This post has been contributed by ProProfs.
A knowledge base is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to capturing, managing and propagating knowledge across an organization. The reasons to employ such a solution are as numerous as the benefits of knowledge sharing themselves, especially for businesses that are always eager to learn more, keep improving, and provide better customer service.
But knowledge should never be limited to what’s happening in-house and must stretch beyond brick and mortar boundaries. Everything you’ve learned has a potential to attract, convert and delight your customers, so why not cut out the middleman and make your already copious knowledge base customer-oriented? With the right tools, this is very easy.
The following 6 tips will help you externalize your collective know-how, drive more sales, and keep your customers satisfied and engaged.
1. Manage What You Already Know
Of course, an internal knowledge base yield enormous benefits for customer-facing departments. Even if you don’t externalize it just yet, this repository of applicable resources and best practices will help your customer success teams tap into their collective know-how and provide the best service possible.
Let’s take salespeople and support representatives for example.
Both of these roles require comprehensive sets of hard and soft skills but also call for experiential knowledge that’s acquired on spot, through the everyday routine. The success of both relies on the agent’s familiarity with your products and services, customers’ behavior, and effective hands-on practices.
Most importantly, it depends on the agent’s ability to tap into what they know and come up with a solution in real time, while interacting with a customer. That’s where internal knowledge base software enters the scene, imparting all the necessary information needed for engaging the customer.
For sales agents, it means having the best conversion techniques at their fingertips, along with detailed product descriptions and benefits, and customer data that allows personalization. For support reps, it enables the same, thus eliminating frustrating wait times and reducing the volume of customer tickets.
2. Write for the Customer
Until recently, the greatest advantage of an online knowledge base was its collaborative abilities– through cloud-based knowledge management systems, companies were able to create centralized repositories of resources that could be used by all employees anytime and anywhere across devices.
In terms of knowledge management, 24/7 accessibility allowed companies to cut down the middleman and offer their knowledge directly to customers. Externalization of internal knowledge bases made way for self-service support centers, where customers come to find solutions themselves.
Today, 70% of customers expect a company’s website to include a self-service center.
Solely by granting your customers access to your knowledge base, you’re attracting new prospects for conversion; being in the aforementioned 70%, they will choose you over your competitors. At the same time, you are retaining loyal customers by adding value to your offer and existing relationships.
3. Personalize what You Offer
Everyone in business knows that personalization is the propelling force for customer engagement.
The way to achieve it through an online knowledge base is twofold. You can either integrate an internal knowledge base with a CRM system and equip your customer-facing departments with both 360-degree views of the customer and best operational practices, or leverage your knowledge base software to create the self-service center and personalize content by language, location, and preferences.
4. Create Compelling Articles
External knowledge bases don’t have to be purely informational. User manuals and FAQs can always be complemented with compelling articles that resemble blog posts in that they provide actionable solutions in consumable chunks and an entertaining fashion. It’s actually content creation 101.
Let’s say that you sell high tech gadgets. Your self-service center will need to include well-written user manuals for separate products and FAQs that tackle the common usage issues. But it may also offer inviting articles on the benefits and innovative product use cases, how-to pieces and what’s new sections.
It goes without saying that, no matter the type of knowledge base article, self-service content should always provide nothing but relevant information, through facts and actionable answers. Simply put, you’ll have to find the balance between solving your customers’ problems and capturing their interest.
Also, pay attention to structuring and overall design.
Make sure that every article enables effortless readability, which implies coherent and succinct language, relevant images and infographics, and appropriate formatting. Make them easy to find with concise headlines, keywords, and tags.
Develop a simple, but sufficient menu for seamless navigation, add a powerful search algorithm and bar, include context-sensitive help, and interlink related articles.
5. Invite Them to Participate
Every factor that contributes to customer engagement can be easily incorporated into an online knowledge base. The first is compelling content that tempts the customer to read on, and the second is a personalized, holistic approach to writing that speaks to each and every one of them individually.
But there are also conversion tricks such are CTAs and feedback sections. Both should be included at the end of each knowledge base article. The first is there to convince the reader to buy a product or service, and the other to engage readers in a discussion and help you gain insight into their needs and wants.
6. Keep Your Base Up to Date
Finally, make sure that your self-service center, and the internal knowledge base that it’s built upon are always up to date. The information they provide should be continually tweaked and improved, current and applicable. Choose the best knowledge base software and a great manager to maintain it.
Building a knowledge base that’s both helpful and engaging is not the easiest thing in the knowledge management book, so try to equip yourself not only with reliable tools and practices but also with time, patience and commitment. The more you are engaged, the more your customers will be too.
Author Bio: Robin Singh is a Technical Support Executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various Knowledgebase tools. Currently, he is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs.