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Top 10 Tips for Building a Knowledge Base

 A well-organized and consistently updated knowledge base offers lots of great benefits for your product and your customers. But how can you unlock these perks? 

Read our guide for all the tips and tricks you need to build an effective knowledge base portal so you can push your customer self-service to the next level.

Understanding the value of a knowledge base portal

The way that customers engage with products has changed a lot in the last decade. Research from the CX Network showed that when it comes to a choice between a phone call, a store visit, or digital channels, two out of three customers prefer to solve issues via digital channels. 

These figures are set to increase as younger internet-native generations make up a larger share of customers. However, digital channels are an umbrella term that describes a wide array of communication options, from email to self-service portals, blogs, FAQs, chatbots, and, of course, knowledge-base portals.

The good news for business owners is that 91% of users say they would use a knowledge base “if it met their needs.” Providing a quality, easily navigable knowledge base that helps your users solve their issues is a credible alternative to delivering live customer support. 

Of course, providing a knowledge base alone might not work. The best way to think about your knowledge base is as a part of an omnichannel approach that gives your users the option to resolve problems in the way that suits them. 

A Gartner survey from 2023 showed that transitions between help options are really important, too, with 62% of B2B and B2C customers suggesting that moving between customer self-service options is “high effort.” More concerningly, over half of respondents indicated that if these transitions are not seamless, they won’t use customer self-service options for their next interaction.

Customer self-service software like Usetiful helps you provide the right blend of options you need to keep your users happy. With quality onboarding functions like product tours and in-app help widgets, you can provide a smooth transition. When your users need help, you can give in-app help that directs users to your knowledge base. Or, if they can’t solve their issues there, you can send them to live support. 

A knowledge base is an important part of the process described above. So, let’s look at the best practices you should follow to build a great knowledge base for your product.

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Top 10 tips for building an effective knowledge base

A great knowledge base is a combination of user research, organization, readability, and functionality. Here are ten tips for building a knowledge base for customer success.

#1. Think about your user pain points

The first thing you need to do is think about user pain points and friction within your product. Your knowledge base is there to solve problems. And the only way you’ll know which problems to solve is by listening to your users.

Dig deep by using customer surveys, product heat maps, support tickets, customer help emails and any other data you can get which shows why and when your users need help.

Jot down all these ideas and use them as inspiration for your knowledge base articles.

#2. Enlist your support team for help

Live support is your direct link to customer problems. They know all the little things that your users struggle with. So, don’t let this valuable resource (and knowledge) go to waste.

Consult with your support team and ask them for their opinions on which areas your knowledge base should cover.

#3. Appoint a knowledge base champion

A great knowledge base is the culmination of everyone’s efforts. However, it’s a good idea to appoint someone or a team to take responsibility for it. 

Some of the duties ensure that the content quality is up to the mark and that it’s refreshed and updated regularly. Another important role for your champion to play is to advocate for the knowledge base across departments so that you get input from everyone and a better blend of information.

#4. Makes it easy to navigate

Firstly, a prominent search button is a must-have to help users find the information they need. However, it’s not the only way that your users will navigate your knowledge base.

You should put a lot of thought into how you structure your knowledge base. For starters, think about a logical hierarchy that uses broad categories, like Getting Started, FAQs, Troubleshooting, Glossary, and so on. 

Then, you can nest articles inside those categories. This approach keeps things organized and makes it easier to add new articles as your knowledge base evolves.

#5. Readability is everything

The purpose of a knowledge base and customer self-service software, as a whole, is to ensure customers can help themselves. Don’t put any barriers between your users and the help they need, including readability. 

Make sure your help articles use minimal jargon. Use plain English, step-by-step instructions, lists, bite-sized chunks of information, and lots of headings. The aim here is that users can scan your knowledge base article and find the information they need quickly and easily.

#6. Consider templates

Making your knowledge base articles structurally consistent is a good policy. It helps your readers know what to expect and ensures the articles seem like they are part of a wider body of work. What’s more, it also allows your writers to know what they need to include.

Templates are a good idea here. It can be something very basic, like using H1, H2, H3, etc, headings, lots of bullet points, and so on. Or, you can get a bit more in-depth. Here’s a guide from HubSpot on how to use templates for your knowledge base.

#7. Make your knowledge base visually appealing

There are lots of ways to spruce up your knowledge base. For starters, make it consistent with your brand visuals by adding logos and company colors. Secondly, add different types of visual content to make the pages more appealing.

Some of the content you should add includes screenshots, images, and video. You can also add links to blog posts, webinars, infographics, and anything else that brings value to your customers. 

#8. Seek feedback

Your users are a valuable source of feedback for your product and your knowledge base. Include a facility for users to rate the pages of your knowledge base with a simple survey.

The feedback you gather here can help you optimize a page and let you know if you need to add additional details or even simplify specific pages. 

#9. Don’t forget SEO

One big benefit of a public knowledge base is that it can help with SEO. Driving organic traffic to your site is an inexpensive and evergreen way to raise brand awareness and foster trust and authority. 

Don’t over-optimize for keywords. Instead, continue to write valuable, helpful content that answers questions. Have a look at sites like People Also Ask and find queries within your niche that you can satisfy in your knowledge base. 

#10. Continuous improvement

A knowledge base should be a live, searchable document that is always being improved and optimized. Add new pages, optimize old ones, and always be on the lookout for ways you can tweak and optimize your articles so they land well with your users.

No-code customer self-service software like Usetiful is a good choice here because anyone on your team can add and update articles as and when it's needed.

How to create a knowledge base with Usetiful

Now that you’ve got your knowledge base best practices down, it’s time to learn how to put them into action and build your knowledge base with Usetiful.

As a leading customer self-service software, Usetiful gives teams the tools they need to support greater customer success, engagement, onboarding, and learning. One of those tools is a knowledge base portal that your user can access in-app via our virtual assistant. 

Go to Content > Knowledge Base and create articles within the editor, where you can add multimedia likes, images, or videos.

Create captivating articles using Usetiful's WYSIWYG editor

Once your articles are complete, you can share them in Assistant, making them visible and easily searchable for your users.

Click here for a deep dive into the process.

Creating a knowledge base portal requires a different approach. The knowledge base via Usetiful Assistant provides in-app assistance, while your knowledge base portal uses a URL and has great customization options.

Clicking on the “Portal” button in your Usetiful account will present you with the “Configure Portal” option. 

From here, you can add articles and external links and edit your portal's visual appearance and style. 

Click here for a step-by-step guide for building a knowledge base portal with Usetiful.

Customize the portal's branding and tone of voice to match your corporate identity, providing a seamless user experience.

Final thoughts

Offering flexible customer onboarding self-service options is important in the modern era. Users don’t want to hang on the phone, wait for an email reply, or sit in a chat queue if they can resolve a problem themselves.

Putting together a knowledge base takes time and hard work. Usetiful can help you build a no-code knowledge base so that it shows up in-app or as its own dedicated portal. If you want to meet users where they want to be, a knowledge base is an important pillar of that approach.

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