By Robin Singh
“A knowledge base is used by companies to reduce support tickets and bring down customer support costs. At the basic level it’s the FAQ in your website that helps customers find instant answers, on their own without calling your support or raising a ticket. Using a knowledge base software companies can create, not just FAQs, but all kinds of help content from user guides, software manuals, online wikis and more.”
The knowledge base can be considered to be a customer’s best friend when it comes to learning about a certain product. The sad truth is that many companies do not offer quality knowledge-base content, and this is something that is very much needed. To write an amazing knowledge-base article that will be helpful to your customers, you need to do it in an organized and clean manner, with some sincere effort. The article has to be informative, clear, engaging and mindful of why and how the customer has searched for help. So, if you are not sure how to do it, we have prepared several tips to help you write an amazing knowledge-base article.
Use Simple Titles
Your titles need to be as straightforward as possible, e.g. something that your customers will search when they get stuck. People always search by using keywords, so create the titles that will include them. Rely on action words like “How to,” “Using” and “Setting Up.”
Do Not Be Uncertain
Customers refer to your articles because they are looking for a solution for their problem, so the most important goal here is to be as clear as you can. No matter how big of an expert you are, your article should be written with the beginner in mind, as if the customer has just begun using your product. Try to avoid using advanced terminology and jargon, and always mention all to-dos in the right order, because in some cases customers experience problems because they hit a roadblock.
It is much safer to assume that they are in need of guidance for each and every step. If you make the assumptions about “simpler” instructions, you will sabotage yourself. There is no harm in over-communicating.
Easy Readable Content
As it goes for your voice in writing, there are a couple of suggestions that we have prepared for you:
- Avoid writing in prose, even if it is not too far from a conversational tone, address your customers like you would your friends, but adjust your tone through proper editing.
- Think about the goals of your readers. Will the article be about learning exactly how the product works, or be a solution to a problem a customer may experience while using it? You have to adjust your tone along with the topic.
- If you will be writing an article that will be informative and insightful, you can use a little bit of humor, but be careful, because you can easily cross the line and annoy the readers.
- Do not use slang or little-known words, because you can easily get misunderstood and offend the readers.
- Be on point, because you do not want to drag out the article and spread the important information over too many words.
- Your articles need to be engaging to encourage people to read them, but in the same time be careful not to lose the solutions in excessive prose, “personality” and inappropriate jokes.
Your Content Needs To Be Easy To Browse
You do not want to intimidate your readers by writing a wall of text, because sometimes solutions cannot be easily found, and then customers take the next step by contacting support. This is considered to be a failure in communication and can be frustrating both for the customer and you. This is where you need to use line breaks and sub-headings to create an easy to read read document.
So, by using bullet points, callouts, visuals and spacing, you will be highlighting important information and keep all the crucial instructions visible at one glance. You need to tailor the experience around the people who you are helping, in this case a confused customer who is trying to find a solution for their problem.
Articles Need To Be Organized By Logic
When you design your articles around the workflow of your readers, they become good documentation. You do not want your customer to flounder around, so it pays off to the get that “flow” right. There are several principles you need to work around:
- Organizing an article in chronological order, this is simply a must, because the first thing that customers need to do has to be Step 1.
- Having in mind the work-flow, meaning that when you are structuring your article, you should not put a video in the middle of your document, because you will distract the readers.
- The structure of your article needs to contain momentum and activity, so do not interrupt the work-flow of your problem-solving article until you’ve reached near the end.
Also, place all the links strategically, so that the customers can click on them only when they need additional information and are ready for it. If you are planning on writing a longer article, it is wise to create a table of contents. This is a minimal effort, but will affect the reader’s experience a great deal. By structuring your article in a smart way, more users will actually read the article to the very end, and you will decrease the chances of the readers getting frustrated, giving up and contacting the support.
We can certainly say that modus operandi of almost every knowledge base is “Show, don’t tell”. Sometimes with the use of screen-shots and sub-headings you can show your readers exactly what they need to do. You can also add some graphic elements, for example, directional arrows that will highlight the important parts of the instructions.
These are our guidelines in how to write an amazing knowledge base article. If you follow them closely, you will be on the right path to creating coherent content that will provide a solution to any problem your customers may have. Writing an amazing knowledge base article will be a big benefit for both you and your customers.
Robin Singh is a technical support executive with a combined experience of 6 years. He currently works with Live2Support – a live customer and sales chat software by ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.