8 Keep your knowledge base up to date
10 responsibilities and duties of customer service employees
What exactly are the day-to-day customer service representative duties? Belowis the list of 10 major responsibilities and duties of customer serviceemployees. Ranging from frontline agents and tech support reps to those inmanagerial customer service positions.
5. Providing proactive customer outreach
According to numerous studies, today’s consumers expect customer service to bemore proactive and personalized. Thus, customer service representatives arenot just required to reactively respond to requests. Proactive customeroutreach is also becoming a common duty of service employees. It may includeoffering support before customers even ask for help.For example; * through proactive chat * informing customers about real or potential product/service issues * monitoring brand mentions * engaging in customer conversations on social media * proactively asking customers for feedback
6. Handling customer complaints
Dealing with unhappy customers and handling complaints is an almostinescapable duty of many customer service employees. This applies especiallyto frontline reps, who are usually the first point of contact for customers.Agents need to be trained for a wide range of customer service soft skills.Such as good listening, clear communication, empathy, ability to use positivelanguage, etc. Therefore, being able to diffuse frustrated customers andensure effective and successful complaint resolution. For example; let’s justsay an agent is facing a conflict that is beyond the scope of what he/she canhandle. In this situation, the agent is responsible for escalating thecustomer to the appropriate internal teams.
Benefits of Having a Knowledge Base
Having a knowledge base nowadays is absolutely essential for any business.Especially when it comes to Software as a Service.If you really want your SaaS business to be successful, you will need to startbuilding a knowledge base from day one. Why?To begin with, SaaS companies have a monetization model that focuses on theirMonthly Recurring Revenue (MRR).Essentially, that means you have to not only convert new customers to use yourproduct but also to keep existing customers happy, so they don’t leave you foryour competitor.One of the main reasons why customers stop using a product is because theyfind it too hard to use or they don’t receive the right support. And to topthat off, customers nowadays expect immediate self-service support.Heck, they don’t just expect it, they demand it!Nowadays, if your customer can find a solution to his or her issue withouthaving to wait or communicate with someone they will adore your product.That’s why having a good and well-optimized knowledge base can reduce yourcustomer churn and put you ahead of your competition.Asides from this, a knowledge base can greatly benefit your company in variousother ways.
Internal Knowledge Base Benefits
Increased productivityHaving a structured source of internal information can increase your company’soverall productivity and efficiency.Imagine one of your employees has a question regarding some company policy,some specific guideline, or about best practices and is not sure what to do.If he asks one of his/her coworkers, he will most likely get an answer to hisquestion.However, those employees will have to diverge their attention from whatevertask they are accomplishing to answering their coworker’s question.If you have ever worked in an office where such things happen continuously,you probably have noticed that it takes a lot of time for you to focus back onthe initial task. In fact, it takes about 15 to 30 minutes for an employee toget back to the same level of concentration once he or she gets distracted.That’s not a problem, however, if your employee can find an answer simply bybrowsing your internal knowledge base.Reduce Onboarding CostsIt’s common for onboarding processes to be time-consuming and costly.Employees need to go through a series of steps and most of the time thisprocess is semi-automated using workflow software.However, even when using workflow software to automate the process, employeesstill need to communicate with other employees and supervisors in order togain the necessary knowledge for them to start working.All of this can be automated if that knowledge can be found somewhere – thatplace being within your company’s internal knowledge base.Imagine this scenario; two new content writers get hired in your company andthey complete their onboarding process. All the necessary accounts are createdfor them and they are given a short intro on the content writing guidelinesthat they must follow.They sit on their desk, the initial onboarding excitement wears off and theyneed to actually start working. This is the point they realize they haveforgotten most of the guidelines.Instead of panicking, trying to remember, or wasting other employee’s time byasking for a second explanation, they can log-in to the company’s knowledgebase repository and search for the content creation guidelines.Not only does this reduce onboarding time and costs but it also contributes tothe overall company productivity.Improve Communication and CooperationAs your company grows, you will notice that most of your departments and teamswill start getting more and more intertwined. After all, the company workslike an engine which is made of several parts, and if they don’t worktogether, you can’t move forward.Employees from different teams and departments will have to startcollaborating more. And sometimes, communication between them can be hard tomaintain.That’s where your centralized repository of internal knowledge steps in.Employees can store and share any needed information with each other, thusreducing confusion and allowing them to work independently without the needfor constant supervision.This greatly lowers management overhead and improves team synergy.Store Company Knowledge and Improve Company ValuationCan you believe that most companies don’t have their knowledge or businessprocesses documented?What happens if their employees leave?The frequency at which employees leave their companies is on a rise. It iswell known that Millennials and Generation Z, switch workplaces almost everytwo years.And with them leaving, their knowledge is also lost. This, inevitably, hardensthe work of those who’re left to pick up the pieces.Aside from the above, having documented knowledge is extremely important forSaaS startups. If at any point in time you decide to sell your company or tryto get additional investment, having your company knowledge documented turnsknowledge, an intangible asset, into a valuable and transferable asset.
