Sometimes when supporting customers, the speed at which you assist users with technical problems, getting started questions, or just a general “how do I do this”, might never reach their expectations.
That’s not a criticism, that’s simply a fact. 88% of customers expect a response from your business within 60 minutes and a whole 30% expect to be answered within just 15 minutes.
Now that’s a pretty small window of time to answer a customer, particularly if the problem is more complex than you and/or the customer initially realized.
So, how can you solve such a problem? With a knowledge base.
In this article, I’ll take you through exactly what a knowledge base is, why it’s important (from my viewpoint as a Weglot support team member), and let you in on a few of my top tips for managing a successful one.
What is a knowledge base?
Simply put, a knowledge base is a collection of helpful documents published on your company’s website that answer the most frequently asked questions from your users.
These help documents can vary from answering simple ‘getting started’ questions, to more detailed questions, and building answers to the most common problems users generally come across.
Why do you need a knowledge base?
Actually, a knowledge base is very important for several reasons.
Primarily, it improves the user experience by providing fast answers for specific cases and scenarios, allowing the user to find answers quickly.
Secondly, it helps users to understand your product and your features – this can be before they purchase a plan or afterward. Essentially, it can be used at the beginning of the purchasing journey to answer any questions and concerns and turn a potential customer into an actual customer!
Thirdly, as a support team member, it also saves us a lot of time as we can use the articles as references to easily explain a process or a feature when we receive emails from customers.
And, a bonus reason…people actually prefer to find their own answer first!
Best practices for creating a knowledge base
Having managed the Weglot knowledge base for well over a year now, I have a few best practices that I’ve noticed along the way that help in the creation and maintaining of our knowledge base.
So, here are my 8 tips:
I’d say that the most important thing is the structure of your knowledge base. Thinking about how you can organize the different categories and subcategories to make each article visible is the first question you should ask yourself.
The idea is to facilitate a smooth navigation to reduce the time your users will take to find the solution to their problem or question.
Choosing the right knowledge base software is also essential as there are multiple options you can use that propose different features and designs depending on your need.
At Weglot we use Help Scout.
#2 Create a standardized template
The next point I have in mind is to create a template to standardize your articles. It makes the creation of new documentation easier, and it’s also a way to make sure the users know what to expect from all your documents.
Then I’d say to focus on making the articles accessible and easy to read, especially if you’re explaining something technical.
Personally, I like to explain a process with a step-by-step guide, with one image on each step to make things visual.
We’re also collaborating with our marketing team who are creating amazing videos to go alongside our support articles which we insert at the beginning of articles to give the choice to the reader.
#3 Choosing what should be on your knowledge base
This one is pretty straightforward as you can base this on the frequently asked questions coming straight to your support team.
The people talking directly with your customers are the ones that know the pain points. Once you’ve covered those topics, you can move on to the questions that aren’t as frequent, but continue to appear in your inbox.
At Weglot we also use feedback from email cases and the discussions we have with our users, and if we notice that something is not clear enough on a particular subject, we create a new article.
As I touched on briefly, the navigation is also really important, in our case, more than 90% of our articles are visited through the “related articles” section which is present at the end of each article:
This shows the most likely next questions a user will want to know, so it saves them time having to search themselves.
#5 Maintain your knowledge base
Of course, once you’ve established your knowledge base, it doesn’t end there. A great level of monitoring documents, updating them, or adding new documents will help keep your knowledge base relevant.
As we’re constantly improving our product and adding new features, we have to make sure to provide documentation for each new update.
I tend to spend around 3 hours per week on the Weglot knowledge base. It’s pretty time-consuming to create new articles and to update the existing ones but at the end of the day, it helps both our support team and the customer so that’s totally worth the time spent.
When it comes to updating documents we use feedback to learn how effective the articles are, that’s why it’s so important for us to continually discuss with our users.
We have a Slack channel dedicated to the Weglot support team where we can share the different requests and comments we receive from our users. This is particularly effective in helping me to find out when an article needs to be updated.
#6 Building customer satisfaction
Overall, I think that a knowledge base is crucial to improve customer satisfaction. We always try to anticipate the questions our users might come across when using Weglot.
Indeed, we all know how frustrating it can be when you don’t find the solution to an issue, that’s why we’re trying to provide easy solutions and quick answers through the different documents on our knowledge base.
When I joined Weglot in June 2019, we had around 1,300 visits per week to our knowledge base, this number increased over time and we now get between 3,000 and 4,000 visits a week. Naturally, this is also related to the increase in the number of users.
But, the interesting thing is that we’ve managed to maintain the number of questions that are coming from the FAQ.
In fact, thanks to Help Scout, we can see how many emails have been sent through the knowledge base pages. This number is generally around 150 cases per week despite the fact that the number of visits doubled in the last 12 months. This is very encouraging and motivates me to continue working on it!
#7 A multilingual knowledge base
Currently, we have French and English on our knowledge base. Translating it into French had a positive impact as our French users could navigate through the different articles more easily.
It also reduced the time they spent to find a solution. Naturally, it requires some manual adjustments to some translations for some technical articles but as I said, it’s always worth it to improve the user experience.
#8 Take inspiration from others: Knowledge base examples
Learning from others is always a good place to start when you’re building a knowledge base from scratch. Choosing companies that are in your industry or even those that offer completely different products can bring a lot of inspiration in terms of all the points I highlighted above.
I’ve spent some time navigating through different knowledge bases to find some ideas and some inspiration to develop Wegot’s.
For example, I try to write articles as clearly as how Stripe is doing things. I like the way the articles are written and the way the content is displayed, it makes them easy to read and the instructions easy to follow.
I’ve also found some really great ideas from the Swile FAQ pages too which are very user-friendly, especially if you need to navigate through different articles. They also use a lot of images to improve the readability of the content which is incredibly important for users.
So, ready to start your knowledge base?
It might seem daunting creating your own knowledge base, but the rewards are hugely beneficial.
Helpful content for your users and a lower number of support tickets means everyone is happy! It’s time well spent and the effort you put in will pay off in the long run.
Need any help with Weglot? Why not check out our knowledge base 😉.