How to Keep Your Knowledge Base Up to Scratch

Knowledge management systems or KMS illustration representing systematic process of advice, insights, information, practice, process, improvement, people and technology.
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An easily accessible and up-to-date knowledge base is an invaluable resource for customers and agents alike, and with AI being further implemented in contact centres, it’s about to become even more important – but maintaining it is an ongoing challenge.

That’s why we asked our panel of experts for their top tips on effective knowledge base management.

15 Knowledge Management Techniques That You Need to Know

1. Get More People Involved to Help Spot Mistakes Faster

Pierce Buckley at babelforce.
Pierce Buckley

Nobody gives direct and structured feedback like your own staff. If they can’t engage with it easily, it’s a sure sign that customers won’t be able to.

What’s more, getting more eyes on product information guarantees that mistakes and omissions are fixed fast. It’s a great way to get extra benefit out of the investment in knowledge management.

Contributed by: Pierce Buckley, CEO & Co-Founder, babelforce

2. Regularly Audit Your Knowledge Base

If you don’t have all your knowledge articles in one place, you’re setting your agents and customers up for failure.

Also, make sure you are regularly auditing the knowledge base to ensure that all the information is accurate and up to date.

Businesses are constantly changing policies, products, and procedures, so it’s important to keep a close eye on your knowledge base to ensure everything is relevant, up to date, and easy to find.

3. Make a Game of Finding Specific Information in the Knowledge Base

John Ortiz, Technology Sales Manager, MiaRec
John Ortiz

One way you can ensure that your agents are getting familiar with the knowledge base is by introducing gamification to the process.

Why not make a game where you give out daily or weekly challenges to find specific information in the knowledge base?

For example, find the specific piece of content that helps with Scenario B. When an agent finds the right piece of content, they can be awarded with points that can lead to monetary value later.

Contributed by: John Ortiz, Technology Sales Manager, MiaRec

4. Include Verbs in Your Article Titles

Each title should have a verb in it!

People read knowledge articles because they want to do things, and the verb identifies the thing they want to do – whether that’s to upload, download, or replace (for example).

BONUS TIP – Be sure to include your users’ words in your titles too – not the official wording that the content owners or software developers use. For example, if everyone calls the start screen the “blue screen”, make sure your title refers to the “blue screen” too!

5. Start Every Article With a Summary Sentence

Leslie O'Flahavan
Leslie
O’Flahavan

Always include a brief one-sentence summary that describes the outcome of following the instructions in that article – before you provide the full information.

It can be difficult to summarize the article so briefly, but it will be invaluable to your agents, as it will confirm to them that they’ve found what they’ve been looking for, especially if there are lots of similar articles to choose from.

6. Break Up Chunks of Text With Scannable Headlines

Take a proactive approach to aligning what your agents are looking for with what you’re delivering.

Write your knowledge base articles with distinct sections – announced by scannable, easy-to-understand headings.

These can be in the form of a question or a statement to present a full idea or explanation an agent might be looking for. Single words and short phrases are inadequate signposts.

It can help to use the reporting features in the knowledge base itself to find out what questions your agents are searching for and then using these headings in the article content.

7. Caption Your Screenshots So Agents Can Find What They Need

With knowledge articles, the writer should always keep in mind that the reader’s goal is to read as little as possible, and they will rarely read the whole article from top to bottom.

So, get in the habit of captioning any supporting screenshots in a way that helps people see what the screenshot is of and how it will help them.

Contributed by: Leslie O’Flahavan, Principal and Owner at E-WRITE

8. Deliver Nuggets of Knowledge in the Moment

Frank Sherlock at CallMiner
Frank Sherlock

Knowledgeable agents come from having a successful onboarding, but more importantly, continuous training needs to happen as an ongoing process.

Even with that, agents can’t be expected to know everything or handle every customer situation perfectly. That’s where real-time access to knowledge bases is critical.

Take, for example, when a customer calls to swap suppliers to a competitor. Organizations that have invested in the right technology can automatically identify a competitor mention, and with an integrated knowledge base, can deliver information to the agent, such as a competitor battle card, without them even asking for it.

When information like this is delivered in real time, agents can use their previous training to quickly understand key points from the information and effectively communicate why the customer should stay.

