Many companies create a knowledge base – FAQs, product documentation, feature updates – for their customers or users. Although this is an excellent way to improve customer experience by enabling self-service, what most businesses don't realize is that a knowledge base may also be used for improving internal operations.
Creating an internal knowledge base helps centralize all your company information and useful resources for employees in one convenient location. It'll also help new employees get up to speed more quickly while streamlining internal workflows and processes.
Here are four core ideas to keep in mind if you wish to create a knowledge base that's truly valuable to your company.
1. Consider What Knowledge You'll Include
Apart from installing company rules and guidelines, a strong base of knowledge empowers your teams to take more efficient approaches in their daily duties, for example customer support, employee training, user onboarding, and so forth. For that, you want your knowledge base full of relevant content and resources that are created with your teams in your mind.
So, first and foremost, you'll need to decide what all information you'll be covering in your internal knowledge base. It's important to try and cover all sorts of content you think is going to be useful for your employees, but simultaneously ensure they don't feel overwhelmed once they open the base.
Review your company's workflow and processes, talk to employees from various departments, and try to find out common concerns and time-consuming activities related to your day-to-day operations. In doing so, you'll be able to identify topics and issues you can effectively address in your knowledge base.
Lastly, coalesce your findings right into a final list of things that will need to go into your knowledge base. For instance, after speaking with your sales team, you may establish that having tried-and-tested email templates inside your knowledge base can help them close sensitive deals.
Also, instead of creating everything from scratch, work out how much of this content is already available, and repurpose it.
2. Make the Content Easy to Digest
To make your company base of knowledge a genuinely useful resource for your employees, the content should be easy to digest. Having a well-defined structure and navigation within the base is crucial to help the employees save time and boost productivity.
For every piece of content, keep the audience in mind. The information you provide the employees must be easy to consume and should support their specific needs.
For example, whether it's a document about common customer support questions, it's a good idea to present the information as a quick FAQ. For the legal department, a comprehensive group of documents with each covering every minor detail are usually necesary.
Also, it goes without saying that the content within your company knowledge base needs to be searchable. Only then will the employees quickly find what they're looking for without wasting time browsing around the base.
3. Encourage Content Contribution From Different Teams
For your understanding base, it's a good idea to encourage collaboration from employees in various departments. This way, everyone inside your company feels more involved and can engage with each other's work.
So, for instance, one of your sales reps writes articles about handling tricky negotiations with leads. A new sales rep who was recently hired reads the content and finds it useful, so they can give a “thumbs up”. Another, more experienced rep, notices two key pointers were missing and feels they needs to know about it, so he/she drops a comment with suggestions and also the author adds it. Much like that, your employees are bonding, learning, and growing together.
Using an understanding base software like Document360, you could have such social features in your knowledge base and enable your employees to add their insights. You can have templates for workers so they can quickly contribute content. By allowing employees to create and engage with the content, you'll create a thriving community that supports personal and professional growth for everyone on the team.
Thus, your customer support reps can find similar cases they're dealing with, new hires can find handy training guides, your marketing team can find email templates for successful content outreach, and so on.
In fact, you can use your knowledge base content as a marketing tool to better connect with potential leads, current clients, and readers. Have employees from different teams to produce public blog posts, how-to guides, and infographics for marketing purposes. Such content can serve the twin purpose of improving internal operations and simultaneously educate your potential customers.
So, for example, your customer support team can publish an FAQ article. Your development team can showcase expertise by publishing how-to articles on technical subjects. All of this helps in improving your online presence on search engines and demonstrating your brand's thought leadership, besides solidifying your knowledge base.
4. Keep Updating Your Knowledge Base With Relevant Information
Your knowledge base needs to continually grow and evolve, as must your organization. That is, your knowledge base should be regularly updated with new information, with outdated information being removed, or your employees will not get the most out of it. If possible, all new insights and relevant company data should be added to the knowledge base.
How many deals did you close in the past quarter? What were the outcomes of your customer satisfaction survey? Do you have new-and-improved marketing templates? All this information should evolve inside your company's knowledge base, as it helps the employees become better at their jobs and allows them to stay informed about your company's growth.
Over to You
A well-executed knowledge base will improve employee productivity and therefore, business output, by decreasing the time spent trying to find information. Sure, setting up a company knowledge base will take considerable time and effort, but by using the tips outlined above, you're sure to realize the maximum ROI for all your upfront efforts.
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