5 Tips on How to Build a Knowledge Base or Help Center from Scratch
Building a knowledge base is an instrumental process for any organization, no matter the size. Given the growing customer base, your support reps will have to create answers all the time in the absence of a knowledge base. It’s not that answering customer questions is a problem, but drafting the same answering over and over certainly is. The online help center acts as a rich knowledge base that can direct your potential customers and even internal employees. It provides information that can help you fly high without much help.
Unfortunately, a lot of companies don’t invest in online help center software or their knowledge base. They ignore documentation and online support services. As a result, customers don’t have a tutorial, help menu or a user guide to rely on. If you wish to ensure long-term business success, you must have a document for everything.
With this being said, here is a quick overview of how to build a help center from scratch. These tips can be used by all organizations. These are cornerstones for any help center you decide to develop.
#1 Understand Crucial Elements to Include
Have you ever gone through Google Chrome’s help menu? This is Google’s help center. This is a comprehensive document. Likewise, have you gone through a car’s technical manual? Well, this is also a document that can lend you a hand of help. The idea of having documents may sound hilarious. But, this is essential.
You help center can have documents made of videos, texts, and images. The ultimate aim is to explain more about your products and services. It should act as a repository of official information. It must be a leaflet that can be used openly by potential customers. Above all, it must stick to all standard operating procedures created by internal management. The amount of content in Microsoft’s Help Menu for Office delivers everything from advanced to simple pieces of information. This is must be the ultimate goal. Always focus on converting novice users to experts. The should be a window to everything your product and service is.
As a growing organization, never assume that people don’t need or read manuals or documentations. They actually do when there are issues. Some people go through every page looking for the perfect solution. Before approaching a help desk, they go to the online knowledge base. So, design your help center with care!
#2 Pay Attention to Internal Structure and Navigation
The help center should be carefully structured. It is important to ensure that the structure is correct. Try to create plenty of diagrams and flowcharts. Regardless of what your product or service is, you must document everything. Use clear & easy to use language. Ensure you write shorter sentences and bulleted list where ever possible. Its easy to comprehend.
Keep the following perspective in mind when creating solution – What would your customers want and say about your product or service? How does the customer use the functionalities of your product or service? This must be the tone of your content. All technical terms and processes should be explained in a simple and comprehensive manner. You should break down the workflow into multiple menus. Try to teach the workflow in logical steps. You can use an online help center software to assist you in breaking huge workflows into small logical steps. As mentioned previously, multimedia is a great tool in any knowledge base contact. Try to replace lengthy documents with videos and audio files. If you are building your help center from scratch, this is the best and “first” place to start.
#3 Check Knowledge Base Accessibility Across Device and Platforms
Once the document is prepared, you should host it online. In this modern world, Google is considered as an ideal platform for hosting. This is where all online customers come for information. As a thumb rule, you should post your help center and documentation online for everyone’s benefit. This is what the virtual world calls knowledge base, support center or help center. Your documentation should be accessible by Google and other major search engines.
There are plenty of online software programs to assist you in building a knowledge base. You can use these applications to build your knowledge base using markdown, rich text, and HTML. In the long haul, you will require a single place for all your documents.
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#4 Outline the Contents Clearly
As you browse through various online knowledge base, you will witness a very standard layout. You will find a search box located at the top / start of the page. Below the search box, you will find outlines of the document and groups of articles. These articles are used by customers who want to dig deeper into the product and learn more. The best way to display search results is in chronological order. Display the latest tips, tricks, and articles on the top. The above format is what you find in online knowledge bases.
#5 Surfacing your Help Center
Last but certainly not the least, your document needs to be surfaced. After spending several months developing your content, you should tie it to your website. Developing a help center from scratch is just half of the entire battle. The other half depends on how you link it to your website. You must include the help center in the header or footer menus. If possible, introduce a help and support tab on your website.
Start Building a Rich Knowledge Base
You might want to build the perfect knowledge base overnight, but it’s not possible. Perfecting the contents of a rich-knowledge base is a journey & it takes time. Most likely, you will get a mixed response with both good and bad reviews. Sometimes, customers will be swept off their feet with the information while some things will also go south. So, you must be prepared to take the feedback in a positive light and incorporate changes as soon as reported. At first, your goal should be to fill-in the knowledge base with information, followed by refreshing it regularly and keep it up-to-date.
I hope this gives you a good starting point to building your own knowledge center & delight your customers.