Want to increase customer loyalty and overall happiness? Help your customers to help themselves.
As a recent Forrester survey demonstrated, there’s a new breed of customer and a new set of customer expectations when it comes to service delivery. Today’s customers not only want accurate responses; they also want them as quickly as possible. And they’re more than happy to take the lead in seeking out those answers themselves.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in the number of individuals who use self-service options,” said Ken Sax, ShoreTel’s manager of knowledge management. “Over time, people have become more accustomed to searching for answers online. In fact, the expectation now is that they will indeed be able to find the answer online.”
Millennials in particular are increasingly inclined to seek self-service options like a knowledge base. Something to consider, no matter your business or its market. Even if Millennials are only a small portion of your business today, that percentage is guaranteed to grow as those aged 18 – 34 years old now make up the nation’s largest living generation.
According to Sax – who has almost two decades of technical support expertise – those are just some of the reasons why it’s important to have a strong knowledge base in place. But beyond helping your customers, it can also help improve the responsiveness of your customer support staff as they, too, can use this tool to uncover answers and share insights.
What’s a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is an online, centralized repository of information that provides a myriad of insights and answers about your product or service. The goal is to provide easy and intuitive access to information that will enable both your customers and your employees to find answers quickly, without having to call customer support.
And, according to Sax, if those ‘do-it-yourself’ customers either can’t find what they’re looking looking for or find inaccurate information, it can directly impact your bottom line.
“As a customer, by the time I have to file a case or contact a person, I am already dissatisfied,” said Sax. “You can lose sales because of bad support.”
Given the growing popularity of self-service options such as a knowledge base, Sax recommends constant surveillance and updates to make sure the information is relevant and current. Continue to hone the information as your offering evolves, and incorporate additional insights based on questions and concerns from your customers. Track what your competition is doing (or saying) about your offerings. Make use of input from social channels and other forums as all are valuable sources of additional perspectives. Plus, beyond having the most accurate and complete information online, make sure it can be found by employing strong keywords.
“The best article in the world is no good if no one sees it,” said Sax. “Examine not only what they’re looking at, but what they’re not looking at as well. If you see content that has not been viewed in a while, consider taking it out to make room for more pertinent information that people are searching for.”
And, when it comes to your most-viewed content, Sax emphasized the need for ongoing oversight.
“Continually identify and review the content that is most-used,” said Sax. “You want to ensure that it is of the highest quality in terms of accuracy and recent updates.”
For many companies, a knowledge base has become an integral component of customer service delivery. It can not only improve speed of answer for your customers and your support staff, but ultimately, improve your bottom line in the process.