Improve Your Customer Service Via a User-Friendly Knowledge Base
Including a user-friendly knowledge base on your website can be a simple and effective way to improve your customer service offerings.
In particular, hosting a knowledge base allows your customers to resolve more of their own issues through self-service, potentially boosting satisfaction rates while reducing the workload on your support team.
Case in point:
More than 90 percent of consumers say they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and geared toward their needs.
But a poorly designed knowledge base can be frustrating to customers rather than helpful.
nearly 60 percent of consumers who attempt to resolve service or outage issues on their own via any number of online tools fail to so, and they typically give up after being unable to find an answer after 30 minutes.
To make your knowledge base helpful rather than a hindrance, it’s important to follow best practices when implementing online self-service options.
Here are four keys to establishing and maintaining a user-friendly knowledge base that improves your customer service offerings.
Research Your Customer Needs
The first step toward creating a user-friendly knowledge base is to determine what to include in your content repository by analyzing the major needs and desires of your customers.
While any number of things can and should be incorporated, your knowledge base will be a boon to your customers and your business alike if you make it a point to include the most relevant content, rather than trying to create an all-encompassing FAQ database.
Determine some of your customers’ top issues and concerns by tracking and analyzing which search terms visitors to your website enter most often, which FAQs your live reps field most frequently, and which complaints your team spends the most time addressing.
Organize Your Content
After deciding what topics to include in your database, the next step is to organize your content to make it user-friendly.
When designing your content, however, know that your knowledge base will be more effective if you think like a customer.
As such, drawing from your analysis of popular search term can help you identify which keywords visitors are using when they search, allowing you to better tailor specific sections of content that better speaks to your customers‘ needs and desires.
Individual content pages can then be organized into hierarchies of menus that will make it easier for your customers to find the information they need. Once your content is organized into groups, create cross-references between pages and groups of pages to point your customers toward relevant related information.
Make Other Support Channels Available
Of course, the goal of maintaining any type of knowledge base is to provide answers and resources that will allow your customers to be in the driver’s seat and make more informed decisions. Still, a certain percentage of tickets will still require live agent support, making it vital to provide other customer support channels.
Typically, a customer will search your knowledge base and try to resolve an issue on their own before contacting customer service. With this in mind, your other support channels should be visible and accessible from within your knowledge base, as well as from other pages on your site. A simple way to address this is to include icons linking to your support channels.
Live chat is today’s most favored support channel and should ideally be included with automated support from chatbots. It’s also a best practice to provide toll-free 800 numbers that your customers can use for phone support.
Today, while many companies bury their phone number on their website — or don’t list one at all — those with a track record of providing superior customer service, including Zappos and Rackspace, have found that prominently displaying a phone number and offering 24/7 phone service significantly boosts customer satisfaction.
If you don’t have the resources to provide phone support, set up a toll-free 1-800 number to have phone calls routed to an outsourced, remote call center.
Collect Customer Feedback to Make Improvements
To maintain the usefulness of your knowledge base, it’s especially important to keep it relevant and updated.
As market conditions change and you release new products and services, so too can the needs of your customers. Thus, the best way to keep up with changing customer needs is to use KPIs to track the performance of your knowledge base.
For instance, you can track how often visitors return to your support page after leaving it, what percentage of searches return relevant results for users and what percentage don’t return relevant results.
Other key figures to track include how many support pages your average visitor views at a time, how much time is spent per support page, and which answers to FAQs get positive versus negative ratings.
Know Your Audience to Realize Results
Researching your customers’ needs by analyzing what search terms they use and what issues they typically contact you about can help lay a foundation for an effective knowledge base. To be effective, a knowledge base should be organized into hierarchies with cross-references that make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
For customers who can’t get answers or resolve issues through your knowledge base, it’s important to include other support channels such as live chat and 1-800 numbers. In the end, collecting analytic feedback on the performance of your knowledge base will help you keep it fresh and relevant, thereby increasing customer satisfaction rates.