While shopping in a physical store, I personally do not like the store staff to tag along, every step of the way, while I am looking at the options.
Do you like this shirt? Would you like to buy this pair of shoes? Are you confused as to what to buy? As a customer, these questions are annoying and privacy intruding.
This is because, when I will need help, I will ask for it. It’s as simple as that.
The same goes for online shopping. When I browse a site, say, Amazon, I prefer digging it, to get the right things. Even if I get stuck somewhere, I can always go through the FAQ section to swerve my way through queries.
Calling the customer care representative is the last resort, that too when the website’s self-service section doesn’t offer the right help.
And as far as I have seen, people these days prefer the self-service route, the reasons for which are pretty obvious – it’s easy, feasible and most importantly time-saving.
Well, self-service is clearly the ticket to success for organizations aiming at improving their services for external as well as internal customers.
Wondering what the best way to provide self-service is?
Creating a meticulously-structured and comprehensive knowledge base is the solution.
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is an online, cloud-based platform where knowledge can be captured, stored, managed, and retrieved for use by customers as well as employees. It’s a repository of valuable information that readers can access conveniently to resolve queries by themselves, without reaching out to the support staff every now and then, for trivial issues.
To build an online knowledge hub, all you need is the right knowledge base software that allows you to:
- Write, edit, and upload content easily
- Structure content by creating categories, sub-categories and a table of contents
- Manage viewership and editing rights
- Publish error-free content
- Build a knowledge base that works beautifully across multiple devices and platforms
- Analyze your knowledge base performance from time to time.
You can create two types of knowledge bases – public – that’s visible to everyone and private – that can be accessed only by internal employees. The primary purpose of creating a knowledge base is to equip your audience with self-help and make them self-sufficient.
Let’s deep dive further and take a look at knowledge base benefits for customers and employees-
Knowledge Base Benefits for Customer Service
Stubborn, impatient, fickle-minded, technologically-forward, demanding, uber-smart – all of these combined define the nature of customers these days. And the reason why customers have become this way is something we all know – the technological revolution that has taken the world by storm.
The influx of technology has created a culture wherein getting everything in a click, or a swipe is more of a necessity. The moment a particular process takes a few extra clicks or a small blue circle on-screen rolling a bit longer than expected, that’s when things take a u-turn, and customers drop the transaction and lookout for something else.
How smooth, fast, and accurate your customer service is, determines how your customers perceive you. By creating a knowledge base, you help your customers get what they want on their own terms, and therefore, it’s the best solution to provide excellent customer service.
Here are a few significant benefits of a knowledge base tool for customers:
1. Decreases Support Tickets
When knowledge is easily accessible, and customers get what they want right when they need it, the question of raising a ticket doesn’t arise. A knowledge base equips customers with self-help, enabling them to address concerns on their end.
This reduces tickets significantly that unburdens the support staff from answering the same questions again and again. The bandwidth of your customer service team increases, helping them to focus on urgent and serious issues that require more attention.
2. Faster Ticket Resolution
Having a full-fledged online knowledge base in place is extremely helpful for your support staff. It eliminates knowledge gaps and ensures that all the critical information is available at a central location, from where your support team can easily fetch information while dealing with clients.
Information-gathering becomes a breeze, as your support staff doesn’t have to go from pillar to post, sifting through various files, or reaching out to colleagues to get data. This helps them resolve tickets at a faster pace than usual.
3. Consistent Support
Customers look for consistent support these days, something they can access at a time and from a device of their convenience. This is precisely where a self-service tool like knowledge base can help you.
It can be accessed easily by your customers anytime they want and from any device – mobile phones, tablets, or laptops. If they have a query, they can solve it then and there, instead of waiting for the right time to call a representative.
Another significant advantage of a knowledge base is, it treats all your customers in the same way. Reps get tired, bored, or lose interest while answering repetitive questions. Fortunately, this is not the case with a knowledge base.
Despite the nature of the query, customers can refer to your online knowledge bank to get accurate answers quickly. For this, you need to ensure that all the relevant topics are covered in your knowledge base. So while building content, make sure that you address almost all the frequent issues faced by customers.
4. Understand the In-N-Out of Customers
How do you anticipate what your customers want, what are they searching for, and are they getting relevant answers to their questions?
Worry not. The knowledge base wears the cape of a savior and saves you even in the worst situations.
It offers insightful reports that provide you a holistic picture of what your clients are searching for, articles they like, articles that haven’t worked well with them, and the like.
Metrics such as:
- Total number of reads
- Total number of searches
- Popular and poorly rated articles
- Successful and failed keywords
- Broken links, and
- Author activities, help you evaluate the activities of your customers as well as those authoring your knowledge base content.
In simple words, a knowledge base is a great tool to gauge content effectiveness and article health, track author activities, and get suggestions for content improvement.
