Welcome to part two of our Digital Transformation for Customer Support series! If you missed any of our other installments, check them out here: Driving Digital Channel Adoption, Adopting Self-Service as a Strategy, and Shifting from Reactive to Proactive Support.
They say knowledge is power, and this is especially true in customer support operations.
Top-performing support agents are praised for their ability to provide speedy, effective solutions – and those solutions rely on fast access to up-to-date internal knowledge.
So, what’s the best way to ensure your agents have in-depth knowledge about your products and procedures at their fingertips? By building a robust internal knowledge base.
In this post, we’ll help you transform your customer support operations through the creation of an organized, informative internal knowledge base.
We’ll explore the benefits of internal knowledge, how to get started and keep your content up-to-date, and provide tips for optimizing your internal knowledge operations.
Why Your Support Team Needs an Internal Knowledge Base
If your agents are constantly scrambling to find answers to support questions, it’s impossible to deliver positive customer experiences. The longer it takes to locate information related to the support issue, the more your backlog builds up, the slower your customers receive support, and the more frustrated your agents feel.
Creating an internal knowledge base has a positive impact on every aspect of your support operations. Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific benefits.
1. Faster Resolutions
Giving your agents instant access to everything they could possibly need to know about your product means (almost) instant support resolutions for your customers. A searchable, up-to-date internal knowledge base empowers your support team to deliver helpful answers and relevant information in record time.
2. Higher FCR Rate
Your team’s first contact resolution (FCR) rate will improve with the creation of an internal knowledge base. Why? Because it enables support agents to quickly find and provide effective, complete solutions to each customer’s issue.
Rather than offering a partial solution based on some quick troubleshooting, your agents will have direct access to all information related to the reported issues. Not only will they be able to resolve the original issue, but they’ll also be able to recognize and proactively address other potential problems that could be related to the initial issue.
3. Greater Efficiency
When your support agents can provide solutions more quickly, they can solve a greater volume of support tickets during the same amount of time. The result is a reduced backlog, shorter customer wait times, and an increase in the overall efficiency for your support operations.
Plus, individual employees will improve their understanding of your product and support solutions by reading articles in the internal knowledge base – which means they’ll eventually be able to handle more questions without even looking up the answers.
4. Increased Customer Satisfaction
An internal knowledge base makes it easier for your agents to provide a consistent level of customer service. No matter who a customer speaks to or how many times they call back with follow-up questions, they’ll receive quick, reliable information and answers.
5. Better Retention Rates
An added benefit to boosting customer satisfaction is that you’ll also see a rise in customer loyalty. The more helpful your support agents are, the more likely your customers are to trust your business and keep coming back for future purchases.
In fact, a survey by PwC found that 46% of consumers would stop doing business with a company due to an employee’s lack of knowledge – and 32% would drop a company they love after just one bad experience. The survey also revealed that over half (52%) of customers would happily pay more to receive faster, more efficient support. And 41% would pay extra for knowledgeable, helpful customer service agents.
6. Less Training, More Knowledge
An internal knowledge base allows you to spend less time and resources training your support agents – without sacrificing support quality or agent knowledge. That’s because everyone on your team can refer to the knowledge base for everything they need to know about a particular issue – whether they just need to clarify something or are completely unfamiliar with the topic.
How to Get Started: Creating Your Own Internal Knowledge Base
Creating your own internal knowledge base is a huge undertaking. So, if you’re not sure where to start, that’s okay! It’s much easier to tackle if you break it down into manageable steps.
If you’re starting a new knowledge base from scratch, the first thing you should do is make a list of topics to include. The second thing you should do is organize topics by priority, so you can create the most important articles in your knowledge base first.
But how do you decide which topics you should start with? To make sure you cover all your bases in terms of support topics and common issues, spend some time talking with your agents. They’ll be able to tell you about the most frequent questions and problems they encounter.
If your agent can’t think of many topics off the top of their head, you can also take a peek at their search history. This is an easy way to brainstorm content for your knowledge base because it gives you direct insight into what they search for most often along with how they search for it. You can also review support emails and live chat transcripts to look for common themes and popular questions.
If you’re updating an existing internal knowledge base, do a quick search for the topic you’re planning to write about – it might already be covered in another article. In this case, you have the option to either update the article with new information or add a link to a new article if the old one isn’t specific enough.
Of course, if you search the knowledge base and can’t find anything related to your topic, you’ll want to create a new article – or even series of articles, depending on the subject – to ensure the knowledge base complete.
Tips for Writing Helpful Knowledge Base Articles
- Balance brevity with detail. Keep your articles concise but be descriptive when listing specific steps or processes that must be taken.
- Include keywords in the title so that your agents can locate the article with a simple search.
- Use plain language and spellcheck. Your article won’t show up in relevant search results if there’s a typo in the title or keywords.
- Include helpful visual elements. Relevant videos, graphics, and screenshots can supplement a text-heavy article – and help the reader understand the topic and solution more quickly.
- Link out to similar topics or additional resources. In the interest of keeping your articles well-structured and on topic, you might want to include links to other articles that cover similar or related subjects.
Best Practices for an Optimized Internal Knowledge Base
1. Your Knowledge Base Should be Searchable
First and foremost, your support team needs to be able to search for the information they’re looking for. Your internal knowledge base should include a search bar that allows users to search by topic, customer question, or specific phrases.
2. Make Sure the Content Is Easy to Navigate
Even with a search function, it’s important to keep your articles organized by category and tagged with keywords. If a topic falls into more than one category, include all relevant tags so that the article shows up regardless of how your support agents search for it.
3. Provide a Template for Article Creation
Whenever someone needs to create a new article, they should be able to input the information directly into the template fields. This saves time and keeps your articles structurally organized. Your template should include a title field, the question being asked, any relevant keywords, and a detailed answer or step-by-step solution.
4. Update Articles on a Regular Basis
We’ve already talked about the need to add new articles from time to time – but sometimes old articles need to be removed or rewritten.
Occasionally, a team member might stumble across an outdated article and make a note that it should be updated with new information. However, the bigger your knowledge base, the more likely it is that outdated content will fly under the radar – which can mean some of your agents are providing inaccurate information to customers.
To remedy this, make an effort to review your content on a regular basis. Break the task down by category and include a ‘last updated’ date so you know when the most recent changes were made.
Transform Your Support Operations with a Powerful Internal Knowledge Base
Building an internal knowledge base requires careful planning and dedication – but the long-term benefit is certainly worth the short-term effort. With knowledge of your company’s product and support operations at their fingertips, every agent on your support team will be empowered to provide faster, consistent, helpful support that inspires customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Continue reading the digital transformation series: Part 3: Self-Service Support as a Strategy