Importance of Analytics in Creating a Rich Knowledge Base

Not that long ago people used to call customer support whenever they had a question about a product.

However, now that they have access to the Internet, they often try to find an answer themselves before submitting a ticket or picking up the phone.

After all, no one wants to make themselves look silly by asking a question that is already answered on the company’s website.

Moreover, figuring things out by yourself is faster and more convenient than reaching out to customer support and waiting for the reply, at least if it’s a simple issue.

That is why more and more businesses are empowering their customers to be more self-reliant by providing them with knowledge bases.

However, too many companies treat their knowledge bases as nothing more than information dumps and don’t put in the effort to tailor them to the needs of their customers.

And what is the first step towards building a rich kbase that is truly helpful? 

Gathering and analyzing data. 

Why is Analytics Important for Building a Knowledge Base?

Assuming that you know what your customers want is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make in business.

You must have a much more scientific approach if you want to create a product that your customers love.

As Eric Ries explained in his “Lean Startup” book, you need to start with customer research, then create a minimum viable product (also known as MVP), and then iterate that product based on the feedback you get from your customers. 

This approach is well-known due to the popularity of the book. It’s probably safe to say that people who are immersed in the startup world are at least aware that this is what they should be doing. But what does “Lean Startup” have to with building a knowledge base?

Well, your knowledge base is a mini-product of its own, since it’s a resource library that helps your customers to quickly and easily find solutions to their problems.

That means that you can’t just assume what they want, throw something together, and expect it to work.

You need to approach building your knowledge the same way you’d approach developing any other product. 

Do customer research, create the initial version, and then iterate based on the feedback you get.

Note that “feedback” in this context doesn’t just mean customers telling you what they want. In fact, the most valuable insights often lie not in listening to what people say (of course, it’s important to pay close attention to it), but in observing what they do.

And for that you need analytics.

 

What Kind of Data Do You Need to Gather and Analyze in Order to Build a Rich Knowledge Base?

“Lean Startup” approach relies on gathering and analyzing data and then implementing the lessons that you have learned from it. 

But what kind of data should you collect when it comes to building a great knowledge management system?

There are three key questions that you need to focus on:

Who are your customers?

You can’t understand what your customers want if you don’t know who exactly those customers are.

Take a look at who is using your product. 

What is their age, job title, and location? What is the problem that they are trying to solve? What are they really trying to achieve?

You can use quantitative data you gather from analytics as well as qualitative data that you gather from surveys to understand your customers better.

But don’t just look at your overall user base. Who is most likely to reach out to customer support? What are the characteristics that differentiate them from other users?

Understanding this will help you tailor your knowledge base to the customers who need it the most. 

What Questions Do Your Customers Have?

You need to know what are the questions that come up most often if you want to build an effective knowledge base.

That is why you need helpdesk software with reliable analytics that allows you to see what are the most common issues that your customer support agents deal with.

For example, Freshdesk analytics allow you to monitor helpdesk productivity, customer experience, and agent workload, all of which can provide insights into how to best structure your knowledge base.

 

You should also analyze the tickets with the most common questions to see how the customers phrase those questions and what are the best ways to convey the answers.

Using analytics to gather quantitative data and going through the tickets to gather qualitative data will help you to decide which issues you should address in the knowledge base and what kind of language you should use for the explanatory articles. 

Which Knowledge Base Articles are Doing Well and Which Aren’t?

You need to know whether an article that you wrote for the knowledge base actually helps the customers solve the problem that it addresses.

Use the knowledge base analytics to see how much traffic each article is getting and then compare that data to the data from the helpdesk analytics to see how many people reach out to the customer support with the same question. 

Alternatively, if you offer an option to contact the customer support directly from a knowledge base article, then you can analyze that data.

Obviously, if an article receives a lot of traffic, but you still get many tickets with that same question, then you should see whether you can improve the article to make it more comprehensive and easier to understand.

Gathering and analyzing the customer demographic data, customer support data, and knowledge base data will help you tailor your knowledge base to the needs of your customers. 

Case Study: Uberflip

Uberflip, a cloud-based content experience platform for marketers, uses a knowledge base to empower their customers to help themselves and to make better use of their customer support team’s talent. 

In their article for Uberflip blog,  “How to Create a Knowledge Base That Will Make Your Customers Love You” , Sam Brennand explained his take on building a knowledge base:

“Building a great knowledge base is not a quick or easy process. It’s much more work than throwing together a few “help” articles and picking the right subdomain. However, it’s also a project that, when done right, can pay huge dividends across your entire organization.”

