Insights

Knowledge Base Mistakes: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls

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Insights
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12 mins to read

A recent study by Gartner shows that almost half of surveyed customers actually prefer to solve problems independently instead of reaching out for support. 

But despite this preference, a staggering 49% of these self-help enthusiasts abandon their quest because the information is either lacking or simply doesn't meet their needs. Quite the paradox, isn't it?

Self Service Challenges Survey


If you want to build a knowledge base that optimizes your workflow and meets customer demands, you're in the right place. Here's what we'll cover:

  • Exploring the mismatch between customer preferences and actual actions.
  • Common pitfalls to avoid when creating a knowledge base.
  • Actionable strategies to elevate your self-service game.
  • Steps to keep your readers engaged and informed.

What is a Knowledge Base?

A knowledge base is a comprehensive library with information about the company's product, service, or related topics. Its primary goal is to help customers find answers and tackle issues independently. It can be internal, external, technical, or designed for decision support.

Unlike a mere collection of FAQs, a knowledge base is a proactive tool. It's where you record past challenges or establish new company procedures. This results in streamlined access to information, ensuring team alignment and enhanced work productivity.

Benefits of Creating a Knowledge Base for Your Brand

Why should companies prioritize having a thorough knowledge base? Knowledge bases help bridge the gap between knowledge management and customer support as companies begin to grow and scale.

Here are some benefits:

  • Customer Retention and Happiness: Even if you sell a ton of things a year, a strong knowledge base will hold your customers' hands and make sure they're never in the dark. 
  • Cost-effective and Efficient: Customers will only call support teams in the event of severe concerns because they can easily access information, which reduces investment expenses.
  • Boost in Traffic and Sales: A properly maintained knowledge base can increase website traffic, which can boost revenue significantly.
  • Empowerment and Independence: Modern consumers place a high importance on independence. They can obtain answers instantly from a knowledge base instead of having to search for contact information or wait for email replies.

7 Common Knowledge Base Mistakes to Avoid

One cannot overlook the importance of having good customer service. According to NewVoiceMedia's 2018 “Serial Switchers” report, inadequate customer service rips businesses of over $75 billion annually. 

To build a knowledge base for your brand in a way that doesn't contribute to these staggering numbers, watch out for these pitfalls:

1. Not Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

Jumping headfirst into creating a knowledge base without a concrete vision or objectives is the most common mistake businesses make. 

A survey by the Content Marketing Institute found that only 40% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy. Without well-defined goals, it's all too easy for your knowledge-base efforts to become aimless and ineffective.

Solution: Start by setting clear, measurable goals for your knowledge base. For instance, instead of vaguely stating "We want to reduce support tickets," specify your objective: "We aim to reduce support tickets by 20% in the next quarter." 

  • Utilize the SMART approach when crafting your goals to ensure they are both clear and actionable. 
  • To keep your team aligned and on track, consider tools like Trello or Asana, which can assist in visualizing, tracking, and accomplishing your knowledge base objectives. 
  • Regularly review and adjust your goals. Set new goals as milestones are completed to ensure your knowledge base improves and remains a valuable resource for users.

2. Loosely Structured Information

A hastily put-together knowledge base can do more harm than good. When a knowledge base lacks depth or has ambiguous difficult-to-comprehend content, it can leave customers lost and dissatisfied. 

In fact, according to a report by PwC, 73% of consumers point to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, and clarity of information is a significant part of that experience.

Solution: To create a valuable knowledge base, it's essential to go beyond surface-level information. Dedicate time to ensure each article is comprehensive, covering every aspect of an issue. 

  • Leverage tools like Notion and Loom to create precise content, guides, and explanatory videos.
  • Develop a feedback loop with users to continuously refine your content. Remember, an effective knowledge base requires regular updates to stay relevant and user-centric.

3. A Confusing User Interface

Customer bounce rate increases when your platform is too complex to navigate and users can't find what they need. 

