Delivering stellar customer service constantly is not easy, especially if your support team is bombarded with tickets, emails, and calls 24x7. Your service staff can easily get overwhelmed, resolving the same questions over and again, and there comes a point when tickets get lost or mismanaged.
This is where the concept of self-service or customer education comes in. Modern companies build information repositories to make information-sourcing simple. Simple it sounds, but it’s actually tricky to create an informative yet simple-to-use Knowledge Base.
Here are the best practices we follow to ensure our customer help center is awesome and adds value to our audience:
#1 Understand Customer Pain Points
The best way to create knowledge base content is by listing down customer questions and creating help articles around them. But how do you know customer pain points and the challenges they are facing?
Here's how we do it:
- Scan customer support tickets thoroughly
- Listen to customer calls to know what information they are struggling to find
- Scout the suggestion box or help forum for customer feedback
- Identify the most searched keywords and create relevant articles on those topics
This gives us a fair idea of what our customers are looking for and how we can solve their issues.
#2 Create Content that Provides Value & Serves a Purpose
Your knowledge base articles should help customers get acquainted with your products and services, get quick answers to any questions they have, troubleshoot problems quickly, complete a task at hand, and more.
To ensure that our knowledge base articles provide value to our customers, we constantly ask ourselves questions like:
- Do our customers need this article?
- How helpful will it be for my customers?
- Does it have the right keywords that customers usually search for?
- Is the article solving a real problem, or is it just stating facts?
Questions like these give a deeper understanding of whether the articles we are creating are result-oriented and customer-focused.
#3 Have the Right Mix of Text, Images, and Videos
Excellence lies in how well you balance things out, for too much of anything can be consequential.
Different people have different learning styles. While some prefer visual guides over a step-by-step instruction based article, others find screenshot references or video tutorials more helpful.
So, we make sure that our knowledge base articles include at least a few screenshots, images, and preferably a video explaining the topic further.
So, a video right at the beginning or end of the article is a good practice, but again, we don’t follow it as a rule. We are quite flexible when it comes to using media, so depending on the topic of the articles, we add suitable images, videos, and screenshots, wherever necessary.
Look at this knowledge base article on “How to Set Up and Configure Your Help Desk Inbox.” It starts with a video, as you can see below.
After the video, the article has a lot of screenshots, along with text to explain the steps in detail, as you can see in the screenshot given below.
#4 Don't Beat Around the Bush
Customers want instant gratification, so it's best to come to the point quickly while writing content for your knowledge base.
At ProProfs, we follow the inverted pyramid approach where the "what" comes before the "why".
People don't have the time to read long introductory paragraphs. They just want to quickly understand how to use a product or solve a problem.
Keeping this in mind, we make it a point to:
- Keep the sentences and paragraphs concise and meaningful.
- Be accurate with the facts, steps, and other information we mention.
- Use simple language
We feel it's the best way to deliver a smooth and uninterrupted problem-solving experience to readers.
#5 Do Not Assume
Since you know your products and services in and out, certain features, steps, procedures might be too obvious and self-explanatory for you, but it's not the case with a majority of customers, as most of them might be first-time users of your product.
We understand this fact, and therefore we consider our customers as beginners and ensure that we explain even the most basic stuff in our articles. Tooltips, lightboxes, and popups help us a great deal in explaining jargon right where they are placed, providing additional help in the form of tips, and also giving customers a guided tour of our product.
It keeps us in a safe spot, as our knowledge base covers everything right from the basic stuff to the complex issues.
#6 Put Articles in a Sequence
Randomly writing articles on a range of topics, in no particular order, is futile.
With no proper structure, the likelihood of customers getting lost while searching for an answer increases manifold. And therefore, we ensure that our knowledge base has an appropriate structure and flow. Only then will visitors find it easy to navigate the articles, and get answers.
When customers enter our knowledge platform, they are greeted with what the knowledge base is about, and a table of contents to give them a glimpse of the topics covered.
Next, we have sections and subsections, and our articles are spread out in different categories. The basics are covered first, and then we move on to complex articles.
