How to Build a Knowledge Base that Empowers Customers

Take these 5 steps to create a valuable self-service option for customers

January 2021 - 3 minutes

A comprehensive knowledge base empowers customers to find the information they need quickly. It may include frequently asked questions (FAQs), user forums, a glossary, troubleshooting, how-tos, articles, case studies, and even cover common issues and offer step-by-step guidance. And since customers help themselves, agents are able to devote their time to more complex issues rather than repeat issues.

Below are the five essential steps to building a knowledge base for your customers.

Step 1: Review your data before building a knowledge base

Ensure you’re focused on the right customer questions and pain points. Make sure to represent a diverse range of vantage points in your initial research, planning, and design process.

Consult your customer service agents to understand the questions and issues they encounter the most. Check your keyword search volume to see what service-related terms come up frequently, such as “return policy” or “shipping options.” Review all digital channels, social media, and other feedback areas to ensure you see the full breadth of customer concerns.

Focus on building a knowledge base that tackles the needs of the greatest number of people. You can start by defining your “minimum viable product,” which delivers the highest return relative to risk and maximizes the amount of learning at the lowest possible investment level.

Enlist a strong writer to make sure your copy is powerful and empathetic and retain a programmer to create the best experience with a conversational user interface in your knowledge base.

Step 2: Determine your taxonomy and content plan

Make sure that your content categories align with your long-term vision. In other words, you’ll want to set up a taxonomy that can grow with your business over time. As you plan your content, take the following steps:

  • Organize the content into groupings, such as the most popular topics
  • Link pieces that are related or offer additional relevant information
  • Determine how your content will grow or change over time

You can expand on your early research to analyze and synthesize your content into your knowledge base.

Step 3: Outline your technology plan

Once you have a comprehensive list of features and solution requirements, choose the technology that’s right for your business, use case, and customers. You might be tempted to consider a homegrown solution that you build and maintain on your own, but an out-of-the-box solution allows you to scale quickly. As you scope out technology partners, be sure to consider:

  • Security and compliance considerations from your IT and legal teams
  • Must-have features from team members
  • Ability to share, analyze, and export data
  • System integration and connected platforms
  • FAQ capabilities
  • Self-service features
  • Built-in maintenance

Your technology should adapt to your needs and, most important, be sustainable from a UX, feasibility, and maintenance standpoint.

Step 4: Implement the right analytics

Without the right infrastructure and analytics, your knowledge base can quickly become unwieldy. If you’re not sure where to invest your time and attention, focus on impact. Take on initiatives that will help you expedite more processes and solve customer pain points faster.

To make this happen, look no further than your data. Choose metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track over time. Examples include:

  • Time to problem resolution
  • Decrease in customer wait times
  • Increase in customer satisfaction levels
  • Increase in case deflection numbers

By focusing on a few essential variables, you can better assess the impact of your company’s investments and ensure your knowledge base evolves with your company.

Step 5: Focus on continuous improvement

Once your knowledge base is live, examine how your customers use it. Do internal site search patterns change over time? What parts of your knowledge base do customers engage with most? The answers to these questions will help you identify opportunities for improvement, including new topics, feature sets to introduce, and methodologies to better tag your content.

Remember that a knowledge base continually changes over time. Your technical infrastructure should support that.

Share knowledge across your organization

Building a knowledge base for customer self-service is a smart investment. Besides satisfying customers and ramping up efficiencies for your company, your knowledge base also attracts new visitors to your site. Impress them with your content to build relationships and revenue.



How to Make Your User Interface a 2-Way Conversation


Get more information on how to build a knowledge base.

See how to:

  • Deliver consistent answers so customers can help themselves fast
  • Maximize agent productivity
  • Streamline knowledge management

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