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What Is a Knowledge Base & Why Do You Need One?
Most companies have to deal with the following issues on a daily basis:
- problems that need solving,
- information that needs accessing,
- and questions that need answering.
For software and tech companies, a knowledge base is a crucial resource to set up and maintain.
In this article, we’ll explain what a knowledge base is, why businesses need one, and how integrating one with your CRM can unlock key benefits.
What Is a Knowledge Base?
In basic terms, this database is an online information library that is used to support employees or customers.
The resources contained in it share details about a product, service, department, or topic. The information and data can come from specialist contributors within the company or external domain experts.
The content and information held in this type of system vary depending on the industry and the purpose of the library. Information and documents within can range from industry reports to in-depth product manuals. A typical knowledge base will contain things like installation handbooks, FAQs, troubleshooting guides, user manuals, video tutorials, product manuals, brochures, articles, and whitepapers.
Most companies have some kind of knowledge centre. The most common type is used to accompany a piece of software and is created and overseen by the tech or IT department. HR and legal departments may also compile and use these bases, depending on the size and complexity of the business.
A knowledge base may be used to help employees, customers, or both. These days, it’s common practice for companies to share theirs openly on their website, enabling the pages to show up in search engine queries and help gain extra web traffic.
Main Types of Knowledge Base
There are two main forms of knowledge base:
- Machine-readable bases are tailored for artificial intelligence. They store data that can be accessed and analysed by AI. Machine learning algorithms interpret the source data and respond to user inputs and information requests. In other words, when a user enters a query, the software helps to intelligently narrow the results down to the most likely solution or solutions and presents it to the user.
- Human-readable bases are text documents that humans are able to access directly. They are hands-on and require more time to find a specific solution than the alternative, as a user has to browse through manually.
Benefits of Creating a Knowledge Base
A recent report revealed that more than 69% of customers are inclined to solve a problem on their own. In other words, customers expect to be offered a reliable guide to solve their problems in the first instance, rather than talking to a customer support agent.
A good, well-maintained knowledge library has the potential to solve your customers' problems quickly, thus improving the overall customer experience.
It can also help your organisation deliver faster and more reliable self-service as well as provide regular updates. This helps to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
The key benefits that a knowledge base can deliver are:
- Convenience – A centralised library and document store means that everyone in your organisation, regardless of department, can access the information they need quickly and easily.
- Prevent confusion – Sometimes referred to as a ‘single source of truth’, it helps to prevent misinformation, thus improving operational consistency.
- Better training – Collating information and making it widely accessible means that incoming employees are trained with the latest information and consistent guidance.
- More efficiency – Employees can quickly find answers themselves, freeing up time and increasing productivity. Without a good knowledge resource, more experienced team members can become distracted from their work answering other employees' questions.
- Improved reputation – A company with a good one appears more organised, competent, and reliable in the eyes of both customers and employees.
- More effective support – It makes it easier for customers to access the information they need. It also makes life easier for the customer support team, as customers can solve smaller problems by themselves, freeing up agents’ time to concentrate on more complex problems.
- Reduce customer queue times – Improving the efficiency of your customer support helps to cut queue times for customers who have more complex problems requiring agent support.
- Improve SEO – When a customer types a question into a search engine, your online knowledge base may provide the answer, driving website traffic and promoting your product or service at the same time.
How to Build Your Knowledge Base
Determine the scope
To build a solid, comprehensive knowledge base, you must first examine your current customer or employee support and decide what you need to offer. You should answer the following questions:
- What kind of queries do you currently receive?
- What kind of calls does your support team get?
- Will your base handle all queries or just some of them?
- Which products and services will you concentrate on?
- How often will you update it?
Once you have answered these questions, you can create a plan to develop yours. This usually consists of an outline with headings and subheadings. The outline can then be expanded upon gradually with new content or links to existing relevant documents and resources.
Create and curate content
Now that you’ve determined the scope, it’s time to compile your resources. Look through existing resources for FAQs, user guides, product manuals, documentation, and other content. If there are gaps, then you’ll need to create new content. This may be the most challenging part of developing a knowledge library. It’s vital that all of the collected and created content is correct and solves relevant problems in a clear and engaging way.
Choosing a style
They usually come with a style guide. A style guide defines the look and feel of your brand. Once you’ve figured out your format, typography, and tone, you should remain consistent with it throughout the entire content.
Manage your knowledge base
The next step is to make sure your knowledge base is properly maintained. For larger bases, you should appoint a manager or team to take care of keeping it updated and maintained. The worst thing you can do is allow the information held in your base to become out of date or irrelevant, as it reflects badly on your company.
You should allow your customers to provide feedback to highlight any redundant information and let you know which sections are helpful.
Knowledge Base Examples
Canva has a thorough and well-presented knowledge library on its website, providing most of the information and support that customers require. The content is correctly categorised for easy navigation, relevant FAQs, and an intelligent search function to narrow down results accurately.
Here at efficy, we took our time to develop a comprehensive and clear knowledge centre to help people use our feature-packed CRM. In addition to useful information on how to implement and use a CRM, we also share several useful resources on various aspects of business and sales.
Combining Your Knowledge Base and CRM
Integrating your CRM system and knowledge management system leads to a number of benefits, including:
- Time saved – Integrating knowledge resources with your CRM means you can automate and speed up information retrieval for your customer support agents.
- Increased productivity – Eliminate the need for agents to switch between a CRM tool and a browser or documents.
- Improved customer experience – More efficient and productive customer support agents mean shorter queue times and faster query resolution.
efficy is a full CRM solution that can integrate your knowledge documents and resources. Find out more by requesting a demo today.