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Article 4 min read

Knowledge management maturity: Tips for leveling up

By Fernanda Chouza, Product marketing manager, Guide

Last updated May 14, 2019

A smart self-service strategy harnesses the power of your institutional knowledge, tips, tricks, and hacks to help ensure a more relevant, customer-centric experience. As you grow—adding new lines of business, or new products or brands—self-service also gets more complex. Left unchecked, complexity can create a disconnect between you and your customers—for example, when customers are looking for help with one brand, but the help center looks and feels more like the parent company. Customers’ self-service experience, after all, should be a reflection of their relationship with you, not a symptom of your complexity or growing pains.

When supported by self-service solutions that grow with the business, complex organizations can keep content relevant in two key ways:

  • Keep it simple for customers. Great experiences are more likely when customers can easily find the information they need.

  • Power your team with better process. Get everyone involved to continuously improve and expand your self-service offering.

By cultivating a simple experience on the front end with a sophisticated platform on the back end, self-service can feel like white-glove service for your customers.

Keep it simple

With content being tailored for use across different audiences and channels, it may be more difficult to keep it simple: searchable, organized, and relevant. Half the battle is “discoverability”—ensuring the right content surfaces at the right time. So deploy content in a way that places customers at the center of your decision-making: offer it where they need it most, adapt it for different channels, and personalize it to fit their needs.

Highly tailored experiences ensure the right content is there when it’s needed. When customers come to your help center, advanced search capabilities and an easy browsing experience helps them get what they need faster. Taking it a step further, an AI-powered solution like Answer Bot surfaces relevant help content in any channel customers use to get in touch.

Despite needing to cover increasingly complex needs, knowledge bases are less likely to be a searchable, simple resource if they’re stuffed to the gills with tidbits about every product and feature. Setting up brand- or product-specific help centers is one way to create those brand-right experiences, making it simple for customers to self-serve, regardless of your internal structure.

Not all companies or customers are created equal, so having flexibility in how you organize, navigate, and brand self-service is key. Complex business processes behind the curtain can stay behind the curtain—and become easier for customers to navigate—if you get more specific when organizing content. A knowledge base organized into flexible hierarchies, for example, makes it easier to create unique sub-sections, sections, and categories. Combined with multiple theme templates that enable you to brand pieces of your knowledge base differently, the result is a more relevant browsing experience.

Power your team

Technology and automation can help lighten the load on your team while managing your evolving self-service. It can give you the flexibility to build more custom experiences as you scale, guide more thoughtful and data-driven content creation, and help ensure the content you’re creating is regularly updated.

A good way to get your team involved with content creation is by taking an agile approach to maintaining it. Add content across a small handful of themes that make sense to your need—like your most frequently asked or searched queries, or topics that compose the bulk of your one-touch tickets—instead of creating articles for a veritable forest of topics. This keeps things simple for customers and the content creators.

Content managers can often be left guessing what information will help customers best. Furthermore, too much help content isn’t necessarily better; in fact, it can be a bad thing if it muddies search results. Content Cues, an AI-powered solution, helps nip both issues in the bud by finding patterns in customer searches and prompting managers to address content in high-impact topics—whether that means cutting it down or beefing it up.

Meal-delivery subscription service Freshly used Content Cues to increase the impact of existing content. Changing an article from their words—“My delivery hasn’t arrived”—to how their customers actually talk—“Where is my box?”—helps ensure everyone is speaking the same language, simplifying customers’ experience and reducing the likelihood of self-service disconnect.

Even after the heavy lifting is done, keep a feedback loop open between the content and the subject-matter experts maintaining it. Sophisticated back-end support can assist here, too. With technology like Article Events, for example, you can keep the team engaged, empowered and accountable during the content’s lifespan, making it less likely for maintenance tasks to fall through the cracks.

We know customers prefer to self-serve, but self-service can miss the mark when it reflects your internal complexity. With the right technology and processes in place, it’s easy to build the self-service experiences that make sense for your customers, without overburdening your team.

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