When a customer who browses your website needs a consultation, they can reach out to your support team. To save your team members' time and effort, you might want to create a knowledge base that will enable people to find the necessary information without third-party help. Clients will appreciate it for various reasons. Introverts don't feel comfortable when talking to others. Busy people can't afford to wait until a support professional attends to them. In this article, we'll tell you how to create an excellent knowledge base for your business to boost your customer satisfaction.
A knowledge base is a digital library where users can find answers to all the questions they might want to ask about your products, services, brand and company. Here are a few examples of such questions:
Which currencies and payment methods do you accept?
Does your business have all the necessary licenses and legal permissions?
What's the difference between the two types of products?
Do you have a loyalty program and if yes, what are its conditions?
Support teams of established businesses need to answer the same questions many times per day. If consumers can find information without third-party help, your team members will be able to focus on higher-priority tasks. The knowledge base will be available 24/7 on your website (and maybe also in your mobile app, if you have it). Your support team won't need to start every morning with answering the questions that have piled up during the night.
The database that we have just described is known as an external one. Its target audience is people who don't work for your company. You might also want to build an internal database for your team members. It looks and functions just as its external counterpart — but to reach it, users need to have relevant access rights. Such a database can store the information about your business policies, reward systems, staff trainings and so on. When you onboard a new professional, they can rely on this source of information to learn how your company functions. We won't focus on the specifics of internal knowledge bases in this article — but the key principles of designing them are the same as for their external counterparts.
An ideal knowledge base should tick the following boxes:
Easy to navigate. It doesn't make sense to create a self-help page on your website if people will struggle to find answers to their questions there. The page should have an intuitive layout and all the information should be very well structured. It would be wise to organize knowledge into multiple categories and subcategories. If some questions and answers fit into several categories, you should place them in all these categories to enable clients to find them quicker. Feel free to place links in each article that will take users to other related articles (like in Wikipedia). From every page of the database, people should be able to come back to the page with categories in one click.
With search capabilities. People should be able to use your database in the same way as they use Google — that is, type in their questions and get relevant answers. The search field can be located either at the top or in the center of the main page of your self-help center. To facilitate search, you should add keyword-specific tags to each article.
Regularly updated. The information in your database should be exhaustive and relevant to the current state of affairs. You should appoint a team member who will review your self-hep center systematically. The optimal frequency of reviewing depends on how dynamic your business is. Plus, you should add new answers or edit information in the database each time your release a new product, add or delete a payment option, review your discount policies and so on. If a client detects a controversy in your database, they will contact your support team — and this is exactly what you want to avoid. If the information on the self-help page is outdated, your customers might feel you don't take enough care of them. They might leave your site and never come back.
Features multi-format content. Gone are the times when knowledge bases contained only texts. Today, they should also feature a lot of screenshots and videos. Video tutorials tend to engage consumers much more than step-by-step text guides. However, a certain percentage of your clients love texts more than videos, so you should take their preferences into account. There is nothing wrong with providing the same tutorial in two formats. But you should make sure that the text tutorial doesn't read like verbatim of what people say on the video. The information should be structured and adapted according to the rules of each type of content.
No matter how perfect your knowledge base is, users should be able to look for information from other sources. On the help center page, you should share the contacts of your support crew: email, phone number, messengers and links to social network pages where customers can send direct messages to you. Or, there might be a form on your website that people could use to submit tickets to the support. Consider an opportunity of adding a forum to your website where your clients will be able to talk with each other. If you open a forum, you should appoint one or several of your team members to moderate it.
Building a knowledge base is not a difficult task — but you need to know how to approach it. The following guide should come in handy for organizations of all sizes and industries.
The tool that you're planning to use to create your database should be compatible with your site. It might be, for instance, dedicated software for building knowledge bases or a WordPress plugin. This tool should enable you to:
Customize the base (the layout of every page, logos, colors and other visual elements)
Build a FAQ page
Create a forum where users can ask questions to each other and share experiences
Get access to reports and analytics
You need analytics to find out how exactly people are using your knowledge database and how you could improve it to better meet their needs.
You need a CRM to store and organize the content of your database. The CRM will contain both the information that you'll be offering to your customers as well as the data about the customers themselves. This system will track all your previous interactions with your clients. You'll be able to check the questions that they asked you and the complaints they filed. These statistics will let you know which knowledge you should add to your database.
If you don't have a writer in your team, you should outsource them. It would be a mistake to ask a random staffer to compose the content for your database. Your team members might know your products and the specifics of your business very well. But it's crucially important to be able to write comprehensive texts in such a manner that the consumer is used to. The content in your database should be concise and easy to understand. What seems obvious to your team might be a mystery for consumers — and you need to know what and how to explain it to them. Before the writer starts to work on your content, you should provide them with your writing policies (tell them about your brand's tone of voice, explain which words they should avoid and so on). It would be wise to appoint a professional from your team who will stay in close touch with the writer. The writer should be able to contact this person at any moment to ask questions.
