How To Make A Self-Service Knowledge Base for Customer Success

When faced with an issue, we all want instant, or very timely, solutions. Whether in life or in business, customers expect a quick resolution. Building a self-service knowledge base for customers can drastically reduce customer support ticket volume and customer wait times, ultimately creating happier customers.

Zight | April 22, 2022 | 6 min read time

How To Make A Self-Service Knowledge Base for Customer Success

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When faced with an issue, we all want instant, or very timely, solutions. Whether in life or in business, customers expect a quick resolution. Building a self-service knowledge base for customers can drastically reduce customer support ticket volume and customer wait times, ultimately creating happier customers.

Think about the last time you needed to solve a problem at home or in your daily life and you wanted to fix it. Let’s say you need to change a tire on your vehicle. What would be the first step? Most likely you would do a quick search on “how to change a tire” and watch the first relevant video that pops up so that you can follow along to solve your issue. There is a reason that “how to” is in the top four most popular categories on YouTube.

This same concept can be applied to your business and can be a valuable part of your customer support strategy. Creating a knowledge base that allows customers 

How to Build a Self-Service Knowledge Base to Encourage Customer Success

What’s the difference between a decent knowledge base and a stellar one? The content quality.

If you want to create an awesome knowledge base, you need to invest time and effort to write articles that hit the nail on the head, and give customers the info they really need.

Double down and research; talk to your customers, and find out what their pain points are. Once you have identified the pain points, you can start thinking about how you can solve these problems and reduce support tickets.

For example, if a customer is having trouble finding what they are looking for, then you can make sure that your website is well-organized so that it is easy for them to find what they are looking for.

If a customer is having trouble with checkout, then you can make sure that your checkout process is as simple as possible so that they don’t get frustrated.

10 Best Practices for Creating a Customer Self-Service Knowledge Base

1. Use Clear Titles

The title of your article is the first thing that people see when they visit your knowledge base. It’s also the most important factor in determining whether or not someone will read your article.

So, make sure that your titles are clear and descriptive. Use keywords that describe what your article is about. And don’t forget to include the name of your company or product in the title as well.

2. Write for Humans, Not Search Engines

It’s tempting to write for search engines instead of humans. But this type of content is often unreadable. If you go for SEO, you often end up with content that doesn’t answer any questions and doesn’t actually help anyone solve their problems. Instead, focus on writing for humans who have real problems and need real solutions. This means that you’ll have to do research, and ask your real customers questions so you can get real information trends to correlate to your knowledge base.

3. Use Headings and Subheadings

When writing an article, use headings and subheadings to break up the text into smaller sections. This will make it easier for people to scan through your article and find the information they need quickly.

4. Include a Table of Contents

If you have a lot of content on your knowledge base, consider adding a table of contents at the top of each page. This will help visitors quickly navigate through your articles without having to scroll down every time they want to access the most relevant information.

5. Make Sure Your Articles are Unique

You don’t want duplicate content showing up in search engines, so make sure that each article is unique. You can do this by using different keywords in each article or by including unique images and videos throughout the article. If you use WordPress, there are plugins like Yoast SEO that can help you check for duplicate content.

6. Optimize for Easy Reading

Most readers initially skim an article. They look at headers and clear text so they can get the gist of the content. You can give your readers the best reading experience by: 

Writing compelling headings and subheadings. By calling out the main points, readers can easily identify what information is most relevant to them, without having to read in detail. 

Embedding links to related articles. This helps readers find related content and obtain more information on the topic.

7. Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

Social media is one of the best ways to promote your content. The key here is to create engaging posts that will encourage people to click on your link and read your article. You can do this by:

Creating a catchy post title that will make people want to click on it. For example, “10 Ways To Boost Your Productivity” or “How To Get A Job Without Going To College” are better than “Productivity Tips” or “Job Opportunities”.

Including a compelling image in your post that will catch the eye of your audience. For example, include a picture of a person using the product or service you are promoting in real-life situations. 

8. Encourage Collaborative Content 

Content written alone is only going to go so far in its ability to help customers solve problems. The quality of the knowledge lessens. Make sure to reach out to your team members–across the organization–to incorporate applicable subject matter experts. 

When individuals come together and share internal knowledge, the writing provides more value to the customer. As you work on writing knowledge base articles to reduce support tickets, make sure you bring together as many minds as you can.

For example, content writers can work with the product development team to understand the new features and how they can be explained in the simplest language. The marketing team can also contribute by providing information about the latest updates on the company or industry trends. In this way, you can create a knowledge base that is not only informative but also up-to-date and relevant.

9. Use Visuals to Make Your Content More Engaging

Here’s where gif creation and screen recording software like Zight (formerly CloudApp) really shines as far as improving the value add of your Knowledge Base is concerned. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This means that when you use images, gifs and tutorials in your articles, you are able to convey more information in less time.

Visuals help break the monotony and make reading more interesting. They also help readers retain more information because they have something to look at while reading.

Visuals are not just limited to images; infographics are also an excellent way of presenting data in a visual format. Infographics are popular on social media and often go viral because they are easy to share and remember.

10. Collect Customer Feedback

Gathering feedback is an important step when creating knowledge base articles. At the most basic level, you need to know what information is missing from your Knowledge Base. Knowledge Base articles can quickly expire due to a new feature or redesign. Even though technically your Knowledge Base article is technically still accurate, it will appear outdated and make the customer doubt that the information is relevant or up to date. 

The purpose of feedback is to understand what customers like and what they don’t, so you can refine the articles accordingly. 

There are many ways to collect feedback. Most knowledge base solutions come with feedback features built into the tool or application. For example, at the end of an article, there is often a section for readers to click a thumbs up or a thumbs down to signal whether the article is useful or not. Some solutions feature a “contact us” section to encourage customers who haven’t gotten their answer to submit a separate ticket. When you get enough tickets around a certain topic, that’s probably a good sign that you have a hole in your knowledge base.

The best customer success strategies shouldn’t be a secret.  Download Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s free eBook, How To Deliver Incredible Customer Support Experiences to see some of the SaaS industry’s best examples of customer success strategy at work.

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