We live in virtual assistant world where your customers expect instant answers. Sometimes communicating over the phone, email, chat, or a ticket system is just too slow. Today’s customers want fast answers. They don’t want to wait to talk to your support team. They want to ask Alexa, Siri, or Google.
So how do you make sure your customers find the answer to their questions using smartphones and virtual assistants? By building a killer online knowledge base. One that both human beings and search engines can read and understand.
Here at UniTel Voice, we build cloud-based phone systems for busy entrepreneurs, and we’ve learned that a useful customer support knowledge base is the key to customer happiness. Anything you can do to save your customers time is a huge win, because no matter what industry you’re in, time is money.
In this post we’ll share five simple tips you can use to give your own support team the tools they need to build a digital help desk that your customers will love. Let’s get started!
1. Know Your Customers
You can’t build a great knowledge base to support your product unless you know who your customers are, why they bought your product, and what they love (or hate) about using it. How do you get the info you need to continually improve your help desk content (FAQs, how-to videos, quick guides etc.)?
You can send a simple email survey using tools like ProProfs Survey, CustomerLove, or Typeform. You can pick up the phone and ask customers how they like your product. Or, you can physically observe people using your product to uncover customer experience insights.
Periodically surveying, interviewing, and observing your customers using your product is a great way to identify what content needs to be created to keep your knowledge base up-to-date. But you should also use hard customer data, such as the frequency of an issue and its average handle time. Tracking customer data will keep you informed and help you make better decisions as you build out your knowledge base.
To sum up, you should:
- Send email surveys.
- Interview customers over the phone.
- Observe people using your product.
- Track customer support data.
2. Communication Effectively
As you create content for your knowledge base, think about how styling and tone affects your communication. You should avoid using confusing slang, colloquialisms, or technical jargon. Be personable, casual, and most importantly be friendly.
An overly formal knowledge base will bore your customers to death. Consider creating a style guide so your voice is consistent across your whole knowledge base.
MailChimp has one of the best knowledge bases out there and their advice is to:
- Always make your first priority to answer questions and inform your readers. Jokes are ok sometimes, but not if they distract from that essential goal.
- Avoid speaking like a marketer – you’re just trying to help.
3. Structure Content Simply
If you want to make your knowledge base as effective as possible, keep it simple. The less text, the better. Writing long paragraphs will exhaust the attention span of your customers. Your content should be scannable with clear headers, bullet points, and step-by-step lists. You’ll make everyone’s life easier if your content is structured in a way that’s easy to read and follow.
Here’s how to do it:
- Identify the topic or problem the customer is having.
- Provide a step-by-step process for completing the task or solving the problem in detailed, but simple steps.
- Describe what should happen after the steps have been completed.
- Enrich your content with screenshots, GIFs, and videos (but don’t overdue the visuals).
- Include related articles, questions, and topics.
4. Search Engine Optimize
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method used to improve the search engine rankings of your content. Just as SEO is important for your sales and marketing content, it's also important for the content on your knowledge base. Remember, one of the first places your customers go to get answers is Google. By search engine optimizing your knowledge base’s on-page content, you’ll ensure your customers find answers to their questions at the top of search results.
You can SEO your content by doing these three things on every page:
- Use a title tag (60 characters max) that includes the keywords searchers enter into Google to find your content.
- Write a meta description (160 characters max) that describes the topic or problem your content solves.
- Interlink your articles using relevant keyword links within the text.
5. Be Accessible
Even if your business is largely online, and you have an outstanding knowledge base, there are times when your customers want to speak to a real person. And that’s ok, because part of a personal touch is being available. So make it easy for your customers to reach you. The more ways you are accessible (via phone, chat, text, email etc.) the more trust you’ll build.
Also, be sure to follow up. You should always ensure your customers’ problems were solved, and that they were satisfied with your service, after every interaction. Giving them a simple call or sending them a quick email will let your customers know you care and are on their side. When your customers know there are humans behind the help desk, it makes all the difference.
No matter what industry you’re in, you can enhance your customer experience by offering a self-service help desk with top-tier support material. Assess your customers’ needs, use clear language and styling, and search engine optimize your content so it’s easily found online. Use screenshots, GIFs, and videos, but make sure that your content is simple and easy to follow. Visuals should enhance your text-based content, not replace it.
A well thought out customer support portal will help your customers help themselves. And that’s important, because good customer support should always be available, even if you aren’t.
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