5. Builds Trust & Customer Confidence
Planting and growing the seed of confidence and trust is challenging. It requires you to deliver value consistently at every stage in your engagements with customers.
A carefully-built knowledge base can make the work easier for you.
Consider This – You have an awesome product line, but if you don’t have a dedicated knowledge base that can guide your customers on how to use your products, all your efforts in building your bouquet of offerings will go futile.
Besides quality products, your customers also need full-fledged documentation or manual for reference. It makes the work of using your product easier, and also builds trust and confidence in customers. At the back of their minds, they know that You Care, which is enough for customers to stay with your brand for a long time.
This was all about the importance of knowledge base from the customers’ standpoint. Now, let’s flip the coin and see the other side of a knowledge base – the one that is useful for your employees.
Benefits of a Knowledge Base for Employees
Employees spend a major chunk of their work time searching for information. Don’t believe it? Here’s proof.
According to a report by McKinsey, an interaction worker spends –
- 28% of his or her workweek in reading and answering emails
- 19% in searching for information
- 14% in communication and collaboration
- 39% in role-specific tasks
If a significant part of the day goes in such tasks, it’s bound to hit efficiency and productivity at the workplace. This situation can be corrected by adopting social technologies such as an online knowledge base in your business processes.
Creating an internal knowledge base for employees has various advantages, such as:
1. Enhanced Engagement & Collaboration
Engagement, communication, and collaboration are the key to a happy workforce. An internal knowledge base can help you achieve this with ease.
With a centrally-located knowledge hub, it gets easier for all your teams regardless of their place and time of work, to come together and share knowledge. You, as a firm, can leverage the knowledge base to communicate anything important, be it an event that’s going to happen or a new policy change or a change in the pay scale. Your knowledge base can include anything and everything that you feel your employees should know.
Currently, only 34% of employees in the U.S. are engaged – definitely not a very good figure to sit back and do nothing about. So what should you ideally do? Creating an internal knowledge base, along with taking other engagement initiatives, can boost communication and collaboration among employees, which can increase this figure over a period of time.
2. Smooth Onboarding
Onboarding new employees to your organization are strenuous, especially if your workforce is dispersed across various locations. It’s costly, time-consuming and takes a lot of manual effort from your end.
And, mind it, you cannot ignore it, given the fact it is your first interaction with new employees, an opportunity to set the impression right and motivate them for their new journey.
An internal knowledge base is instrumental in inducting new employees from all streams into your organization. It provides them a go-to place to find all information about your firm, its inception, offerings, clients, policies, and much more – that’s what happens in a physical onboarding session – you basically introduce them to your organization.
This exact work can be done by an in-house online knowledge platform and at not even half the effort or investment that goes into organizing offline onboarding sessions.
3. Increased Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is directly related to the efficiency and productivity of your employees. This is because if your staff is well-trained, knowledgeable, has a complete understanding of your firm and its suite of products and services, they will be adept at putting their best foot forward while dealing with clients.
An internal knowledge base enhances the capabilities of new employees, equipping them with the required skills and knowledge to serve customers directly on a call or while addressing their queries over email or chat.
Not just the customer-facing staff, teams working behind the curtains such as marketing, that play an important role in customer service, also benefit from the internal knowledge base, as they can leverage the knowledge gained to devise customer-focused strategies.
4. Prevent Knowledge Loss
When employees spend a considerable amount of time working in your organization, they gain in-depth institutional and technical knowledge about your processes, products, and clients. But when they walk out, this knowledge goes with them, which is catastrophic for your firm, given the influence it has on your bottom line.
To avoid this, building an internal knowledge base is the best solution, as it provides your employees with a one-stop platform where they can document all processes, protocols, etc., for future reference.
Documenting valuable information also avoids errors in service delivery, as employees can always go back and refer to the knowledge base to cross-check and make changes to a particular process, or a presentation or file they are working on.
5. Reduces Work Delays
An average new hire spends a whopping 200 hours in trivial tasks such as getting information, reaching out to colleagues for help, trying and doing things by themselves, etc. This means a major chunk of their initial few days get wasted, leading to inefficiency and a delay in deliverables.
This can be reduced considerably with an in-house online knowledge bank that offers employees a ready solution for every query they have. As employees get self-sufficient, it eliminates the need to email or call or contact someone in person to get the necessary information, which ultimately reduces the time to deliver work.
Knowledge Base – Indispensable for Growth & Success
To sum it up, a knowledge base forms the core of your business, regardless of your industry or scale. It has become more of a necessity, given the humongous amount of data that is continuously being generated for use by customers and employees.
Scattered information across mislabeled folders makes something very basic such as information-search, a difficult task. A knowledge base solves this very fundamental problem that most businesses face today. It helps you manage knowledge on a single platform and make it easily accessible so that your internal, as well as external stakeholders, can use it to help themselves.
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