Try to look at your company, brand and product from a consumer's viewpoint:
Which questions will they be likely to ask when choosing the product and going through the purchase process on your website?
Which elements of the product can they customize?
How will they set up this product?
What's the first thing they will do to it?
Your clients will appreciate it if you share a Getting Started guide with them. There, you should list the steps of unpacking the product, setting it up and using it for the first time. This guide shouldn't be too long or overwhelming. If your product is complex, you should focus only on its most important parameters and features in the guide. You'll be able to go deeper in detail in other parts of your knowledge database. Consider creating a separate topic for each feature or function of your product.
The software that you use to provide customer support might help you with that. If not, ask your support crew members to manually compile the list of the most popular questions. It would be reasonable to place the answers to them in such a location where your clients will be able to find them in a few seconds. Probably, you have already included the answers to some of these questions in your Getting Started guide or the descriptions of the basic features of your product. There is nothing wrong in answering the same questions twice in different sections of your website. But you shouldn't make the section with your most common questions look like a clone of your Getting Started guide.
Some clients won't ask you for help if they don't understand something about your product. Instead, they might:
Complain about the quality of your goods and services on social platforms
To improve the customer experience of such individuals, you should proactively detect any potential issues and bottlenecks that they might face. Here are a few examples of common problems:
People might struggle to cancel the subscription to a product they don't need anymore
They find it tricky to detect which of the product options suits them better
A consumer has added a product to their wishlist but can't find it later
You can enable tools that will track people's behavior on your website. You'll discover which features of your site consumers use the most often and which ones they might find confusing.
To find out what people think about your company, brand and products, you should search for mentions of your business on social networks and through search engines. You might even set up notifications to inform you each time when someone talks about your brand online. It would be wise to keep the statistics of these mentionings and analyze the following parameters:
How many positive, negative and neutral messages are there?
For which reasons do people praise and criticize you the most often?
Which aspects of your business and products do people tend to misinterpret?
What do they most often need help with?
Why do they decide to discard or return the purchase?
What is the context of mentioning your products and business?
The answers to all these questions should help you to shape a comprehensive database with high informational value.
Let's imagine that you sell online courses through your website. Here are the examples of categories that your knowledge database might include:
Requirements for teachers and content creators
Terms of carrying out financial transactions
Diplomas and certifications that users can get after completing the courses
The Requirements for Teachers and Content Creators section might feature answers to the following questions:
Who can submit courses to the platform?
Which software and hardware should content creators use to make a video course?
Which level of expertise should I have to be allowed to share my knowledge with others?
You might consider dividing all the knowledge into two large sections: For Teachers and For Students.
Keep your knowledge organized and easily accessible. A single place for you to store all your corporate knowledge and wisdom, Bitrix24 Knowledge Base can be easily edited and expanded by all your team members.
Ideally, you should stick to a not-too-formal tone of voice. Many businesses include Terms and Conditions sections on their websites where they share legal documents and talk in an official language. Your knowledge database should offer a lighter alternative to the formal Terms and Conditions. You should rephrase and reword complex terms so that everyone can understand them. Try to avoid your industry's or your company's jargon. From the emotional point of view, try to stay neutral and positively minded.
This is what a perfect article from a knowledge database looks like:
To structure the text, you should use subheadings, bullet points, italicized or bold words.
The article in your database can contain links to other articles as well as pages from other sections of your website. You can provide links to the social media profiles of your business or third-party sites that mention your business.
Some people might be looking for information about products or services that are not related to your company. They might discover your website accidentally when the search engine recommends it to them. To use this opportunity of attracting new clients, you should use meta descriptions and include keywords in the titles of your articles. Your knowledge database will shape the first impression of your business among new customers. Some companies might not want search engines to find them for confidentiality reasons. In this case, you should turn off indexing by search engines in the settings of the with your database.
When you share a text step-by-step guide, it would be nice to accompany each of its stages with a screenshot or photo. For instance, you say that the user needs to push a certain button. On the screenshot, you should show them where this button is located and how it looks after you press it. Plus, you might want to create a video guide that features the same instruction — it's for people who don't enjoy reading texts.
Producing high-quality photos and videos might be more costly and time-consuming than writing a text. If you can't afford to hire a professional photographer and videographer, just make sure your visual content is comprehensive enough and helps users to understand your product better. Feel free to add any formats of visual content to your database that you find relevant. It might be GIFs, infographics and so on.
At the end of each article, you can ask people to:
Rate it with 1 to 5 stars
Click Yes or No to explain whether this article was helpful or not
If the consumer has rated the article with one or two stars and said that it didn't help them, you might ask them to type in a few words to explain what was wrong with the information. If certain articles receive more negative reactions than positives, you should improve them.
