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How to Build a Call Center Knowledge Base Agents Love to Use

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Customer satisfaction is the holy grail of call centers, and lofty KPI goals are just as hard to come by. With a good knowledge base in place, however, you can hit your targets a lot faster.

You might be wondering if call centers truly have a need for a knowledge base. After all, you hire agents to answer customer questions—so they should already know all there is to know.

That said, knowledge bases aren’t there to replace agents, but to enhance their capabilities and offer a first point of contact to help customers find solutions faster.

But knowledge bases aren’t just customer-facing tools either. They’re also great for boosting agent productivity and streamlining operations for any type of call center.

Benefits of Building a High-Quality Knowledge Base

Modern customers expect call centers to provide answers at the drop of a hat. And since it’s a million times faster to type a question than to wait on the phone for an agent, knowledge bases are often the first line of support. In a way, this means that they can effectively provide first-call resolutions without the call.

FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and even video tutorials empower customers to get answers when they need them. Unlike most call centers, knowledge bases are available 24/7, so customers can find support even during off-hours.

Of course, even though knowledge bases help customers serve themselves, they don’t always provide all the answers. That’s also not the point. The point is to cut down on your incoming call volumes by eliminating calls that don’t actually require an agent to handle.

Naturally, fewer calls may mean fewer agents are needed on staff, but those you do retain may have a lighter workload and be better equipped to assist the customers who call in.

Also, agents can reference the knowledge base when they need to refresh on a topic or when product specs change, helping them better serve the customers with up-to-date information. Agents can even point callers to specific topics in the knowledge base, especially when providing step-by-step instructions or follow-up material after a call.

With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that knowledge bases can ease a manager’s duties as well. Having a centralized reference point can help managers streamline training and minimize dependence on senior agents. Further, the collaborative process of creating a knowledge base can foster team spirit and set benchmarks for a higher standard of support.

How to Set Up a (Helpful) Call Center Knowledge Base

Creating a knowledge base isn’t just about assembling information—it’s about building a resource that agents and customers find simple to use. This process requires careful planning and a focus on accessibility. There are four essential steps to this process.

Step 1: Understand Critical Knowledge Base Components

Begin by identifying what your customers need to know. This will guide what information you provide and how you serve it. The goal is to collect a comprehensive list of topics that cover all aspects of your products or services. At this stage, collecting anything and everything is best, as you can sift through and categorize information later.

Next, have conversations with your call center agents—they are on the front lines and often possess crucial insights. Conduct surveys, hold team meetings, and review past customer interactions to identify recurring themes.

You should also check through your call center analytics and review emails and website search queries to understand the pain points and the areas where your public-facing information can be better streamlined.

These insights will lay the foundation for a knowledge base that addresses real needs.

Step 2: Plan and Structure Your Content

A wealth of data is not very useful if it’s presented in a chaotic way. Begin by organizing information into broad categories and subcategories.

Next, type up your drafts in documents and make notes of any supporting reference materials or media to include. Don’t forget to make notes about related topics and articles so you can interlink items in the future.

Part of this stage is also deciding how best to display your answers. You may want to consider writing help articles, hosting a detailed FAQ, developing an interactive chatbot, or recording help videos.

While text-based support centers are generally the easiest to produce, they’re not always the most efficient or accurate way to provide answers. Most companies include videos and photos within their knowledge base articles to elaborate on complex or technical topics. Some even publish support videos on YouTube—and although this is an accessible approach, you may want to choose a more formal way of hosting your knowledge base on your own platform.

Step 3: Choose the Right Knowledge Base Software

There are many knowledge base software options out there, so it’s important to pick a good fit for your company. The good news is that you’ll be spoiled for choice, as there’s an array of well-developed products to fit diverse needs.

Look for software that is simple to navigate, has a user-friendly interface with a clear and intuitive design, and provides robust search functionality and analytics. Ideally, you’ll want something that seamlessly integrates with your website, chat, and call center software. For example, some products include an article base, a chatbot, email support, and a click-to-call button.

Good knowledge base software also supports a streamlined editorial flow, meaning you’ll have the ability to leave an article in draft state until it’s reviewed and ready for publishing, for example. With the right tools and process, you’ll be ready to start creating.

Step 4: Write and Update Regularly

The last step is to turn all of that knowledge and experience into its final, presentable form. After publishing, you’ll need to assign dedicated writers and editors to create and update articles regularly. If no one within your team is capable, consider hiring a technical writer.

At this stage, it’s very important to keep the process as simple as possible so the job actually gets done, and solicit feedback for review whenever necessary.

If you have a lot of information to write up, you might consider publishing things in phases. For example, publish FAQs and essential articles first, then produce how-to videos later on to accompany your written text.

Remember, you’ll have many opportunities to update your knowledge base as your products, services, and support efforts evolve.

Call Center Knowledge Base Best Practices

Creating a well-integrated, useful resource that delivers for your customers and agents requires a lot of careful thought and planning. Keep the following in mind when you’re evaluating your own knowledge base:

  • Provide Structure: Categorize information logically and intuitively. Use clear headings, subheadings, and tags to make it easy for agents to navigate and find the necessary information.
  • Update Regularly: Keep the knowledge base up-to-date by regularly reviewing and updating the content as part of your call center quality assurance efforts. Set up a process to verify the accuracy of provided information and remove outdated or irrelevant content.
  • Integrate All Channels: Integrate the knowledge base with other customer support channels like live chat and email. This ensures agents can access the knowledge base while assisting customers through different communication channels.
  • Monitor and Improve: Monitor the usage and effectiveness of your knowledge base through metrics and analytics. Track search queries, popular articles, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.
  • Ask for Constructive Feedback: Encourage agents to provide feedback on the knowledge base content and suggest improvements. Foster collaboration by allowing agents to contribute their insights and experiences, which can enhance the knowledge base’s overall quality.
  • Provide Continued Training: Utilize the knowledge base as a training resource for new agents, including orientation and hands-on practice. Keep agents updated with significant changes.

Remember, a well-executed knowledge base can be the backbone of your support efforts. By providing customers and agents with clear, up-to-date articles that empower them to find their own answers, you can cut down on support calls and streamline your call center’s operations.

Of course, this will require some upfront work, but even your agents may thank you for the time and headaches it saves them in the end.

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