll prompt them to engage more and, in some cases, upgrade to experience the value of the newly discovered feature.
7. Saved time
Much of customer support is knowledge transfer, which means fewer support tickets when you have a well-designed education center. It also means more free time for your support agents to work on complex, less repetitive issues.
Miro is a good example of this. Their learning center provides tutorials for the most basic and commonly asked user questions to save extra time and reduce the load on the support team.
8. Higher team productivity
One of the most important knowledge base benefits is the increased productivity it fosters within support teams. Being freed from repetitive queries, support agents have more capacity to address high-priority issues. But that’s not all.
A knowledge base platform also shares company knowledge with your internal team, making it faster for staff to find info instead of sifting through various platforms and articles. Less time wasted – more productivity.
9. Saved costs
After implementing a knowledge base, you’ll see a spike in employee productivity and fewer support tickets. This means that you won’t have to hire a great number of support agents to match your growing user base.
All these mean reduced costs and extra money you can channel to product development and other activities that will bring customer success and drive revenue.
10. Faster new hire training
Many people focus on effective user onboarding, but employee onboarding is no less important. Proper employee education will help new hires adapt much faster, reducing the risk of newbie mistakes.
11. Preserved knowledge
Life happens. Employees get sick, take parental leave, change careers, retire, etc.
No employee will be with your company forever, but what happens when you lose an experienced team member? They go with their knowledge, or at best, the team begins a rigorous knowledge transfer process that will have to be repeated when another crucial staff member leaves.
But this can be simplified with a smart knowledge transfer system. A well-documented internal knowledge base allows you to retain important information even when an experienced employee leaves.
12. Cross-functional collaboration
Not only does a knowledge base allow teams to retain information, but it also serves as a central database that can store all the valuable insights from multiple departments.
This functionality makes knowledge-sharing between teams easier and faster, leading to better collaboration and increased productivity.
Best practices for creating your knowledge base
The benefits of a knowledge base listed above aren’t automatic. You only reap them by being thoughtful about how you curate and organize information.
The following best practices will set you up for success:
Know your purpose
Be clear on who you’re designing for and why. For example, a customer-facing knowledge base will be quite different from an employee handbook with training materials.
Your purpose will determine the kind of experts you need on the team. For instance, if it’s an external knowledge base, you’ll need contributions from all your customer-facing teams. These people have day-to-day interactions with customers or are busy doing stuff that directly impacts users, so they’ll have rich insights to share.
Don’t just discuss content type and knowledge management systems when brainstorming with these experts. Also consider your goals, content format, content length, and every other important variable.
Categorize your content
You need a logical structure to keep your knowledge base in top shape. Otherwise, it’ll turn into a mess.
The best way to handle this:
- Organize your content by formats (e.g., videos, screenshots, articles).
- If you only have one content format—e.g., knowledge base articles—separate it by topics, date, or whatever works best in your specific case.
Here’s an example:
Put user-friendliness first
55% of customers find self-service web portals too difficult to use. When customers can’t use something, they simply stop interacting with it, which becomes ironic because a knowledge base is supposed to help simplify your tool.
Don’t get too creative and complicate the UX design. Give customers easy access to information by using tags and having a search function. Also, keep the main elements of your learning center where customers expect to see them.
How to create your knowledge base
Broadly speaking, you have three options for building a knowledge base: 1) Use shared documents like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., 2) Have a hosted Wiki tool that’s editable and can be accessed by many people, and 3) Build with specialized knowledge base software.
Number three is the best because it provides enough flexibility and allows you to generate insights based on user interactions with your support center.
Userpilot can help you build a modern knowledge base with ease. Our software is:
- Has search functionality for easy navigation
- Powered with analytics
- Entirely code-free
It takes time and effort to build a knowledge base from scratch. So it’s understandable if the thought of starting feels daunting. But start where you are: decide on the audience for your content and begin brainstorming with subject matter experts.
Set up a demo to see how Userpilot’s knowledge base works. You’ll receive tailored ideas for knowledge management and see how to begin reaping knowledge base benefits immediately!