In the same article, he shared how Uberflip redeveloped their own knowledge base to make it more helpful.

They first audited their existing content to see what are the gaps that need to be filled.

“ A content audit helped us discover some pretty glaring holes in our existing knowledge base content. To be completely honest, our old knowledge base resembled swiss cheese more than a dynamite resource for our customers.”

Once they knew what was missing, they set out to fill those gaps, assuming that it wouldn’t take much time. 

However, updating the knowledge base turned out to be a much bigger task than expected, and it took 4-7 times longer to complete than they initially estimated.

“We went into our knowledge base redevelopment expecting this part of the process to take between two and three weeks. After all, we were just answering the common questions that help guide our customers to success each and every day… how much of a challenge could it possibly be to document that knowledge?
Answer: a big one. Three and a half months later, we finally *finished*.”

Sam noted that when he said “finished”, he said it with a lot of hesitation because he knew that a knowledge base is never really finished.

“There will always be new questions to answer, new ways or mediums with which to answer them, and new use cases to help your customers explore,” he explained. 

They used Uberflip’s feature called Marketing Streams to tailor their knowledge base to specific types of users.

This allowed them to position that content in proper context and made users more likely to consume several pieces of it every time they visited the knowledge base.

Uberflip also used knowledge base analytics to see which articles were helpful and which articles weren’t.

“If a particular article or video is getting a lot of views but you’re still fielding lots of questions, chances are that article needs to be re-written or that video re-recorded.”

Sam also pointed out that using knowledge base analytics helps to improve not only the knowledge base itself but customer service in general. 

“When you understand what your users are looking for, or more importantly, what they’re struggling with, it’s easy to be proactive from a customer success perspective.”

Redeveloping their knowledge base required a lot of effort, but the results were evident almost immediately.

“In the few weeks since we’ve re-launched the Uberflip Knowledge Base, we’ve seen customer engagement with it go through the roof and have gotten nothing but positive feedback from our customers, partners, and the Uberflip team.”

Here is how UberFlip’s new knowledge base looked like:

 

They did not stop improving their knowledge base, though, so it looks even better now:

“When creating your own knowledge base, ensure that it’s customer-centric, regularly audited and updated with new content, well-structured, optimized from a metrics and integrations standpoint, readily accessible, and truly showcases that you care about your customers’ success” advised Sam. 

He concluded by saying that although a great knowledge base certainly isn’t the be-all-end-all of great customer experience, it is a must-have foundation. 

That’s exactly how you should see it: as a foundation of all your customer support efforts. 

And you better make sure that it is solid. 

Which Analytics Tools Should You Use?

Now that you understand the role gathering and analyzing data play in building a knowledge base you might be wondering which analytics tools should you use.

Here are three suggestions:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular web analytics tool that helps you track and analyze traffic, understand how visitors behave on your website and see what’s happening in real-time.

Its functionality is probably more than enough to meet your needs if you run a small business. Plus, it’s free! 

Freshdesk

Knowledge base

Freshdesk is a powerful customer support software that is used by over 150,000 businesses of all sizes. 

It has all the features that you might need, from ticketing to self-service to reporting and analytics.

This means that you can provide customers support, build a knowledge base, and see the data, all with one app.

Plus, it’s a very affordable and free helpdesk software.

Survey Monkey

Analytics

Survey Monkey is the world’s leading online survey software.

It allows you to create surveys, send them out to your customers, and analyze the results. 

They have a lot of useful features, such as SurveyMonkey genius that predicts how well your survey will perform.

Their surveys are designed with the user in mind so they are easy to take which leads to better completion rates. 

It’s a great way to learn more about your customers and get direct feedback from them.

There’s a basic free plan available, but their best value plan costs  €36/month (billed annually).

Using these three analytics tools will help you build a comprehensive knowledge base that is helpful and easy to use. 

Conclusion

As Sam Brennand said, a knowledge base is a must-have foundation, so you can’t afford to neglect it.

Treat it as a product. Do the research, build the best knowledge base that you can, use analytics to gather and analyze data, then optimize based on that data. 

Yes, creating a comprehensive resource library takes a lot of work, but your customers will appreciate it.

Moreover, it will reduce the number of tickets your customer support team gets each day, allowing them to focus on complicated issues that customers can’t resolve on their own. F

And don’t forget that building a help desk knowledge base software is a never-ending project. Make sure to update it regularly. Keep that foundation solid.