A knowledge base is a centralized, online repository of all your essential information, conversations, and resources. It is designed to provide quick answers when you need them and includes guides, FAQs, documents, chat transcripts, etc. If it is set up well, you can really boost team productivity with a knowledge base.
You can use a knowledge base both internally and externally. An internal knowledge base is a repository of information for your employees to help them collaborate better and be more productive. For customers, an external knowledge base, like FAQ pages, can help them find answers to their queries on their own without wasting any time or bothering your customer support team.
Historically, knowledge bases have been static, which makes it challenging to keep them updated and relevant. However, a modern knowledge base software empowers your organization with an automatically growing information repository that includes all your critical communications.
But, do you really need a knowledge base?
Well, the answer depends on your long and short business goals. If you are looking at building a more productive workforce, an internal knowledge base is a great place to start. In terms of customer experience, if you wish to improve customer service, an external knowledge base is always ready to help customers when they need it.
According to data, 66 percent of customers try self-service before they decide to contact customer support. This number goes up to 89 percent among millennials, a generation that forms the bulk of your buyers. Also, knowledge base content adds to your SEO efforts by improving your site’s searchability by regularly adding well-written and useful content.
But building a knowledge base is not a day’s work. Instead, it is a long term process of putting all your key documents, presentations, and reports together to build a valuable source of information for both your employees and customers.
Below, we have listed four ways to use a knowledge base to boost your team’s productivity:
1. Improved Employee Onboarding
Hiring the right employees in your team is only half the battle won. To ensure that your new hires are adequately trained and acquainted with the company culture is a whole new challenge altogether. Thankfully, having a single source of truth like an up-to-date knowledge base can help employees get up to speed quickly and seamlessly.
By collating all the necessary resources in one place, it becomes easier and faster to create a consistent onboarding process that ensures uniformity of training, too. Besides, a self-help onboarding system enables employees to familiarize themselves with the company’s materials and internal processes. It can even give a boost to getting to know the company culture!
Overall, an internal knowledge base provides a ready reckoner for all the staff and streamlines the onboarding process by allowing the team to focus on the essential pieces of training required. You can make the process more efficient by creating an onboarding checklist that new hires can use to guide themselves through the knowledge base and complete their training in a planned manner.
Besides bringing your employees up to speed quickly, an internal knowledge base also reduces your training costs. With onboarding automation, you no longer need to free-up team members or hire third-party trainers to onboard new employees. Besides, the new hires can get to work sooner, which also increases your ROI.
2. Increased Employee Efficiency
Did you know, office workers in the UK spend more than 1 million hours per week searching for documents?
In 2018, the Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes quoted a survey reporting that:
- 49% of respondents had trouble locating documents
- 43% of respondents had difficulty with document sharing
- 33% of respondents struggled with the document versioning
An older McKinsey report mentions that employees spend, on average, 9.3 hours per week searching and gathering information. In other words, this means that one-fifth of your employees are busy searching for answers but not contributing any value – which is a big waste!
Thankfully, there’s technology to the rescue in the form of a good internal knowledge base that will help your team find the information swiftly, without ducking their heads in cabinets or bothering teammates with volleys of questions.
Of course, your knowledge base cannot fish invoices or lost bills for you, but it will get you the information you need when you punch in the right keywords, which can significantly boost team productivity.
3. Reduced Pressure on Customer-Facing Staff
An external self-service knowledge base enables your customers to get quick answers to common or straightforward queries. Indeed, users love having a self-service option to save their precious time and also feel a sense of pride in troubleshooting issues on their own.
Enabling self-service for customers also helps your support team by reducing the number of tickets they have to deal with regularly. For example, you can have an AI-based chatbot as the first line of customer service on your digital touchpoints. This will help you automate your support system, as a chatbot can answer up to 80 percent of repetitive queries by redirecting customers to the relevant FAQ pages. Only complicated questions are filtered to live agents, allowing them to focus on critical issues and solve them efficiently in a reduced timeframe. The result? Happier and satisfied customers and a more productive workforce.
4. Improved Collaboration Between Teams
As your business grows, so does the information that goes back and forth between the growing number of employees or teams. Increasing amounts of work also mean that your internal communications are often buried under heaps of work-related emails and go unnoticed. A knowledge base can help improve the team communication, as it helps people navigate through the clutter and collaborate on a common platform for increased productivity.
By using an internal knowledge base as a repository of ideas and information, team members get access to a single source of truth for everything, breaking down the informational silos that often come in the way of productivity. Employees may also be allowed to contribute articles and snippets to build the collection of useful information for everyone.
For example, every team in your company can add a project report with their success, failures, and lessons learned in the knowledge base once they complete any project. This information can be used to avoid past mistakes when starting a new project for the same client or regarding a similar product.
Parting thoughts: Boost Team Productivity With A Knowledge Base
A comprehensive knowledge base tool can help you address a wide range of internal issues such as low productivity, miscommunication, and repetitive workflows. In addition, it also improves customer experience and your site’s searchability, adding to the overall revenue. Of course, a knowledge base is not a silver bullet to turn around your business, but it is definitely the right start to streamline your organization and optimize costs.