Serving your customers’ every whim does not mean you’re doing them any good. In fact, you might be breeding a form of dependency on live interactions; there is nothing intrinsically bad with this. Sooner or later, you will be swamped with calls and the costs of maintaining a contact center or a line can skyrocket.
It is for this reason that companies empower their customers to be their own problem solvers as much as possible. Customer education prevents repeat callers from crowding your virtual PBX system. The company must set out to create a knowledge management system or a knowledge base.
A knowledge base contains materials developed by customer service staff and subject area experts within their companies to fulfill the instruction needs of their customers.
Here are some tips for developing an archive that will guide your customers:
A. Stress on Readability
Always begin with the customer in mind. Who are they? How do they talk? How big are their vocabularies? Can you identify what sectors your customers are coming from? By learning and understanding who your customers are, the more easily you’ll be able to anticipate how to scale the language you will be using on your knowledge base. If your software is specifically made for network administrators, your customers will feel slighted if you use simplistic language. On the other hand, if you are developing software for use by people with no advanced technical knowledge, you’ll be making them scratch their heads if you employ jargon in your articles.
Knowing your customers will also help you tool the lengths of the articles. Specialists obviously require and enjoy the science behind your tech and therefore longer articles are in order. If customers are just there for the convenient derivable value of your product, then they need only the essentials.
B. It Shouldn’t Have to Be a Maze
A knowledge base shouldn’t have to feel like a massive real-world library. Customers need to find information fast and easy enough. Organization of the information should appear seamless even when there’s a search engine on the site itself.
Big data is important but it should not cost you the interest of a customer. Lengthy and officious registration processes turn customers off. People do not have to jump through hoops in order to enjoy your site. Otherwise you will lose them.
The site should also allow some interaction. Customers will sometimes want to post a question related to the article or comment if the steps on the article works.
C. Don’t Just Let the Engines Drive
Search engine optimization has allowed a lot of companies to promote their site by always appearing at the first page of the results. This is a convenient way to do marketing but having the search engines do the driving is never enough. What can result is a form of superficial marketing where the company itself does not wave its own brand. When you have a knowledge base, it also has to appear in the materials of the company. The team should take point and not just the customers.
D. Aim for Vibrant
The knowledge base should be alive. Your staff must constantly compile new knowledge and add more articles. Nobody likes a stale site. Customers should also be able to add to the knowledge the staff creates through comments and observations. By allowing the customers to generate their content, a buzz develops in the site. Ultimately a community will form and when this happens a lot of magic can occur for your brand.
Through the creation of a knowledge base, a community can form which will drive more customers to the site. The most important effect, however, is that the customers become empowered and your staff becomes engaged. A little knowledge investment drives down cost and revs up your brand.