5-Point checklist when building an external knowledge baseMay 13, 2019 No Comments
Featured article by Emil Hajric, Founder of Helpjuice
Image Source: Pixabay
There are a variety of impactful knowledge management solutions available to modern organizations. Each can empower a business with the resources they need to improve training, collaboration and team cohesion.
Having all your knowledge in one place has various benefits, from helping you to improve your communications skills to allowing you to become a better manager. This makes it all the more important to build your knowledge base in the best way possible.
With the help of this checklist, the development, deployment and management of an external knowledge base for your business will go without a hitch.
Add Search Functionality
Arguably the most important aspect of any knowledge base is its searchability; users who have specific questions that need answering or particular pieces of information they want to glean will appreciate this feature.
Indeed the presence of a search field is what distinguishes a knowledge base from a simple FAQ section. Make sure to include one, or you could end up losing out on the practical, productive benefits of your knowledge base.
List Categories Logically
Whether your knowledge base deals with big data backup solutions, financial services or landscape gardening, it needs to be organised in such a way that the key categories which define each section are grouped sensibly.
This applies just as equally to subcategories within the parent groups, and you should always endeavour to present information logically so that the most important titbits are within easy reach, rather than buried underneath anything else.
With an external knowledge base adopting this strategy should be even higher up your list of priorities since you can expect customers to be accessing it alongside employees, which could make all the difference when it comes to conversion and retention rates.
A knowledge base is only effective as a tool if it is conspicuous in its availability and easy to access for those that will be using it.
This can be simply achieved by placing a link to it in a prominent position, either on your home page or at the top of your contact page. This will funnel users in the right direction and avoid an unwanted influx of direct requests for support which might eat into your time and monopolise the attention of employees who have more pressing matters to attend to.
Sure, the cost of bad customer service is currently pegged at over $62 billion annually, but with an accessible, properly promoted knowledge base on tap, you can deliver improved customer satisfaction while also cutting costs.
Make Content Actionable
Having information available to users is not enough to make an effective use of your knowledge base; you should also endeavour to present any content in a way that encourages action.
This can be achieved in a number of ways, the most impactful of which is the step by step guide. Breaking down key points of information into actionable nuggets helps not only to augment the experience of the user, but also cut to the chase and avoid waffle in the content itself.
Also remember that you should not sacrifice readability in your race to make knowledge base content actionable. Instead these two things need to go hand in hand.
Your external knowledge base will not just be accessed via your website, but will also be stumbled upon through search engines that customers are using to find answers to common conundrums.
The good is that more users now see business sites as more trustworthy than search engines like Google, so when a link to content on your knowledge base does appear on the results page, the likelihood of securing a click are higher than ever. The challenge, then is to make sure that you can get high enough up the rankings to achieve adequate visibility in the first place.
There are lots of search engine optimisation methods which can be applied to knowledge base content creation. Choosing relevant keywords and tracking the data to see how each page is being discovered can be worthwhile, for example.
Another aspect of modern SEO comes in the form of mobile-friendliness. Your knowledge base should be easy to view on handheld devices, not just on desktop monitors, so a degree of adaptability needs to be integrated into its design and interface.
There are lots of other factors to consider when establishing an external knowledge base for your business, but hopefully this checklist will give you a starting point from which to build.
Emil is the Founder of Helpjuice, a leading knowledge management platform used by large and medium-sized enterprises. He is an expert in knowledge management & author of Knowledge Management: A Theoretical and Practical Guide for Knowledge Management in Your OrganizationSOCIAL BUSINESS