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Technical Support Tips: How to Supercharge Your Knowledge Base

Peter Customer Service 18 Nov 2016


Your knowledge base is an essential part of your support framework. It's often the first place your customers go to solve a problem, or to find out how to do something.

However, as well as using your knowledge base for support purposes, you could use it to help customers maximise the value they gain from the software, boosting customer success.

Here are three tips to help you supercharge your knowledge base.

Make articles discoverable

It's likely that you have a number of help articles for certain features, within different areas of your product. So why not link them together?

For example, RotaCloud has three distinct copy-paste tools: a couple of simple ones, and a more advanced one. The advanced one has its own help article, and the other two are combined in another separate one.

You could link the simple article to the advanced one like this:

"Looking for something more powerful? Check out our Copy Custom Range tool!"

And vice-versa:

"Does this look too complicated for what you need? We have a couple of simpler copy-paste tools too!"

Relating similar help articles will help your users discover more product features, which will lead to improved customer success.

Use GIFs, screenshots and video

Reading how to do something is great, but it's even better to be shown. It caters to a different style of learning and engages other parts of the brain than reading, which makes the content easier to understand and remember.

If appropriate, include a GIF in your help article which shows the process you're describing.

GIFs are often better than videos - they tend to be shorter, and they don't have audio. People will be less worried about accidentally playing sound at high volume in a quiet office! GIFs also play and loop automatically, making them ideal for demonstrating shorter processes or interactions.

Video is sometimes appropriate, particularly when the process being described is long or complex, or requires commentary. We use a couple of videos in our knowledge base for some of our more difficult-to-explain features and processes.

If you're looking for a tool to easily create animated GIF screenshots, I wholeheartedly recommend Recordit for macOS and Windows.

Structure by Action

It's very tempting to organise your knowledge base in terms of features. For example, we have features like 'Copy Custom Range' and 'Availability Patterns'.

We could easily have our knowledge base articles organised and named by the features they correspond to.

Sometimes this is helpful, but only if the customer knows the tool that they want to use. A lot of the time, they're trying to find out how to perform a certain action because they don't know which feature they should be using.

In these instances, users will find action-based titles more useful. Something like "How do employees indicate their availability?" or "Advanced copy-paste for shifts" would set users in the right direction.

Your approach will need adjusting over time as you learn which features your users already know about, and which you'd like them to discover through your knowledge base. Keeping track of how people ask about certain features can help with this.

For example, if lots of people ask, "What's the availability section?" you should consider naming that knowledge base article 'availability section'.

Conversely, if a lot of people ask, "How do my staff tell me when they're available to work?" then you could consider naming the article based on the action.

Wrap-up

These three changes are all relatively small but can make a world of difference to your software's knowledge base.

If users can find solutions themselves, you'll reduce your support burden and help your clients discover more software features.

Do you have any top tips for getting the most out of your knowledge base? Let us know in the comments!