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Business Philosophy

Answer Customer Questions Quicker With a Comprehensive Knowledge Base

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Answer Customer Questions Quicker With a Comprehensive Knowledge Base

If you have customers, they’re bound to have questions about your business. Even if you’re eager to answer each and every one, you might lack the bandwidth to pick up the phone and answer them. It’s a common issue in these busy times.

That’s why more and more companies are turning to knowledge bases. This guide explains what you need to know to launch one.

What Is a Knowledge Base?

A knowledge base is a centralized database used for storing and distributing information and data. It facilitates gathering, organizing, sorting, retrieving, and sharing knowledge. In short, it’s where people can go to get answers about your business.

There are two types of knowledge bases:

  1. Machine-Readable Knowledge Bases store data that can only be read and analyzed by systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI), which limits the ability to interact with them directly. Information must be passed through another system for human consumption.

  2. Human-Readable Systems store documents and data that people can directly access. They are highly interactive but may require time-consuming prompting to get answers.

What Types of Data Are in a Knowledge Base?

Ultimately, effective knowledge bases deliver valuable information to prospects and customers. The types of data and information you include are based on your reason for developing one. Common types of knowledge bases are:

  • Instructions and tips for buying and using your products and services

  • Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • Helpful content

  • Location and ordering information

  • Video demonstrations

  • Case studies

  • Company information

  • Facts and figures about different parts of the business

While most knowledge bases are focused on prospects and customers, you can also develop an internal knowledge base that includes helpful information for employees (for instance, customer service reps).

Why You Need a Knowledge Base

Here are the most common reasons companies develop knowledge bases.

Consumers Prefer Them

People today want answers, and they want them now — no searching, no phone calls (they know if they do call, they’ll probably be met with an automated voice, anyway). If a prospect or customer wants to know something about your business, most will assume they can search for an answer to their question on your website. If they can’t, they’ll likely leave disappointed.

It Improves Sales and Customer Service Efficiency

If people can get answers to their questions online, they are less likely to contact sales and customer service representatives. This allows reps to do more with less and handle more critical responsibilities.

It Is Easy and Affordable to Build

A knowledge base can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Start small by addressing the most common questions your consumers ask. Then, you can expand it from there as you discover new information your prospects and customers may want. This is a compounding win-win, as it establishes your brand as an authority in its industry while providing the most up-to-date collateral for sales reps.

How to: Build a Knowledge Base

Follow these steps to develop a knowledge base.

1. Create a List of Topics and Categories

Identify the key information your consumers need from your company while making a purchase decision. Categorize them to create an organizational framework for your knowledge base.

2. Gather Information

Collect relevant data and information to populate your knowledge base. Grab this from documentation, internal resources, and team members. Ensure the information is accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive.

3. Organize Material

Consolidate the information you collected in a single place. Remove duplicate or outdated content and figure out how to organize it so it’s easy to navigate.

4. Choose a Knowledge Base Platform

Select a user-friendly platform or software for your knowledge base. Examples include Zoho, Help Scout, and Guru. Compare features like search functionality, categorization, and tagging. The best platforms facilitate collaboration and allow team members to update them easily. This will enable the knowledge base to evolve while serving the needs of all parts of your business.

5. Promote Your Knowledge Base

Ensure your prospects and customers know about your new knowledge base by making it visible on your website and promoting it online, via email, and through social media. For internal knowledge bases, make sure employees know how to access it and, for those with credentials, edit or update it as needed.

6. Update Your Knowledge Base

Schedule regular knowledge base updates to keep it current. Nothing is more disappointing to a consumer than getting bad or no-longer-relevant information from a business. Assign a manager to oversee the maintenance of the knowledge base and empower them to bring in other team members for help as needed.

Are Your Bases Covered?

By following these steps, you can build a practical knowledge base that increases productivity, empowers employees, and serves the informational needs of prospects, customers, and employees.

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