These nuggets of knowledge delivered to the agent in the moment can turn a potential churn into a happier customer experience.

Contributed by: Frank Sherlock, VP of International, CallMiner

9. Adapt Your Approach to the Sector You Are Working In

Knowledge management should start with understanding your unique needs, and you should embrace a strategic, step-by-step approach that precisely meets them.

For example:

  • For healthcare providers, using semantic tagging to categorize and label information could enhance patient searches with diverse medical and non-medical terms.
  • In the tech sector, fostering user forums for technical problem-solving might be pivotal.
  • For industries like travel or utilities, where real-time updates matter, dynamic FAQs or bulletin boards could be indispensable during unexpected events.

10. Break Down Silos Across Different Departments

Richard Gregory at Odigo
Richard
Gregory

Avoid disrupting phone interactions by steering clear of separate, glitchy knowledge management platforms.

Instead, implement cross-departmental collaboration platforms to facilitate knowledge sharing, enabling insights and expertise from various areas to contribute to a comprehensive knowledge base.

Choose an integrated approach that streamlines processes and elevates the overall usability of your knowledge management system.

Contributed by: Richard Gregory, Senior Sales Executive at Odigo

11. Analyse Interactions to Spot Opportunities for Improvement

Byron Copley, Associate Content Strategist, Five9
Byron Copley

One way to continuously improve a knowledge base is to analyse every customer interaction (whether voice or digital) to extract valuable insights into both customer experiences and agent performance.

This approach allows for a detailed understanding of breakdowns in customer journeys across contact channels, allowing for targeted improvements and continuous enhancement.

Leveraging the likes of automated quality scoring, trend and root-cause analysis, and AI-driven natural language understanding, analytics can help boost positive interaction outcomes.

Contributed by: Byron Copley, Associate Content Strategist, Five9

12. Empower Agents to Ask a Bot or Virtual Assistant for Help

Elizabeth Tobey at NICE
Elizabeth
Tobey

Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the game when it comes to knowledge management.

What once was an archaic conglomeration of difficult-to-navigate knowledge articles has turned into an agent’s and customer’s best friend.

The key is infusing AI with an organization’s knowledge base while making sure the proper guardrails are in place to ensure that outputs are accurate, appropriate, and relevant.

AI has made it easy for agents to go into an organization’s knowledge base and instantly find the answer they need to resolve a customer inquiry.

There is no need to search any more. AI does the grunt work for employees and the answers it generates are easy to understand, no decoding needed.

Contributed by: Elizabeth Tobey, Head of Marketing Digital Solutions, NICE

13. Write for a Layperson – Not a Subject-Matter Expert

Adam Grey, Information Co-Ordinator & Internal Content Editor for IONOS
Adam Grey

The most common thing I see that grinds my gears is guidance that has been written by “experts” to teach those with no experience in the topic.

They forget that not everyone has the same skills or knowledge as them and what they have written still has a barrier to entry for the reader.

So, when I am writing knowledge articles, I make sure the information makes sense to a layperson in a topic – as it’s the most effective way to serve up information to my audience and help them gain the knowledge they need.

14. Speak to the People You Create Content For

Previous editors in my role just cobbled everything together and published it, leaving it up to the audience to find the useful information for themselves.

In a fast-paced call centre environment, this is not ideal and deters people from using the tools at their disposal.

Instead, speak to the people you create content for, learn what they like, how they use the tools and resources and continue to innovate.

Be open to feedback, and workshop content and new ideas with readers to see if it works for them.

Also, be open to feedback, and workshop content and new ideas with readers to see if it works for them.

It helps to be available and open to conversations regarding the content, but also don’t be afraid to say “no” to things.

Tool and corporate limitations might prevent changes that readers want to see too, so ensure you always explain why things must be a certain way if they cannot be changed.

15. Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way of Creating the Best Content

There is never a ‘perfect article’, something can always be changed, improved upon, or reinvented to get the information across to your readers in new ways.

Also try and remove any ego from what you create! At the end of the day, you’re there to create the best product for the user, and what you want might not always be the best thing for them.

Contributed by: Adam Grey, Information Co-ordinator & Internal Content Editor for IONOS

If you want to learn more about knowledge management in the contact centre read these articles next:

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