What is it?

A knowledge base is a central hub for your help articles and marketing materials (like an FAQ section, a community forum, blog posts, videos, case studies, ebooks). All that adds up to a library of information about your product or services.

Michael Redbord, HubSpot’s VP of Services & Support, recommends dedicating a full-time person to building that knowledge base and providing customer-education support. 

Maybe that person is you?

What problems does a knowledge base solve?

People don’t want to call you

No offence, but customers would rather search their question online and get an immediate solution than pick up the phone;

70%* of customers prefer to use a company’s website to get answers to their questions rather than use phone or email to contact the customer service department (Source: Forrester).

They want to help themselves as much as possible and will turn to support reps only when they have exhausted all other avenues. It makes sense to provide them with the appropriate resources to help them accomplish this goal. 

Long customer waiting times

The last thing customers want is to wait on hold for a customer service rep to be free to tackle their problem, especially if it is a straight-forward question.

Having a reservoir of resources in your knowledge base will help customers avoid this by helping them find answers and solve problems on their own. With people solving their problems themselves, your lines free up and people have to wait less. 

All around great customer service.  

Different answers from different places

The last thing you want is to confuse people looking for support with different answers. If someone continues the conversation with your brand on another channel but gets a different answer, it’s going to cause more frustration. 

A knowledge base acts as one source of truth by ensuring customers and reps rely on a consistent source of knowledge. It ensures customers don’t receive different information from a contact centre, an agent on chat or any other touch point—or when speaking to multiple employees. 

Knowledge is lost when experienced reps leave

Experienced employees leave and take with them years of institutional knowledge.

New hires have to get up to speed quickly but continuing with the same level of experience and knowledge is near impossible. 

Agree with it or not, people are changing jobs more than ever before

Unfortunately, failing to retain and transfer institutional knowledge has real consequences on the quality of your customer service. Newer reps can’t answer queries at the first instance and have to pass customers onto someone familiar with the problem, adding a lot of frustration for the customer. They don’t want to wait on hold just to get transferred and wait on hold again. 

This is especially true for niche or technical industries where the continuity of knowledge is difficult.

Documenting an expert's knowledge in a knowledge base is how you secure that information and experience long-term, and gives reps a library of resources to assist them in solving problems on the first customer touch point.

Example / Case Study:

Amazon

Amazon is the current king of customer service. After all, you don't grow into an enormous e-commerce empire without knowing how to please the people. 

Amazon customer service succeeds partly because it has an incredibly detailed help centre (knowledge base) which lets you find your own solutions. Under the bonnet, there are thousands of articles, but the surface experience is easy-to-manage, visually appealing and continues Amazon’s shopping experience where users search by category. 

As connectivity became global, immediacy became vital. Amazon understands this. Their streamlined paths save shoppers time and lets them quickly solve minor problems without any friction. 

Anonymous