In the modern commercial world, organization, data access and utilization are all key components to maximizing success and a knowledge base enables them all. Companies with a knowledge base are able to make the most of their data by providing access to those who are likely to benefit the most. This may be customers looking for data around challenges regarding your proposition or employees trying to enhance their capabilities to serve a customer need. Whatever the case, a knowledge base can significantly improve your organization’s support capabilities while reducing the cost of delivery.
What Is a Knowledge Base?
Put simply, a knowledge base is an information repository designed to store high-value data in order to optimize it’s availability and value to your business and your customers. By centralizing critical business information in a single easy-to-access system, employees and customers alike can find the information they need to solve their problems. This is particularly useful in helping customers to help themselves and for organizations with a large customer support demand.
Why Is It Useful?
A knowledge base can give your customers access to critical information that can help solve their problems quickly and conveniently. With a public knowledge base, your customers can skip the need to contact you for assistance and help themselves. This not only reduces the resources required to deliver good customer support, but also strengthens your brand positioning and reduces the cost of support delivery.
How to Build a Knowledge Base
Your knowledge base can be a fundamental asset within your organization, helping both your customers and employees do more with less. But in order to tap into these benefits, it’s essential it’s built in a way that is beneficial to all parties.
Here are the steps you need to consider when building your knowledge base.
1. Decide on the Core Elements of Your Knowledge Base
Before doing anything, you first need to think about the fundamentals of your knowledge base. What is its primary objective? What information do you need in order to fulfill this goal? How will you find this information? These are all questions that will dictate how you go about building the foundations of your knowledge base. Until you have answers, you can’t start building. Strategy lies at the heart of any good knowledge base and so it’s critical you do the early planning to maximize it’s long-term value and ensure it achieves the objective.
2. Decide Which Topics to Include (Or at Least Start With) and Why
Once you have an idea of what you want your knowledge base to achieve, you need to choose the key topics you want to start with. It’s likely your knowledge base will cover a large are of information and so it makes good sense to choose a focal point to begin.
3. Agree on the Structure of the Content
Before the writing phase, it’s important to develop consistency wherever possible and ensure documentation follows similar layouts, conventions and tones. Achieving consistency throughout documentation can be difficult when it’s being compiled by multiple stakeholders, but it’s important to avoid a mishmash of documentation to help users navigate and get familiar with individuals docs. This is where structure comes in, it’s essential there is a commonly agreed way of producing and presenting information within the system. This needs to extent to everything, from the way the content is written, all the way through to the taxonomy and how it is tagged. Remember, the information within needs to be clear and easy to find to maximize the benefits it delivers.
4. Write the Content
With an idea on the priorities of the knowledge base, an appreciation for the topics you’ll be covering and an understanding on how the information needs to be recorded and presented, you’re ready to start writing the content. Armed with all the key information, the writing should be simple as there should be a clear appreciation for what information is required, how it should be recorded and where.
Once it’s written, it should be corroborated by a 3rd party to ensure there are no mistakes and that it’s factually correct and align with company ideology.
5. Add Visuals
Making your knowledge base as engaging as possible is key to maximizing its value. It should not be a chore to use and so adding visuals can be key to breaking up large chunks of text and providing information via a different channel. Remember, not everyone learns in the same way, so offering visuals to support written information will maximize the coverage and value derived from your assets.
6. Analyze and Improve
Your knowledge base is a long-term asset and so improvements will be fundamental to its long term value. For such an essential resource, it’s important that it’s regularly evaluated and analyzed what works well, and what doesn’t. This helps to prioritize resources and identify the content that delivers the greatest value.
The Benefits of a Knowledge Base
With a fully functional knowledge base working in your organization, you’ll be able to take advantage of significant opportunities that can have a real impact on your bottom line:
Reduce Support Resources Required
With a knowledge base in your business, your customers will be able to find the key information they’re looking for without reaching out to your support team. This means you’ll require less support resources, and those you do have can focus on more value-added opportunities.
Help Identify Internal Skill and Information Gaps
With the majority of critical information around key topics gathered into a single location, you’ll be able to identify gaps within your business that may be impacting your ability to deliver your proposition or your offer good customer support.
Give Customers Access to Information Quickly and Conveniently (Self-Serve)
More than ever, customers want to find information on their own, they will only reach out as a last resort. A knowledge base directly meets this need by providing a fully searchable database of information that customers can explore quickly and conveniently.
Help Upskill Your Workforce and Improve the Onboarding Process
When it comes to bringing new staff into your organisation, you need the resources to help them understand how you operate and what they need to know. Your knowledge base can be that resource. This helps to not only integrate them into the business, but also upskill them in the way the business needs them to work.
How to Create a Knowledge Base Summary
- Decide on the core elements
- Determine which topics to write about and why
- Agree on the structure of the content
- Write the content
- Add visuals
- Analyze and improve over time
By following these steps, you’ll have the foundation for a knowledge base that helps you to capture, store, manage and utilize key data within your business. This will not only help your optimize the value of key internal information, but also ensure the right information can be seen by your customers, when they need it most.
Remember, with a fully functioning knowledge base in your organisation, you can maximize the value of your internal information for your customers and employees alike.