Every customer support person would love to know they could rely on their Knowledge Base to be up to date and reliable. Realistically that’s not the case. And it’s nobody’s fault—it’s a tough thing to keep updated.
There are some strategies you can implement to make the process easier but it does require effort from your product, marketing, sales, and support team.
Let’s go through some of the ways you and your team can ensure your Knowledge Base is a reliable source of information so you can reduce reply time or ideally make some tickets vanish altogether 💪
Block Time to Check Quarterly
I’ll be real with you—it’s unlikely you’ll have time to block out time to audit your Knowledge Base every month. But it’s totally possible every 3 months.
I’ve written a little about auditing your Knowledge Base and what to check before you publish your knowledge base articles. These should give you a head start.
You’ll not just want to check your articles though. Check the support tickets and see if you can find customers getting confused with your articles.
If you’re feeling super proactive you can tag them in your email/help desk client so you can check back and read them every quarter.
But what should the action items be in a quarterly review? Here are some ideas:
- 📧 Is the invited team member list is accurate? This is a good opportunity to add team members who have joined or remove team members who have left
- 🎨 Does the design match our brand? The Knowledge Base branding reflects the current company branding
- 🧶 How often do we use our Knowledge Base in tickets? Try to gauge how useful your Knowledge Base is actually being. Is there a way to make it easier like using an integration?
And what will you want to keep an eye out for? Here are a few common themes we see pretty often:
1. Outdated Plan Names
It’s not uncommon for companies to rename or rearrange features in a plan. If you’ve done this recently you’ll want to check these.
You can do this in HelpDocs by downloading a CSV and including the body. When you open this in your spreadsheet viewer you can simply search for the plan name and you can check the information is accurate ✅
2. Old Screenshots
As much as a makeover is an exciting time for the product team it can be a REAL pain for the support team.
One toolbar moved can mean the difference between a user understanding how to do something themselves or not. And this can cause the tickets to pile up. Eek.
When you’re running a quarterly review make sure all the screenshots are accurate. It’ll make a big difference.
3. Step-by-step Instructions
Just like a screenshot being wrong because of a change in the product it’s the same deal with step-by-step instructions.
Not only can it lead the user to the wrong place but it shows your user you don’t keep your knowledge base updated. They might assume none of the information is accurate and gets in touch directly each time instead.
While that might not be a fair assumption we’re all human and humans don’t like to make the same mistake twice.
Assign a Knowledge Base Champion
This isn’t so you can pile the blame on this person. No, it’s so one person is keeping an eye on things for the whole team so support is more fluid.
A Knowledge Base Champion (or KBC for short) can advocate for your help center in product meetings.
Their job is to make sure the support team and the product team are taking the Knowledge Base as a serious part of the company rather than an afterthought.
A great Knowledge Base can make shipping things quicker for your product team, tickets simple for your support team, and deals with less back and forth for your sales team. So why not have a specific person to keep everything flowing into your customer-facing knowledge?
Here are some responsibilities for a KBC:
- Make sure outdated (or soon to be outdated) articles are marked as such
- Note down existing features a new launch might touch so articles can be updated in time
- Create rough outlines for new articles or categories that need to be created
- Ensure articles are coming up in search for the correct terms
- Create surveys or check feedback to gauge if the Knowledge Base is helpful
- Have 1-on-1 chats with customers with deep insights about how their experience was with the Knowledge Base
Having a KBC will make it far easier to stay on top of your Knowledge Base and ensure customers get accurate and readable articles based on feedback from the product and support team.
Use Your Ticket Software Commenting
A lot of teams now use ticketing software to streamline their support. Unlike regular email you can collaborate on tickets rather than endlessly Cc'ing people in and out (or accidently dropping them off every email—guilty 🙋).
Whatever software you use for your customer support ticketing there's usually a commenting feature. You can use commenting to make your Knowledge Base more accurate.
When you're replying to a customer it's usually not the best time to edit information or create a totally new Knowledge Base article. Instead, use commenting to write yourself (or your KBC 😉) a note to go back and update it later.
Then snooze it for later so it pops up later when you might be ready ☺️
A Great Knowledge Base is a Team Sport
Much of the time a Knowledge Base is an after-thought. It's tough to keep them top of mind because you push features and forget to update articles with relevant information. That causes a pile up of tickets for your support team which in turn slows down shipping.
The only way to keep on pushing your company forward without keeping the tickets coming is to scale your Knowledge Base alongside. And that doesn't mean adding more and more articles—it means making use of existing ones too and making sure everything links together nicely.
Whatever industry you're in, make sure you're involving everyone in the self-serve process. Your whole team will appreciate it.