What is a knowledge base?
A writing help desk knowledge base is a set of information about your product or service that one can go through to solve related problems or to learn how to use the product or service. A modern knowledge base is usually a collection of articles that contain text, video, images, etc and is available on the internet. It acts as the source of truth for the product or service to its stakeholders like customers, employees, and partners.
Sometimes, it is a part of a company’s self-service portal. Sometimes, it is a part of their website.
Advantages of creating a solid knowledge base
A knowledge base is the one thing that can be instantly useful for both your support agents and customers. Support agents can refer to the knowledge base and answer the customer queries quickly instead of spending time asking someone for guidance or trying multiple solutions. Customers can search for answers to their questions in the knowledge base instead of contacting support and waiting for a reply.
No matter how big or small your company is, no matter what industry you are in, you cannot go wrong with a knowledge base. After all, searching for answers online is second nature for most of your customers.
But what can go wrong is your content. According to a Forrester report, self-service has a better satisfaction rating than virtual agent interaction, but customers often feel that the ‘content does not match customer expectations’.
There are no predefined rules to help a perfect knowledge base article. You fail, you learn and then you repeat. Here at Freshdesk (and Freshworks), we have written hundreds of articles for our knowledge base, and it is used by over 150,000 customers. We have experimented quite a bit with our articles, and we constantly try to improve them every day.
Here’s a look at what has worked for us (and a little bit of what hasn’t):
Where do you start?
Before writing the article
Understanding user pain-points
Writing for the average user
Catering to different kinds of learners
Eliminating the writer bias
While writing the article
Tips to follow while writing the article
After writing the article
Where do you start?
When you are creating your knowledge base for the first time, you will have a lot of topics to write about. One of the following techniques (or maybe both) should help you get up and running with your knowledge base:
Off the top of your head, what are the things most customers ask your support?
If you are not sure, go through your support tickets from the past month (or week, if your volume is huge). If that doesn’t give you enough information, find out what your customers are searching for by looking at your search terms in Google Analytics.
Write down the top 10 things your customers should be doing for them to see value in your product. Should they invite their team to use it? Should they import data from their previous system?
Write support articles for all these steps and organize them based on functionality so that customers who visit your support portal can find them easily. And go through them one after the other (kind of like a playlist).
While answering FAQs will help your agents immediately, writing articles that help onboard new users will help you in the long term. We started out by writing basic FAQs and now, we write articles for every new feature that goes out and link it inside the product.