External Knowledge Base Benefits
Reduce Customer Support CostsWhether you are a startup or a well-developed company, you don’t want to dumpa lot of cash on customer support if it’s not an effective use of your budget.Certainly, providing the best experience for your customers is your number onepriority. However, with the help of an external knowledge base, you canprovide a superb experience while cutting down on cost.Having a good knowledge base lowers the number of support tickets your supportstaff has to handle. As a startup, minimizing costs in every possible area isvery important.The same can be said for bigger companies. Having an external knowledge basecan reduce employee overhead. Meaning your staff will be able to focus only oncritical issues and tickets of high importance.Higher customer satisfactionRemember the Social Media Today statistics we mentioned above? It is true –people would prefer to answer their questions by themselves rather than askingfor someone’s aid.People genuinely don’t like it when they’re in need of something or whenthey’re not knowledgeable on a certain topic and have to ask someone. Byproviding them with this information right at their fingertips, customerretention will increase without sacrificing your company’s customer service.Reduce Customer Wait TimesWe all know that irritating feeling when we’re waiting for customer servicewhile being put on hold for more than 10 minutes.With a proper knowledge base – one that is organized well and explicitly –your customers won’t be put on hold. There will be no transferring betweensupport agents, no “we’ll call you back in a bit”, etc. All their questionswill be answered with one button click. How cool is that?
What is a knowledge base and why do you need one?
A knowledge base is a centralized self-service collection where theinformation about a product, service, specific topics, or the company as awhole is stored, organized, and shared.Come to think of it, “knowledge” is a powerful word. But it does reflect thepurpose of the whole construction quite well. While building a knowledge base,your main goal is to provide all the most essential information in a condensedand digestible format. Put the entire wisdom you’ve accumulated into one smallknowledge base section, and your customers will thank you for that.At this point you’re probably wondering, “What do these ‘thanks’ meanexactly?”Well, the knowledge base benefits are multiple – they relieve your serviceagents, provide answers to the most frequently asked questions, and raiseengagement and satisfaction (while catering to the introverts among us ?). * 24/7 customer support availability * Increased customer satisfaction * Higher customer engagement and retention * Increased sales and conversions * Reduced customer support spendingsThese are just some of the most apparent advantages of creating andmaintaining a thorough knowledge base. Numerous studies have confirmed that,too.According to the Microsoft state of customer service report, 77% of customerssay they have used a self-service portal at least once. Aspect reports that 3out of 4 consumers prefer to solve their customer service issues on their own.And apparently, 90% of consumers expect an organization to offer a self-service customer support portal.I can go on and on here, but the stats are rather self-evident. Customers wantself-service that is well-structured, detailed, and helpful. It’s as simple asthat. Are you ready to create your own knowledge base now? Cause this 10-stepguide is all you need to do just that.
