A knowledge base – also called a knowledge management system (KMS) – is the repository of information that customers and/or staff need to use your product or service, from basics to getting the most out of your product. The content comes from the subject matter experts (usually the creators and top support staff), and is expanded and improved over time.
Employees, especially new employees, will use the KMS to familiarize themselves with the product, and customers will often use the knowledge base themselves rather than call in for support. It takes an investment of time and money to create a proper knowledge base, but you will absolutely get more out of it than you put in, especially if it is interactive. Here’s why:
1) 40% of Customer Interactions Are Now Only On the Web
Customers today are calling customer service on the phone less and less than they used to. A recent survey of CRM managers and professionals by DestinationCRM found that 40% of customer interactions were over the internet, including mobile web and apps. Of those companies, 45% reported “measurable reductions” in phone inquiries. That means less time that employers have to pay support staff to answer the phone, and more of the time they do spend is on more advanced programs; this also leads to less employee burnout.
2) Solve Customer Issues For Just $0.25
I just mentioned that fewer customers will call in and require a live agent. Here is a more clear breakdown of those costs. A 2010 study by Forrester research on the benefits of click-to-call and click-to-chat showed that chats can cost a company up to $5 per customer interaction, and phone calls can cost as much as twice that. Automation brings that down even further, because rather than paying for staff to help, once the base is up and running, you’re essentially paying for the cost of running the server. One KMS provider, Hubspot, estimates that cost is a meager 25 cents per interaction.
3) 47% of Companies That Have a KMS Report Increased Sales
According to the same DestinationCRM survey, 47% of those surveyed reported an increase in sales through self-service and 54% reported an increase in web traffic, compared to before deploying a knowledge base. This is in part because a knowledge base answers many technical support questions before the buyer even makes a purchase. Your customer is more informed and more confident, which brings down purchasing resistance. In other words, once you set it up, the KMS is working for you!
4) Save $1,000 by Keeping Employees Happy
Onboarding a new employee is expensive. In order to train the new employee, existing staff have to take time from their tasks and spend it with the newbie, so you’re paying twice over. According to a 2014 study by Training Mag, the training expenditure per learner for a small or midsize business was in the range of $819-$1,238; let’s round that to $1,000. That’s $1,000 per employee, and if there’s a high rate of churn, it’s money down the drain. By having a knowledge base, it empowers the new employee to learn at his or her own rate without having to interrupt the trainer for every small question, and can even brush up at home.
5) Every 1% Improvement in FCR Means 1% Higher Customer Satisfaction
The best way to reduce the cost of a new employee is to keep the ones you already have happy. According to 3CLogic, for every 1% improvement in first call resolution rate, contact centers will see a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction rates and a 1-5% improvement in employee satisfaction. Repetition is also a reason for burnout, and with a proper KMS, they will see lower “zero level solution” calls in the first place. The KMS also is an opportunity for collaboration between team members that can foster connections within a company.
6) Your Existing Customers Will Help You For Zero Dollars
A knowledge base is written by your team members, but as customers ask questions, and, if you let them, answer them, it becomes a become a curated but crowd-sourced source of information. It’s possible that customers will even figure out solutions that you haven’t, and you can add those great ideas to your own training. In addition, your customers are your real-time bug detectors and product developers. They may find a mistake or oversight that you didn’t, and your KMS is the first place they’ll look to figure out the problem. Similarly, if they’re looking for how to do something your product or service doesn’t do, that’s an instant suggestion box.
7) 78% of Millennial Customers May Not Give You A “Second” Chance
Here is some bad news: According to a Salesforce study, although 89% of millennials use a search engine to find customer service, 78% of millennial customers have moved their business somewhere else after one single poor customer service experience. The importance of first-call resolution is higher than ever. Your best bet for keeping younger customers is to let them help themselves with a knowledge management system. It isn’t just millennials, 40% of customers, according to Forbes, would rather skip human contact altogether in favor of self-service.
8) 5% Growth in Retention Can Increase Profits by 95%
According to a study by Bain and Company, having only a 5% growth in retention can increase profits by 25-95%. This is because compared to the cost and effort required to get a customer’s first purchase, many companies don’t even break on that first one. It often can take several purchases for the retailer to be ahead. In their example, a customer who purchased from an online apparel retailer once was likely to refer three friends, but a customer who made seven purchases was likely to recommend the store to ten friends. In other words, customer loyalty is tough to earn, but if you are able to satisfy the customers, you will see significant growth over time.
The Final Word
Building a proper knowledge base requires time and effort. It will be continually updated with new information as your customers use your product and you, in turn, improve it. That’s why it’s called an investment. We at GetVoIP are always in favor of spending the necessary capital expenditure for long-term lower operational spending. A knowledge base will save your employees time and help retain customers, which in turn will both keep and put more money in your pocket. That is the very definition of a worthy investment.
About the Author:
Reuben Yonatan is the CEO @ GetVoIP, a leading VoIP systems comparison guide that connects shoppers with relevant providers.