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What is a Knowledge Base and Why Your Business Needs One

 A knowledge base is a powerful way to drive customer success, improve employee efficiency and learning, and support sales enablement through content. If you’re curious about the benefits that a knowledge base portal could bring to your business, this is the article for you.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a centralized information repository about a product, service, or topic. In other words, it’s an organized collection of product documentation, help articles, tutorials, FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and video demonstrations that users can access when they have issues to solve, or they want to learn more about your product.

Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

What are the different types of knowledge bases?

There are two main types of knowledge base: Internal and External.

Internal: An internal knowledge base is built for company employees. The information these digital libraries contain includes things like:

  • HR policies

  • Onboarding materials

  • Internal project documentation

  • Company rules and best practices

  • Technical procedures

  • Links to compliance and regulation standards

External: An external knowledge base is a customer-facing repository that typically contains things like:

  • How-to articles

  • FAQs

  • Written and video tutorials

  • Technical guides

  • Troubleshooting guides

What type of customer onboarding self-service content should you include in a knowledge base portal?

The section above shows the different kinds of content that you can find in an internal or external knowledge base portal. However, let's look at things from a customer onboarding self-service perspective and see how a knowledge base can supplement your existing onboarding content.

Good customer onboarding should be light and seamless. When users engage with an app for the first time, they are trying to solve a problem. In other words, they have a goal or destination in mind, and you should guide them towards that destination rather than putting too many roadblocks in their way. So, bearing that in mind, your onboarding content should be lean and focused. 

However, some apps and products involve complexities you can’t crush into a tooltip or walkthrough. Instead of cluttering your onboarding material with information that not every user needs, you can link to extended knowledge base articles from within your app. 

Some of the customer onboarding self-service content you can place in your knowledge base portal includes:

  • A Getting Started Guide: Details on setting up an account, integration with other tools, creating your first project, and so on.

  • Product Navigation: User interface information to help customers find specific features and functions

  • Core features: A quick rundown on your product’s key features, with tutorials, tours, how-to guides, and troubleshooting

  • FAQs: A comprehensive, frequently asked question section to help with common issues.

  • Video tutorials: If you have video content for your product, you can make it easily accessible from your knowledge base portal

  • Glossary of terms: You can share definitions for highly technical or product-specific language to assist new users

  • Use cases: Use cases or even case studies about how other teams have achieved success using your product.

The key point here is that knowledge bases are highly versatile, and you can use them to catalog and share a wide range of media, from writing to audio and video. Think about your product and users, and see what works best.

Why do businesses use knowledge bases?

Knowledge bases are a popular way to provide the customer self-service options that your users want. 

Here are the key benefits of a knowledge base.

#1. Improved customer service

Customer expectations have changed a lot in recent years. Now, if a customer has a problem, they want to resolve it instantly. Adjusting to these shifts in expectations doesn’t mean you are forced to increase headcount. 

A knowledge base portal helps you reduce support tickets while boosting customer success and satisfaction. 

#2. Increase customer self-service

A knowledge base portal unlocks many of the benefits of customer self-service software. When customers can help themselves, they feel more in control. What’s more, a knowledge base provides 24-7 support. Of course, there are more complex issues that may need 1:1 support, but a knowledge portal helps free up your customer support team to deal with these issues.

#3. Better onboarding experiences

Great user onboarding experiences are critical if you want to drive retention and conversions from free trials to paid plans. Similarly, employee onboarding is much easier when new hires have access to a repository of information they need to bed in and become productive.

A knowledge base portal is an excellent choice in both instances because it puts vital information at the fingertips of users and employees, allowing them to find authoritative and helpful information on demand.

#4. Cost savings

Providing quality customer support is expensive. High inflation and slow economic growth mean identifying cost savings has rarely been more pertinent. A knowledge base helps you cut costs without compromising on quality. 

Additionally, using a knowledge base to supplement new hire onboarding can save on IT costs and training because the information is available for your employees when they need it.

#5. Knowledge preservation

Employee retention is critical for many reasons. However, one of the most important considerations is that seasoned employees are a source of huge amounts of business information and learning that can only be gained through experience. A knowledge base allows them to put that knowledge into a shared repository, which is still around even if they move on to new pastures. 

#6. Collaboration

Internal knowledge bases require interdepartmental communication and collaboration. Just putting together your knowledge base portal helps foster a culture of sharing, discussion, and teamwork. If you need to break your teams out of their siloes, a knowledge base is a source of transferable learning that can lead to more well-rounded employees.

#7. SEO

An external, searchable knowledge base helps flesh out your SEO strategy by providing helpful information about your product and niche. Along with supplementing your targetted keywords, your articles help you establish awareness, authority, and trust, and in some situations, can even win you a few leads.

What is Usetiful Knowledge Base?

Usetiful Knowledge Base is a key component of the 24/7 customer self-service widget, Usetiful Assistant. While Usetiful’s core function is as a customer onboarding self-service tool, Assistant adds in-app access to product tours, FAQs, tutorial videos, and a knowledge base.

A knowledge base brings an exciting new dimension to your customer support. These help center portals are there to provide help directly from your app in the form of articles and other media dedicated to common issues or questions your users might run into while using your solution. 

The power of the Usetiful Knowledge Base is that it offers a seamless pathway for your users to access support. When they search for an issue within Assistant, relevant help articles and content are displayed. 

But that’s not all. Assistant also allows you to personalize recommended Knowledge Base articles and product tours based on customer persona. When you understand your customer journey and the different types of people who use your product or service, you can serve them the content they need to have a more fulfilling experience with their app.

Additionally, you can easily customize your Knowledge Base to fit your brand. You can add logos, colors, fonts, and more so that when your users do seek help from your app, the entire experience is seamless.  

Of course, while Usetiful is a great choice for external customer-centric user communication, it can also help to supplement your employee training and learning and development while also boosting sales and conversions by hosting content like case studies and testimonials, product specifications, use cases, and anything else that can boost awareness, trust, and reputation for your brand.

Final thoughts

A knowledge base portal is a vital tool in an era of customer self-service. While some issues will always require one-to-one remediation, when modern users have a problem, they want answers, and they want them now, no matter what time of day it is. 

In-app access to a brand knowledge base means your users can solve their problems quickly and get back to getting value from the application. Their flow is not interrupted waiting for an email response or a callback. Instead, they are empowered to find the solutions themselves.

Additionally, a knowledge base can form a credible part of your overall learning and development strategy. If you have a complex solution with lots of ins and outs, knowledge base articles are a great way to structure and organize learning materials so that users can learn on demand.

Usetiful’s Knowledge Base fits well within our broader suite of customer self-service software tools because it helps you save time and money while improving the user experience. 

Customer support is changing. Users want quick support when they need it. A knowledge base portal is an excellent way to distribute product tours, onboarding content, articles, and documentation that your users need to realize the full power of your solution.

Start free today to see why companies across the globe are leveraging Usetiful to accelerate customer success.

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