One of the strategic growth levers for your business is setting up a dedicated knowledge base for customer onboarding, product knowledge and ultimately to drive actions that lead to revenue for your business.
This might not look like a strategic thing to do.
But, I think it is important for you to start paying attention to it now. Here is why:
- Save $$$ on hiring.
If you did a good job, your Knowledge Base article will be so good you will shave off hiring customer support team or at least reduce their workload of repetitive tasks.
- Pre and post-sales inquiries.
You can answer the most pressing questions your customers and prospect have about your product immediately. This will clear doubts if your product is right for them, thereby improve revenue as well as reduce churn due to lack of product knowledge. A good FAQ should answer the objections of people who are not yet ready to buy, as well as newbie users.
- Increase organic traffic.
The articles in your knowledge base will improve your SEO and get your site to rank for keywords related to your business (If you do a good job, your KB will focus on the questions that potential users of your service will be searching on Google as well).
So far, I have worked with more than 3 startups to setup knowledge base. The most recent was for a mobile marketing solution company. We even called one “University”, to mimic the value that users would get from the support center. We saw some big wins quickly, the major one was that we reduced customer support tickets, saving more than 40 hours weekly (that is equivalent to hiring a full-time staff).
From my experience, to achieve good result, you need to follow best practices to get the best value from your knowledge base.
Best practices for FAQs.
Before you start creating your articles, you need to produce content that meet the needs of users.
Here are few tips to help you do this.
- Address complaints: Take a cue from what your existing users complained of and address it in the FAQs. Produce content that guide your users to complete important actions you intend them to take.
- Review your analytics setup: Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel etc help you to see where there are frictions in the user journey and where they come across pain points that caused them to drop off along the way.
- Use simple English and avoid technical jargon. Make it easy for your users to consume your FAQ content immediately. Avoid the use of technical words and “big” grammar.
The basics… you don’t need a complex FAQ solution
You have already done the hardest part of the process: knowing what to include in your FAQ document.
Below are the next steps:
Have a team
Based on the teams I worked with, the technical person or subject matter expert work with content writer. Together they identify areas that need FAQs. It is advisable for the technical person to create the first draft and pass to content writer. At this early stage, the content writer will likely see opportunity to break down complex subjects into multiple FAQs for it to to be bite-sized. Next, the writer will add relevant graphics, remove technical jargon and use layman language to express the ideas.
Agree on the anatomy of your ideal FAQ.
A standard practice is to make the content of each FAQ to be bite-sized for easy consumption. Irrespective of the format that fits your audience: text, video or audio, ensure that your FAQ does the following very well.
- It should answer a SPECIFIC question, and actionable.
- Where necessary add screenshot, process flowchart and link to other supporting documents or articles.
- Break the content into bit-size chunks and create categories so that FAQs that address similar topics are grouped together.
- Strive to keep the content for each FAQ between 100 to 500 words ot 90 seconds video.
Choose a platform to host your Knowledge base.
The next step is to choose what platform to use to host your knowledge base.
If number of FAQs is few, you might easily document everything on your website like this accordion-style FAQ.
In case you have several knowledge areas to address, you should consider setting up a self hosted solution or going for any free or paid SaaS product.
The cheapest I found is Drift Help. It is actually free.
The major reason I prefer Saas solution like Drift is the chatbot feature. This is a combination of live chat + bot that enables your customers to find answers on their own. To do this, Drift’s bots automatically crawl your help documentation and will provide real-time responses to your site visitor’s questions – all without the need for human intervention.
(CASE STUDY) How I set up a knowledge base for a mobile marketing platform.
Here is a recap of my approach.
- We worked using Google Doc. It made it easier to collaborate across the team.
- My favourite app for taking screenshot is awesome screenshot video recorder. It helped to showcase screenshots and video walk through. I really like the annotation features of Skitch by Evernote, but the product has been discontinued.
- To host the knowledge base, we chose WordPress as platform of choice. The rationale was primarily because we wanted to keep the FAQ and blog away from the main site. The WordPress site was designed with a template (HelpGuru) which you can pick up for $69. To make the FAQ accessible directly from the main website we connected it via Drift.
Drift can only showcase contents published as blog posts. Unfortunately, our FAQ template has a special category called “article”. This meant that Drift would not be able to display our knowledge base, instead it will be showcasing our posts.
To solve this, we did a workaround by installing a redirect plugin. For every FAQ article, we’d created a blog post too, but to avoid duplicate content we simply created a post title without any content. With the redirect plugin we inserted the URL of the actual FAQ to it. That way we got the job done.
But that is a long route. You can simply setup everything from Drift and set it up using a custom domain.
One more thing….
You need to constantly evaluate how helpful your FAQ articles are and if they are getting the job done. If you give users the option to determine the usefulness of each article you will be able to gather enough feedback to know how to improve each article.
When one of the articles we published get negative reviews, we know it is time to re-do it. We can choose to rewrite it, break it to multiple articles or even review the entire way that aspect of the business works.
Ready to set it up …. ?
Now that the advantages of setting up your own FAQ is clear, is this something you want to commit to immediately?
If yes, congratulations. You can access professional assistance to get it done for you. Reach out to our team via email to oluwole [at] hackgrowth.ng.