It turns out the disgruntled call-center employee is getting a much-needed break. In 2021, customers are choosing self-service options like knowledge bases, help centers and chatbots above all else. We're using self-checkout at the grocery store and opting to check-in via an app or digital kiosk for a flight. We're relying on help centers to troubleshoot complex software problems and using chatbots to track lost packages. Wherever you turn, self-service options are on the rise. Research shows that 81% of customers will try self-service options before reaching out to a human being for help.
And while self-service options were increasing in popularity before the events of last year, it's become more than a nice-to-have. We've lost an entire communication channel with face-to-face customer service, and other options have had to fill the gap.
There is a whole range of self-service solutions available, but we're going to argue that one of the most important is the knowledge base. A knowledge base is a self-service online library of information. Think about it as an online encyclopedia of your product and services. A knowledge base can be a powerful tool for many reasons.
Here are the six biggest reasons why you should consider building a knowledge base.
1. Customers expect quick and easy access to information
Easy, quick access to information is no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity. Increasingly, customers want to be experts in the products and services they purchase. And this doesn't just stop at the time of purchase. Customers want deep insight into the product and access to knowledge about the production processes, troubleshooting, planned development and more.
A knowledge base can provide all of this information in a single, easily searchable repository. And it can be accessed by the customer whenever they need it without having to worry about business hours. It provides the right, contextual information at the right time for the customer.
2. A knowledge base can significantly reduce costs
Last year, web self-service dethroned phone service as the most commonly used communication channel. This is not only a big win for overstretched customer service teams but also your budget.
Staffing and maintaining a call center or a significant customer-facing team can be extremely costly, and when they're answering common, frequently asked questions, it's a poor use of time. A knowledge base can be the first point of contact for customers providing quick answers to questions, troubleshooting tips, and, of course, the humble FAQ.
3. It's a learning tool for new (and existing) staff
A knowledge base isn't just for customers. It can also be an excellent resource for both new and old employees. It's an excellent resource for all employees to use whenever they need clarification or help. HR can pull information from the knowledge base for onboarding tools and training. And new employees can use it as a resource and guide for the early weeks of their job.
4. A knowledge base unifies your information and improves consistency
There's nothing more frustrating for a customer than contacting support and getting two different answers from two different people. Inconsistencies can damage a customer's experience and, ultimately, a company's credibility.
Creating a knowledge base is the perfect time to implement consistency across your organization. It's a time to standardize common definitions, agree on best practices and solidify support solutions.
5. It gives you useful insights into what your customers are looking for
A knowledge base can be a gold mine of information about what your customers want and need. By analyzing search data and page hits, you have access to the information your customers are looking for, and you can use it to improve your product, shape your support materials and guide your content.
For example, if your customers are consistently referencing the knowledge base for help downloading and implementing an app, it might make a good step-by-step blog post.
6. A knowledge base prevents knowledge loss
While not the main purpose of a knowledge base, a nice benefit of keeping information in a single repository is that you're not losing information to team siloes or rapid growth. A knowledge base keeps a record of your changing company, charting its growth, expansion and all of its iterations.
Want more information about why a knowledge base is critical to winning the customer? Download our free whitepaper, Why knowledge base content is critical to winning the customer experience battle.