Offering an online knowledge base is a helpful in creating a complete and effective customer service strategy. 89% of customers expect companies to offer a self-service support portal, and Forrester research determined that the most frequently used self-service platforms are knowledge bases. A strong and comprehensive online knowledge base can come in many forms: a website, FAQ, manual – even social media, or it can be a combination of multiple platforms.
What’s important when creating an online knowledge base is that you understand that it is an evolving project and should be developed with the end-user always in mind.
A well-organized knowledge base facilitates use and delivers convenience making customers more inclined to take advantage of the platform. To keep information organized and easy to navigate, layout information using specific categories and subcategories. It’s also useful to organize topics addressed in the knowledge base by the person accessing the information. For example, property managers can arrange content by roles like board of directors, owners, tenants, even vendors.
Leveraging keyword tags and hyperlinks can elevate organization and navigation. Using tags can help cross reference content to help direct users quickly to specialized information they are seeking. As content available becomes increasingly vast, it’s important to provide all the knowledge needed without complicating understanding for users and keywords is one way to mitigate confusion and convoluted text.
Tags and hyperlinks also enhance ease-of-use, allowing users to get to the page they want faster. An unofficial web creation rule, the 3 click rule, is to limit clicks necessary to getting to any page to 3 clicks or less to minimize frustration.
Mix pictures, videos, and other multimedia graphics in conjunction to text. Written text alone can be alienating. Video tutorials offer an immersive combination of words and visuals that can guide users more effectively through their support needs. Leveraging graphics can help to format information in a way that is easier to understand and apply than just plain text.
Regularly maintain information in your database with current data. Spending time on upkeeping an online knowledge base can create efficiencies and reduce costs elsewhere by increasing productivity in your customer service department by minimizing gaps in knowledge for customers.
Avoiding jargon and complicated language when there’s a simple alternative makes the content available in a knowledge base more accessible for your entire customer base. Direct statements with minimal room for misinterpretation makes it easier for users to understand the exact point or instruction you are trying to convey. When there is no simpler choice, define and clarify the context of new, complicated, or technical language to improve customers’ understanding and ensure they can get the help they expect.
As much as customers prefer to be independent, there should always be a clear path from an online knowledge base to live human assistance. It’s important to show customers that when they need more assistance than an FAQ or manual provides, a customer service representative will be there ready to assist.