Every business should have a knowledge base. A small FAQ section is fine, but a well-organized knowledge base filled with well-written articles is several steps up from a basic FAQ section. The most effective result from having one of these is its tendency to reduce the amount of time and money your company spends providing support to customers.
There are several different ways you can build a knowledge base, especially with WordPress, but there’s only a few strict guidelines you should follow when it comes to building a customer-friendly knowledge base. Let’s get started on how to do just that.
Figuring Out What to Put in Your Knowledge Base
Before you even design or organize your knowledge base, you need to figure out what to put in it. Look to your customers for this information as well as your own head. If you need help brainstorming, open a document in your favorite word processor or text editor, and type the following headings:
- What problems do customers encounter the most?
- What questions do customers ask the most?
- What problems do you think customers might have?
- What additional information would customers find useful?
Brainstorm topics underneath each heading.
What Problems Do Customers Encounter the Most?
Look at your past support requests. What problems occur frequently? This is where you should start. Having well-written articles on these topics publicly available on your website gives customers opportunities to help themselves. After that, all your support staff has to do is send them links to articles or copy and paste them into emails if they wind up contacting your support staff anyway.
What Questions Do Customers Ask the Most?
Technical problems can and will happen, but some customers may only ask a few simple questions. As you’re looking through past support requests to see what issues customers have, pay attention to what questions they’re asking or what types of questions they’re asking. Jot these down as you brainstorm.
While we’re on the topic of looking to your customers, make sure your support staff regularly flags any new issues and questions customers have that quickly become common. It’ll let you know how to expand your knowledge base.
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What Problems Do You Think Customers Might Have?
If you have very little customer support requests to source topics from, use your own noggin! Think about what issues or questions customers might have when it comes to your product. If you offer a service, what are your terms and conditions? Writing a knowledge base article for each of them may help cut back on the confusion of what it is you offer and don’t offer. Analyze your products and services, pick your brain, and see what you come up with.
What Additional Information Would Customers Find Useful?
This is the best part about knowledge bases. They don’t always need to be lists of questions and answers to problems customers have. They can also be mini encyclopedias filled with tons of information customers might need to better understand your product. For example, an online tax service might have articles explaining various tax laws in its knowledge base.
Additionally, if you have a product customers need to use themselves, filling your knowledge base with how-to articles may be a great way to cut down on the number of “How do I set up [your product]?” requests.
Write Articles, Not Answers
FAQ sections are great, as I said earlier, but they to be filled with limited amounts of information. Posting a short and simple answer to a question is a not great way to provide support to your customers. It may even cost you money as customers may turn to your support staff after not being able to solve their problems with such short answers. The solution? Write articles, not answers.
Approach a knowledge base article as you would a tutorial post. This means writing longer articles filled with as many details as possible. Picture your customers as novice users when you write these articles. Instead of saying “do X and Y,” explain how to do X and how to do Y. Make sure you exclude as much technical jargon as possible, and thoroughly define any jargon you do include.
You should also structure a knowledge base article in the same way you would a blog post. Use headers, sub-headers, short paragraphs, bullet points and even tables. Include screenshots, videos and images when appropriate, especially for how-to articles.
Also, steer clear of advertisements. Trying to sell a second product to someone who’s having an issue with your current one isn’t an ethical way to run a business. This knowledge base should benefit the customer more than it benefits you.
Make Your Knowledge Base Easy to Use
Knowledge bases work in the same way blogs do. You can write all of the amazing content you want, but it’s not going to benefit you or anyone else if no one can find it. Don’t bury your knowledge base in the support section of your site. Have a separate link for it in the footer of your site or as a drop-down menu list item for the Support selection in your site’s navigation menu.
Building off of that, make sure your knowledge base is easy to use once customers find it. Don’t create a long list of links. Create parent categories and child categories, and organize your articles inside of those child categories.
Using a WordPress theme is a great way to build a simple, well-organized knowledge base. Check out Oli’s post on the best knowledge base themes to use if you need a few suggestions.
Update Your Knowledge Base Frequently
Many companies, including corporations, have outdated articles. This defeats the purpose of having a knowledge base in the first place. Take a look at your content a few times a year to make sure everything is up to date and won’t lead customers astray. Do this whenever you release updates to products or release new ones entirely. You should also do this when major industry changes occur.
Satisfying and keeping current customers is one of the best things you can do to ensure your business stays afloat and earns revenue consistently. A well-designed knowledge base section combined with superb customer service is among the greatest ways to keep current customers satisfied, apart from offering quality products.
Determine the biggest issues customers have with your products, and go from there.