The first thing that consumers see when they open your website should be the information about your products. As soon as they need a consultation about your goods, services or business, they should be able to find the link to the knowledge database in a few seconds. Most often, businesses place buttons that lead to their knowledge sections in these two locations:
Main navigation menu
Bottom of the page
When you'll be sending the welcome email to your new clients, feel free to include the link to your knowledge database there.
You should appoint a team member who will responsible for updating the database. They should review its content systematically, such as once every three or six months. The younger your business and the more frequently you modify your product, the more often you should audit your content. Established companies can afford to audit their databases once per year.
As soon as you release a new product, or update an already existing one, or introduce a new payment system, this person should add relevant content to the database. They can either do it themselves or get in touch with the technical writer.
We've already said that you can use tools to detect which features of the site consumers use the most often and which they find the most confusing. Similarly, you can measure the efficiency of your database. Which articles people do read the most often? Which video tutorials do they watch till the end and which ones don't? If the demand for some information is too low, you can consider deleting it from the database. The knowledge section of your website shouldn't be overloaded with information. When a consumer needs an answer to a not-so-popular question, they should be able to ask the support crew.
Among all the solutions that are currently available on the market, Bitrix24 seems to be the most powerful and user-friendly solution for building knowledge bases. Over 10 million businesses from all over the world rely on it. Bitrix24 can help you with many aspects of your workflows: product and project management, time management, HR, building and hosting websites, email marketing, setting KPIs for your staff members, tracking their productivity and so on. Once you purchase this software (or start using it for free), you won't need to invest in dozens of miscellaneous apps. Let's talk about how Bitrix24 can help you when you start building a knowledge database.
Bitrix24 enables you to build as many knowledge bases as you need. This feature comes in especially handy for large companies that have several brands and dozens of products. This software contains ready-made knowledge database templates that you can flexibly customize. By modifying access rights, you can determine which of your team members can only view the knowledge and which ones have the authority to edit it.
Bitrix24 is famous for its handy navigation search. It allows you to create Wiki, polling and discussions. To better visualize the content, you can resort to mind maps. Mind maps are indispensable for internal communications when you discuss with your team members which information to include in the database. You'll be able to draw a mind map from scratch or choose from various templates. This software enables you to import and export mind maps, share and edit them. Plus, you can benefit from visual schemes, including custom and individual ones.
Bitrix24 is available in a cloud and on-premise format. Plus, it has a handy mobile app for iOS and Android devices. You can share knowledge across devices and you can be sure your database will nicely adapt to a screen of any size. If you don't want your staff members to share the information at their discretion, you can protect it with passwords. Besides, you can set time restrictions for sharing.
When working on the knowledge database, will need to send, receive, view and edit a lot of documents. Bitrix24 offers impressive file-sharing opportunities and supports real-time collaboration. You'll be able to create dedicated drives for all your employees, departments and brands.
You'll appreciate the opportunities of the Bitrix24 built-in contact center. It allows you to stay in touch with your clients and business partners as well as communicate with your team members. You can send emails and texts messages, make audio calls and host video conferences right through the app's dashboard. You'll be able to record all your conversations, store them in the CRM and review them at any moment. Your employees will love it that all the public and private chats in Bitrix24 are searchable.
While working on the knowledge database, it's important to understand the sphere of responsibility of each professional. Bitrix24 lets you manage employee directories and profiles in a very convenient way. Employee profiles are customizable and can contain exhaustive contact information.
Last but not least, Bitrix24 allows you to distribute the tasks rationally and monitor their performance. To assign tasks to your copywriter, photographer and knowledge database supervisor, you can use the task management functionality of this software. You'll be able to visualize the progress of each of these professionals and promptly detect any potential bottlenecks. If you realize you need more people to work on the database, you can promptly detect team members who're currently having little workload and add them to the process.
In addition to external bases, Bitrix24 allows you to create internal ones. You might want to build a dedicated database for each of your projects or workgroups. Only the professionals who are in charge of a certain project will be able to access its database.
If you're new to Bitrix24, it makes sense to start with the free basic plan. It can accommodate an unlimited number of users but it offers only 5 GB of free storage. Once you test the functionality of this app and make sure it suits you, you can upgrade to one of the three paid plans. The cheapest one costs $39 per month and accommodates 5 users. The second one costs $79 per month and accommodates 50 users. The priciest one costs $159 per month and accommodates an unlimited number of users. The more expensive the plan, the more extensive its functionality and the more online storage space it offers.
Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you have a better understanding of how to create a comprehensive and well-structured knowledge base for your website. This database should enable consumers to find information about your products and services without third-party help. It should contain text, photos and videos and be optimized for SEO. Besides, you might want to create an internal database that your staff members will be using to spread information among themselves. To create excellent knowledge bases, you might want to use Bitrix24. Over 10 million companies from all over the world rely on this software. Its basic functionality is available for free.