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The Dos and Don’ts of Establishing a Customer Service Knowledge Base

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A knowledge base has emerged as a must-have for customer-facing organizations today. Don’t believe us? Here’s what the data tells us about its growing importance and 360-degree benefits:

  • Customers love it: According to Forrester, customers prefer the knowledge base over other channels of self-service. Another study by Social media today claims that a staggering 91% of customers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs.”
  • Reduces support calls and boosts traffic: As per research by the CRM Magazine, 45% of organizations that offer web or mobile self-service options witnessed a boost in website traffic and a reduction in phone inquiries. Further research by HBR claims that “Improving your Help section can reduce the number of calls by 5%.”
  • Unlimited scope: According to Gartner, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI by 2021–an increase of 400% from 2017.

Clearly, businesses that do not develop a comprehensive and robust knowledge base will be at a competitive disadvantage going forward. To that end, let’s look at how you can build a knowledge base– one that:

  • Empowers your customers to self-serve
  • And literally takes over some of the repetitive and routine tasks that your CX team is typically burdened with–leaving them with valuable time to focus on looking after disgruntled customers.

Top 3 Dos for Establishing a Robust Knowledge Base Software

1. Review and update the knowledge base regularly

Let’s set the record straight: An outdated knowledge base is worse than not having one at all. This means no hyperlinks to a dead-end, no outdated instructions or imagery, no typos, you get the drift, right? Lyft’s knowledge base page uses a “Tips” section to assist drivers in creating a better customer experience. What makes it interesting is the use of updated videos and blogs that offer readers a visually- and textually-enriching experience:

The whole point of using a knowledge base tool is to offer accurate and real-time support to customers–which is only possible if the information that’s been integrated is updated constantly. In other words, if your products and services are constantly being updated, your knowledge base too will require regular upkeep.

Pro tip: Make sure to do regular surprise audits of your knowledge base to find out which pages are most visited and which ones are least visited to make iterations accordingly.

2. Use chatbot and live chat for real-time support

The use of conversational AI, a.k.a, chatbots, and live chat can not only replicate the customer-agent experience but also enhance it. How so? Here are three compelling reasons:

  • Chatbots can work 24×7, assisting your customers and pointing them in the right direction without taking any sick leaves, casual leaves, coffee breaks, and so on.
  • Live chat and chatbots can offer instant, contextual, and reliable support, eliminating the need for customers to “hold the line” or “wait in the queue” to resolve their queries. This also reduces the customer’s frustration and makes the experience more positive, as Yoast’s knowledge base demonstrates below:
  • These ‘intelligent’ AI tools can personalize the customer experience by offering relevant suggestions and providing contextual support.

3. Keep your brand positioning in mind

Your knowledge base should align with your company’s branding–this includes the content tone, style, and voice. 

You should also pay close attention to the smaller details such as formatting, the kind of imagery being used, etc., to provide users with a consistent experience. Asana’s knowledge base is an excellent example to consider:

Here’s a helpful process to get you started:

Step 1: Write the content by factoring in the visuals and graphics you want to use.

Step 2: Think about segregating your content into neat and organized categories so that the information seems logically placed, not chaotically.

Step 3: If the information seems too overwhelming, start with the basics and then move onto the more advanced topics. 

Step 4: Keep updating your knowledge base as your company evolves to ensure that it is always up-to-date.

Voila, you have an intuitive knowledge base ready!

Top 4 Don’ts for Establishing a Robust Knowledge Base Software

1. Say goodbye to industry jargon

Nobody likes to read jargon-heavy content–much less your time-pressed customers. In other words, keep the language easy-to-digest and simple to the extent possible:

If your content centers around complex topics that are difficult to dumb down, include credible third-party links or short videos to explain the concept.

2. Do not make login mandatory for use

Along similar veins as the last point, assume that your customers need the information ‘yesterday’ and build a knowledge base that works overtime to provide users all the data they need right away. This, of course, includes doing away with the whole song and dance about logging into the account. 

As a thumb rule, make sure that your knowledge base is freely accessible to anyone and everyone, on-the-go.

3. Don’t engage in data dumping

Repeat after us: When it comes to deciding what kind of data you’ll want to use for your knowledge base, quality wins over quantity any day. While it may sound tempting to simply dump topic after topic that you think your users might find useful, it can leave them annoyed, or worse, overwhelmed mid-way. So make sure to structure the content you’re going to use and ensure that it is as user-friendly as it can get. Additionally, a logically structured knowledge base–complete with relevant categories and collections– is also easier to maintain and navigate. Take a look at Canva’s knowledge base for some serious inspiration:

At the end of the day, you want customers to save time and get answers upfront instead of fishing for answers in a maze-like knowledge base.  

4. Don’t overshadow your support options

Companies that try to hide critical support options such as contact number, email address, social media links, etc. within their knowledge base invite unnecessary moments of friction and frustration in the customer’s user experience. 

The more you are upfront about offering relevant support options to your customers, the more seamless and superior their experience will be–as Dyson’s knowledge base page demonstrates below:

Companies can also create QR codes for use in product packaging or on the product, linking to the customer knowledge base for an improved user experience. 

Closing Thoughts

If growth is your business’ true North Star, you cannot hope to scale your CX support without an in-depth knowledge base. The end goal is to provide your customers with real-time, relevant information at the right time and as conveniently as possible. This is where a knowledge base truly shines.

Today’s customers are wired for instant gratification and getting immediate and accurate support for common problems relating to your product/business should be no exception. So follow these best practices outlined above and take your customer experience to newer heights, without driving your business into the ground.

About the author


Ashwini Dave

Ashwini is passionate about Business, Entrepreneurship, E-commerce, emerging technology and Digital Marketing. She is working with Acquire as a digital marketing expert. She is a free soul and adventurous scholar who spends her free time with herself, loved once, music, as well as watching & playing sports. She is ocean addicted and on roads being a thrill-seeking traveler to get new experiences as she looks at life as our very own works of art.