2. Map out your knowledge base structure
The most optimal knowledge base structure is category-section-article withcategory being the most general level and article – the most detailed. It isuniversal and can fit the requirements of any business.NotionWhile we recommend that you stick to the category-section-article structure,it is totally up to you to organize content within each of these structurallevels. There is, however, one rule that fits all – think like your customer.Step into your customer’s shoes and try to imagine how they would want yourhelp center to be organized.The choice is yours, the main thing is to make the structure intuitive andclear for the user. When they first navigate to your knowledge base site, theyshould see immediately what they need to click next to get an answer to theirquestion.Start with defining the categories and sections. Set up the categories thatwill be the top level units of your knowledge base and represent the logicalsubdivision of the entire content. Categories should lead the user to thecontent they are searching for and clearly indicate what’s inside. Forexample, you can have such categories as “Getting started”, “My account”,“Troubleshooting”.Once you are done with the categories, add sections. Sections group yourknowledge base content into logical chunks within a category. For example,under the “Getting started” category, your user will expect such sections as“Pricing plans” or “Install the app”.With your sections in place, you can start filling your knowledge base withactual content in the form of articles.NOTE!To make it even more skimmable, your knowledge base must have a searchfeature. Depending on the complexity of your knowledge base, you can choosedifferent search functions: * Full-text search allowing to search for strings * Autosuggestion completing the search strings as you type * Advanced search where you can select the category or section to search in, define your search string as a complete word only, search by date or relevance
4. Write knowledge base articles
Ideally, an article should represent a single use case explaining how toachieve a particular goal. If you are working on the “Getting started”category and the “Install the app” section, you might consider adding sucharticles as “Install on Windows”, “Install on Mac”, etc.Make your content as complete and explicit as possible. A good practice is toadd screenshots or videos when explaining a sequence of actions required toachieve the user’s goal. Developer content might require code samples. Mostediting tools allow adding various types of content, from multimedia to codesamples.It’s also useful to highlight particularly important parts of your text aswarnings or special info boxes. By doing so, you take all the guesswork outand stress what really matters.If you use HelpCrunch for building your knowledge base, writing an article isas easy as it could possibly get. It has a WYSIWYG editor where you just typeand format your text as you want it to appear, insert images and videos andimmediately see the result.You can keep your new articles as drafts for the time being. It would makemore sense to upload and configure at least a dozen of them before going live.But more on that later as we have more work to do here.
8. Keep your knowledge base up to date
As your product improves, the knowledge base should develop, too. Includeknowledge base revision into the scope of each release, so that a new productversion comes accompanied by an updated knowledge base.For example, if you are changing the authentication method, make sure youupdate the corresponding KB article. If any product component is added orremoved, the knowledge base should reflect the change, too.
9. Integrate it into your customer support processes
If you integrate the knowledge base with the help desk software (and sometools, like HelpCrunch, include both and allow setting up integrations betweenthe knowledge base and the customer support environment, you might notice somereduction in support tickets.The reason is quite simple – when the customer turns to support but manages toresolve their issue on their own, they no longer need to create a ticket.An optimal practice is to provide links to your knowledge base right from theSupport or Contact Us page. This way, you are giving your customer the optionto search the KB before contacting the support.If you implemented live chat as one of the channels, it is even a better ideato integrate it with your knowledge base, too. This way, the customer openinga new chat will be offered a choice of articles related to their inquiry.Again, such an integration will reduce the number of support tickets and,consequently, the load on your service agents. Moreover, since customers dotend to prefer self-service over contacting a person, the level ofsatisfaction may also increase.
12. Promote your knowledge base content
It’s time to make your knowledge base available to your customers and promoteits use. There is more than one way to do it: * If you have a practice of issuing release notes for your product, mention the knowledge base there, too. * Post a banner on your website containing the link to the knowledge base * If relevant, include the links to the knowledge base in your product * If you have implemented integration between your knowledge base and the help desk tool or live chat, start showing links to the knowledge base in the chat or support tickets.Use all possible ways to promote your knowledge base. The more activelycustomers use it, the more effective your customer self-service will be.