Knowledge base

6 reasons why a knowledge base is essential for online sellers

If your online store doesn’t have a knowledge base in 2020, then your customer experience is behind the curve. Shoppers expect immediate answers to their questions and the quickest, most effective way to provide this, is with a knowledge base.

A knowledge base also provides significant operational benefits for your business, helping you to reduce costs and the volume of tickets your support team has to handle.

Let’s take a detailed look at why knowledge bases are so crucial for online sellers and exactly how they benefit your business.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a library of information that your customers – or potential customers – can use to answer questions they might have about your business, products, or service.

Knowledge bases should contain a very comprehensive coverage of every question a customer might have. It’s very important, therefore, for your knowledge base to be well organized and easy to navigate.

What are the benefits of a knowledge base

A well structured, comprehensive knowledge base is a huge asset for your customer experience for three main reasons; it’s the quickest way to answer queries, it allows your customers to help themselves, and it’s always accurate, clear, and comprehensive.

1. The quickest way to answer queries

It’s common knowledge that online shoppers expect very low customer service response times, but exactly how fast they expect an answer is still pretty startling!

According to a 2019 survey, 71% of consumers want an answer within five minutes and 31% expect a resolution immediately, or they’d abandon the purchase and go elsewhere.

If you’re using eCommerce help desk software, you’ll be able to resolve queries in the shortest time possible, but sometimes even this isn’t enough. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a sales rush, with orders flying in left right and center, or your support team are dealing with some particularly tricky tickets.

This is when a knowledge base can really help you out.

By linking to a well structured and easy to navigate chapter, you can immediately resolve a query without even needing to involve an agent. Perhaps you have a pre-sales query from a customer wondering if you ship to Hawaii. By giving them the chance to find this out straight away, you can put their mind at ease and remove the final obstacle to winning a sale.

Fast customer service responses aided by a knowledge base also help you to minimize negative feedback and protect your online reputation.

Perhaps a customer bought the wrong size bike for their daughter a week before Christmas and they want to know how long an exchange process will take. A knowledge base helps them to find the answer they need straight away. This takes the heat out of a stressful situation and potentially saves you a negative review from an angry customer.

2. Allows your customers to help themselves 

It’s long been an assumption that excellent customer service requires a human touch. This is simply not the case for eCommerce in 2020.

In a 2020 study, over 67% of consumers said they’d prefer self service over speaking to a company representative, and 91% said they’d use an online knowledge base if it were tailored to their needs.

Perhaps it’s the digital nature of eCommerce, or maybe the majority of today’s consumers are simply less social. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that a huge cohort of your customers would prefer to use a knowledge base than deal with customer support agents.

If you give the people what they want, you’ll be improving their customer experience and this will translate into business success.

3. Always provides accurate, reliable information

If you only have a few support agents who have been in the company for a long time, you can be confident that their responses to customer tickets will be accurate. But what if you’ve just hired new staff? Or maybe you’ve started selling internationally and there’s a language barrier?

By using a knowledge base, you’re able to carefully construct a comprehensive answer that you’re 100% sure is accurate and answers a customer’s query. Not only is this making life easier for your support agents, it eliminates the chance of customers receiving incorrect, or incomplete answers to questions.

Not only can you ensure that the information provided is always accurate and clearly articulated, you can also ensure that your brand voice shines through. This is particularly useful for established eCommerce businesses that have a well developed brand identity.

It’s difficult to align your brand with customer support communications from different agents, but with a knowledge base, this aspirations becomes a reality.  

4. Saves your agents’ time

We mentioned earlier how a knowledge base enables your customers to answer their own questions without needing to ask a customer support agent.

This not only saves the customers’ time, but it also saves your agents’ time by reducing the volume of tickets an agent is required to answer. This has a cumulative effect on your overall customer support response times. 

5. Helps to minimize support costs

If you’re experiencing a lower volume of tickets and saving your support agents’ time, as mentioned above, it will eventually have a positive impact on your overall support costs.

The phrase ‘time is money’ is certainly relevant for a customer support team. If you’re making more sales, you’re going to get more tickets, no matter how good your products or fulfillment services are. Help desk software with an effective knowledge base is probably the only way you’ll be able to manage, without hiring extra staff.

6. Protects your ratings

If you experience a bump in sales and you choose not to use a knowledge base or hire extra staff, your ratings will end up paying the price.

Without the ability to find answers and waiting on a busy, overwhelmed support team, your customers will get frustrated. This will inevitably lead to some angry customers leaving negative reviews and perhaps even sharing their bad experiences on social media. Needless to say, this has a negative impact on your products’ visibility on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. 

Final thoughts

It’s clear that a good knowledge base is an asset for your customers and your business as a whole. When done right, it’s able to provide an enhanced customer experience while simultaneously saving your support team’s time and cutting your overall business costs.

With eDesk, you’re able to combine eCommerce help desk software with a customizable knowledge base. This provides you with everything you need to minimize your customer support response times, improve your ratings and reduce your costs.

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