Also, at the end of most of our knowledge base articles, we have a set of related articles, to keep the momentum rolling.
Look at the table of contents at the right of the page. It has all the topics that are covered in this online knowledge base. Following this as a practice can turn your knowledge base from good to great.
#7 Bullets Are Your Best Friends
Long, endless paragraphs can only result in instant click at the top right X.
Customers want an easy-breezy, light read - something they can grasp easily and in less time. For this, knowledge base articles need to be scannable.
The best way to do this is by including bulleted lists, using line breaks, highlighting key phrases, adding subtitles, inserting tables, etc., to the content.
In fact, we use bullets in most of our knowledge base articles. This helps our customers understand the concept better when text is broken down into simple bullet points.
Here’s a knowledge base article example to show you how bullets can be used effectively:
#8 Interlink Relevant Articles
Interlinking is immensely effective in driving customers to relevant help pages. But, to interlink related articles, the content has to be thoroughly reviewed.
For instance, an article was written on "How to add a logo to your knowledge base," it can be linked to another article that talks about branding and customization.
This is what we follow in our knowledge base. We link related articles so that when customers browse through our knowledge base, they not only get the required solution but also additional information that can help them perform a particular task better.
Besides helping readers navigate smoothly, and directing them to appropriate help articles, interlinking also helps us increase visibility on search engines.
Can you see some of the words in blue? Those are interlinked to other relevant pages, so when a reader clicks on them, he or she will be directed to a different article that provides more detailed information.
#9 Keep Titles Simple & Straightforward
Needless to say, the titles of knowledge base articles must be catchy and attention-grabbing. At the same time, they should be simple and convey the objective of the article clearly. Some of the formats we use while writing titles include:
- How to do XXX
- Guide to using XXX
- Getting started with XXX
- Setting up your XXX
Besides, we also have article titles based on the 'action to be performed'. For example, "Adding Logo to Your Knowledge Base," or "Assigning Roles & Permissions to Users," etc.
Here’s an article with a ‘How to…’ title for your reference:
This is a ‘Getting Started’ page that covers various articles related to ProProfs Chat.
#10 Ask for Feedback Using Surveys
Taking feedback from customers is paramount. So, all our knowledge base articles carry customer satisfaction surveys at the end. We ask readers whether they found articles helpful. You can choose to place a simple, closed-ended Yes/No question, or you may also ask for suggestions in a text box if you need actionable feedback.
Such a feedback system is quick and convenient - and the best part is - it hardly demands any effort at the customers’ end - they will be more than willing to provide feedback. Here’s how we capture feedback from our customers.
Look at the text near the red arrow. It is basically a question that asks the reader to give feedback.
Besides, we also use knowledge base reports to identify the search patterns of customers, keywords they are searching for, articles they found irrelevant, links that failed to provide results, and much more.
Leveraging this information helps us in improving the quality of our articles and making them more relevant for our customers.
Here is a summary of some of the hacks we use to write compelling knowledge base articles:
- Simple and straightforward language
- Conversational tone
- Keeping our grammar game on point
- Sprinkling relevant keywords across all our articles
- Writing in a tone that educates, and doesn’t sell
- Maintaining consistency in the kind of language we use
- Drawing readers’ attention by highlighting certain keyphrases
Knowledge Base Article Examples
Here is how ProProfs rocks at the art of creating knowledge base articles.
Things to note:
- A table of contents at the left side of the page
- Simple result-focused "How to" titles
- Categories and sub-categories
Things to note:
- Interlinking of articles
- Content in the form of step-by-step instructions
- Use of screenshots to explain the steps
Things to note:
- Related articles at the end of the page
- Asking for customer feedback at the end of an article.
At ProProfs, following these best practices have helped us tremendously in creating effective knowledge base articles that customers need to get acquainted with our products, and resolve queries faster.
Creating knowledge base articles takes time and effort. There's a lot of primary and secondary research involved in writing content that adds value to customer experience.
Writing knowledge base articles gets all the more simple and effortless with a versatile knowledge base tool. If you are looking out for one, reach out to us, and we will be more than happy to help you out.
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