10 tips for creating a knowledge base
Efficient support thanks to well-managed knowledge database
A company’s knowledge can be scattered in countless places. A knowledge base allows the central gathering, organization, storage, and sharing of information. It is a kind of digital library, accessible to all departments and customers.
Such a knowledge base contains, among other things, how-to articles that can be used to solve tasks and problems on one’s own. An example would be the standard procedure for a certain incident. In addition to how-to articles, knowledge bases contain frequently asked questions (FAQs), general information on industry-specific topics and terms, guidelines, support processes, and product details.
Why are knowledge bases important for your service management?
Your knowledge base will relieve your support team, as many issues can now be resolved by customers or employees themselves. If a request (ticket) is still received, the database can be quickly referenced in the response. It is not necessary to write a unique answer every time to a request that has already been made or is very similar. This boosts efficiency enormously.
As we use more and more different systems due to digitalization, more complex business processes as well as remote work and are not physically located in one place, information is also more distributed. High levels of fluctuation in the modern working world also mean that know-how and experience are getting lost. Customers are also becoming increasingly accustomed to being able to complete tasks themselves online. They don’t want to have to contact support or customer service for every question with a company or government agency and depend on business hours. A well-managed knowledge base provides access to information and help regardless of time or location. To help you build your database, we share our knowledge.
Our tips for your knowledge base
Tip 1: Thorough collection
A good knowledge base thrives on its completeness: list all important terms and products, as well as every problem that has occurred more than once. Not only support, but all departments of your company will be involved in the data collection and share your best practices.
Tip 2: Clarity
For a knowledge database to be efficient, content must be quickly findable and relevant. The inclusion of a search function that not only throws up exactly matching results, but also similar ones, is therefore essential. To achieve this, all entries must be named correctly and meaningfully. In addition to the headline, keywords or tags should be used. Even without a keyword search, it must be possible to find the right article based on its topic. This is made possible by structured menus, meaningful (sub)categories, subheadings, short paragraphs and tables.
Tip 3: Simplicity
A knowledge base is not only used by experts. Therefore, make sure to explain important terms and do not lose sight of your target audience when designing your content. Use simple, understandable sentences and wording in all texts. Instructions should be divided into small steps. More in-depth information should only be found further down or behind additional links. Explanatory videos, screenshots and images also help.
Tip 4: More than just an encyclopedia
The explanation of relevant words from your industry and related to your product is necessary. However, the system is more than an encyclopedia. More important are the detailed help with specific questions and practical instructions in case of problems. Think of a FAQ collection including less frequently asked questions.
Tip 5: Consider your branding
A knowledge base can work without branding; it all depends on its content. Nevertheless, the database gives you the chance to reinforce your branding. Therefore, pay attention to corporate design and wording. This could be relevant for the acceptance of your knowledge base.
Tip 6: Always up to date and capable of feedback
Knowledge databases are not created once and then finished. They need continual improvement and updating. This is also a central guiding principle of the ITIL® standard—the best practice catalog for good and efficient service management. A rating system such as the one you are familiar with from web shops would be possible for this purpose: Knowledge base articles can either be rated with a star system or recommended to others with a kind of like/dislike function. With this feedback, those responsible also know directly which article should be revised in terms of content. Your support team should regularly and actively add new topics or solutions to the knowledge base.
Tip 7: Mobile use optimization
Pay attention to a responsive design already during the creation. This means that the database is correctly displayed and usable on a wide variety of devices and formats (PC, tablet, smartphone). This includes not only reading entries, but also editing them—because support is needed immediately and from anywhere.
Tip 8: Knowledge base as the foundation for chatbots and AI
There are many requests where an already phrased answer is sufficient. This answer can be issued by a chatbot. If you collect a lot of data and requests and query the usefulness of the answer, the content of the knowledge base can later be supported by artificial intelligence. It suggests potentially correct answers depending on data training. Human support should still be available for particularly complex and individual requests.
Tip 9: Easy access and clarified responsibilities
Optimize your entire knowledge management so that customers are no longer passed from one support employee to the next. In addition, the database should be freely and easily accessible to all users; this will reduce the number of tickets you have to deal with—also make sure that it is as barrier-free as possible. It’s better to store confidential data in a different location or make it accessible only to certain roles or user groups.
Tip 10: The right knowledge base software
Professional support is made easier with the right software. Do you want to use a knowledge base that can be used out of the box without having to program it yourself? Would you also like to improve your overall (IT) service management, relieve your support team, and thus save valuable resources? OMNITRACKER IT Service Management Center includes a scalable service management module for knowledge management. This allows you to bundle and make optimal use of your existing knowledge.