According to a study by HubSpot, 76% of consumers say the most important factor in a website's design is its ease of use. If your knowledge base is hard to navigate, you risk losing a significant portion of your users before they find what they need.

Solution: Make simplicity your ally. Use a clean layout, easy-to-read fonts, and clear categories.

  • Remember, whitespace is your friend–it aids readability.
  • Consider the "three-click rule". Ideally, users should find their answer in three clicks or less.
  • Regularly conduct usability testing. This can be done by asking a few colleagues or loyal customers to navigate your knowledge base and provide feedback that can offer valuable insights. 

4. Forgetting to Update Content

Letting your knowledge base rust with outdated content means handing users a misleading map that takes them nowhere.

Research says, 68% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming its content. Outdated or misleading content not only damages the image of your brand but also can negatively impact user trust.

Solution: The key to content management success is consistency. When introducing a new feature or product, make sure that all relevant content in your knowledge base is updated.

  • Incorporate 'Last Updated' timestamps in your articles. This simple addition can significantly boost user confidence in the accuracy of the content.
  • Engage with your support team regularly. Their firsthand experience will clue you into which articles need revising or clarifying. 

5. Lack of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In the age of information at our fingertips, your brand and knowledge base should easily be available to customers.  

70-80% of the links search users click on are organic, not paid. Neglecting search engine optimization can result in users wandering through your knowledge base, frustrated and without answers.

Solution: Improve search functionality for a user-friendly experience.

  • Embed relevant keywords, tags, and synonyms in articles to enhance search accuracy. Make use of semantic SEO, which accounts for the intent behind user queries.
  • Tools like Google's Keyword Planner or UbberSuggest can help you identify high-impact keywords to incorporate into your knowledge base. 
  • Regularly review search analytics to understand what users are looking for. Modify your content and search terms to align with user behavior.

6. Overlooking User Feedback

Ignoring user feedback is one of the worst mistakes a company could make. 

A survey shows that over half of consumers say they’ll become repeat buyers after a personalized experience. Users are your frontline experts, providing valuable insights into what works and what doesn't. 

Solution: Actively seek and embrace feedback. When a user reports an issue, promptly address it. If they suggest a valuable improvement, consider implementing it and giving them credit.

  • Create a dedicated feedback channel, making it easy for users to report issues or share ideas. 
  • Utilize survey and feedback tools like SurveyMonkey. These streamline the process and help you gather and analyze user feedback efficiently.
  • Schedule frequent review meetings to go over user input. Determine recurring themes or frequent problems, and utilize these as a guide for ongoing knowledge base development.

7. Lack of Team Collaboration

Your knowledge base isn't solely a one-person show. Neglecting to involve your team can result in gaps in knowledge sharing and may lead to outdated or inconsistent information.

According to data from Frost & Sullivan, a company’s collaboration index increases sales by 27% and improves customer satisfaction ratings by 41%.

Solution: Promote teamwork and collaboration. Communicate and collaborate with the development team to get the latest updates on the knowledge base.

  • Encourage different departments such as sales, support, and development to contribute to the knowledge base. 
  • Use collaboration and project management tools like Slack, Trello, or Confluence to streamline communication and knowledge sharing between teams.
  • Regularly hold cross-departmental meetings to discuss knowledge base updates and align everyone with the latest information.

Conclusion

Companies in the quest to please customers with content often overlook the basics, stumbling into common pitfalls and making mistakes. But with the insights from this article, you're well-prepared to steer clear of these pitfalls for creating a knowledge base that ensures the right support and service.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • Set clear goals for your knowledge base.
  • Ensure comprehensive and up-to-date content.
  • Prioritize user experience and a simple, intuitive interface.
  • Actively collect and act on user feedback.
  • Implement search engine optimization to guide users effectively.
  • Foster teamwork and collaboration within your organization.
What makes a good knowledge base


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