How to create a solid knowledge base?
What I like about self-service support channel - it works both external and internal way. One part of your base can be tailored (and visible) to your clients, while another part can be written specifically for your support reps. Thus you will create a solid resource to educate both customers and inexperienced support agents.

The knowledge base may include:

  • FAQ section
  • Forums for users to ask and answer questions (where your support reps can also be active)
  • Articles, video guides, whitepapers, case studies and other helpful (potentially downloadable) content
  • Troubleshooting and how-to section
  • A dictionary with technical or industry terms

Where to start
You start building your knowledge base from most popular questions and known issues, gradually expanding the range of topics covered. All articles should be logically categorized and tagged for easy browsing. This part is important - no one will read your knowledge base if it reminds maze of the minotaur.

To further improve user experience, add a search field so customers can easily find related material. Sometimes they don't feel like going through all the cool stuff that took 100500 sleepless nights and twice as many litres of coffee to finish. This tool needs to be extensively tested though. To make the search function even more helpful, you can add a chat option to each search. If visitors can't find a particular material, your agents are ready to help (or at least find out what you forgot to include despite all caffeine consumed).

Several important rules of a user-friendly knowledge base:

1. Keep it simple
The simpler your troubleshooting is, the easier the whole problem appears (which is an important moment). And inexperienced users have no problems going through all the steps.

2. Use marked lists
Bullet list greatly helps to understand and sort out new information.

3. Be careful with links
Excessive links distract people from the main topic. So whenever you write a text, be sure to include all relevant information and skip link spam. If you can - avoid external links. It's usually a good practice to chain relevant articles together at the end of your text, but that's about it.

4. Make it visual
Provide meaningful demos, videos, screenshots and such to empower your text with informative visual info.

5. Update timely
Remove obsolete content and keep information up to date.

How to improve
There are several ways to find ideas for your knowledge improvement.

1. Capture feedback
Ask your visitors if the information helpful or not after they read your article.

2. Place a reporting plugin
Give your readers an opportunity to fill in a quick feedback on your text, whether it is a typo or an opinion.

3. Utilize Google Analytics
You can look at Google Analytics data to find what kind of searches your visitors were doing using the search bar. To track that, you need to add a special parameter to a search results address. Thanks to this trick GA is able to pick up all the queries.

Metrics you can adopt to measure your knowledge base performance
Useful percentage metrics that can help you measure your knowledge base:
  • % of returning visitors to knowledge base
  • % of searches with relevant results
  • % of searches without relevant results
  • % of visits from search engines to company knowledge base

Useful average metrics to consider:
  • Page views per visit
  • Time on one support page
  • Cost of live chat with an agent

Useful absolute metrics you can calculate:
  • Bounce rate
  • Positively / negatively rated articles
  • Self-service / live chat rate
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