Let’s be clear about one thing: a customer knowledge base is not a landing page full of frequently asked questions.
Sure, FAQs can live in your knowledge base, but they are capable of so much more than simple Q&A.
A well-crafted help center is a strategic asset, propelling your conversion goals by guiding customers through the sales funnel with ease.
We’ll walk you through what a knowledge base actually is, how it can support your bottom line, and everything you need to know to create yours successfully.
What is a customer knowledge base?
Customers love having the power to solve problems on their own, on their schedule. That's precisely what a knowledge base delivers. 84% of shoppers say the customer experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.
Your knowledge base isn’t just a static library of articles; it's an interactive portal that connects your customers to both sales and customer service. That means making it easy for them to find answers before making a purchase and helping them troubleshoot any possible issues afterward.
How a knowledge base can transform your customer service (and customer experience)
Now that we've introduced the concept of a knowledge base, let's dive deeper into how these helpful landing pages can drive revenue by leveling up your customer service game.
90% of consumers worldwide consider issue resolution as their top priority when it comes to customer service. And with a knowledge base, you've got the power to make their dreams come true with 24/7, self-service support.
Think of a customer knowledge base as your company's information powerhouse that includes helpful articles, FAQs, contact methods, and more ––– all readily available 24/7 for your customers to tap into whenever they need help.
And the magic word that describes why a knowledge base is so powerful? Self-service.
Nail this experience, and your knowledge base will serve as a revenue-driving machine for both acquisition- and retention-based goals.
No more waiting in line, playing phone tag, or being told the customer support team is “offline until tomorrow.” As long as customers are easily able to locate the information they’re after (more on this later), they get an immediate response to their questions.
Reduce support burden (and response time as a result)
Your support team deals with a mountain of questions every day:
- "Where's my order?"
- "What's your refund policy?"
- "How long does shipping take?"
…These are the classics.
Imagine if you reduced the number of times your team members get these inquiries significantly. Or better yet, never got asked these questions again.
Your knowledge base can support this initiative. Using data to identify what the most common questions are that your team gets, create help articles to answer these and feature them at the top of your knowledge base page.
The result: Customers don’t have to search through your articles and your support team frees up time to focus on providing better customer experiences.
Questions answered, problems solved.
Turn inquiries into sales
A knowledge base doesn’t just have to answer questions about shipping and order tracking, it can also act as a personal shopper by guiding customers toward styles and proper fit.
For instance, if someone asks, "I have wide feet. Will your shoes fit me?" Don’t just say yes—provide links and images to the shoes in your catalog that will suit what the customer needs. Approaching product-related questions like this will help customers feel more confident about making a purchase.
Take a cue from BrüMate’s product finder quiz, which is featured prominently in the brand’s help center:
Reinforce your brand
Delivering information in a consistent tone across all customer interactions builds trust and leaves a lasting impression. You can easily do this in your knowledge base by staying in line with your brand's tone and style and communicating your company’s values.
Let’s run through an example: Let's say you sell organic skincare products and you want to use your knowledge base to establish your expertise and the brand values you share with like-minded people.
Health-conscious consumers often have specific concerns about product safety, ingredients, and potential side effects. Your knowledge base is the ideal platform to address these concerns transparently. How?
Explain the benefits of organic ingredients, the absence of harmful chemicals, and how your products contribute to healthier skin.
By proactively addressing these concerns, you're not just selling a product; you're promoting a lifestyle choice centered around happy skin and well-being. Doing so will set you up to be seen as a trustworthy source of information about safe beauty.
Everything you need to know about creating & managing a customer knowledge base
Next, we’ll walk you through how to create and manage your customer-facing knowledge base.
How to set up a knowledge base
These initial steps are the foundation of a successful knowledge base, ensuring long-term success.
1) Identify your frequently asked questions customers
To lay the groundwork for your knowledge base, you need to know your customers like the back of your hand. A few ways you can kick off this research:
- Review key questions and phrases from your previous conversations with customers.
- Harness the power of SEO tools to discover trends buzzing around your products or industry.
- Survey your customers directly to find out what burning questions are on their minds.
Any and all customer data you have available becomes your roadmap to creating valuable knowledge base content.
The research step is crucial, and here’s why: In 2022, Deloitte Digital conducted research with Twilio about the business value of trust. The results showed that when companies make it easy to do business with them, 96% of consumers trust the brand more.
When asked how companies can make it easier to do business with them, customers said the following factors are the most important:
- Making sure issues are resolved quickly
- Being able to easily get in touch with a real person for help (and not getting bounced around from person to person when trying to solve a problem)
- Being able to simply find answers and get information as needed on their own.
Your knowledge base can help with all three factors. As a result, Deloitte’s research found that customers are more likely to reward that trust by making more frequent and higher-value purchases.
2) Use templates to streamline page creation
Starting a help center can be daunting, especially when you're strapped for time already. (And, let’s be honest, every operations manager is these days.)
There’s a lot that goes into these centers—research, brand design, copywriting, landing page structure. Thankfully, platforms like Gorgias offer templates to take the heavy lifting and guesswork out of building your first knowledge base.
These templates are based on sample help centers for various industries, so you can structure your help center content with the confidence that you’re following best practices.
Download them in CSV format and upload them to your Gorgias service portal, using the template as the framework for your own help center. It's like having a handy blueprint for success.
3) Customize the look of your knowledge base
Your knowledge base isn't just a sidekick; it's a key part of your brand's identity. No matter if a new customer lands on your knowledge base through your main site or via a Google search, it should feel like they're interacting with the same business as they jump between the knowledge base and your main site pages.
That’s why you need to ensure your knowledge base’s branding seamlessly matches your website, creating a cohesive experience for your customers.
A few elements to consider:
- Add your logo to the header
- Match the header design to your main website
- Edit fonts and use your preferred typeface
- Use similar iconography and images as you would on your other website pages
Princess Polly’s customer knowledge base ties in all of these elements well. Even though the knowledge base is on a separate subdomain, it doesn’t feel any different from the brand’s main domain from a user’s perspective.
Platforms like Gorgias allow you to edit fonts, logos, and headers for your help center without any coding required. If you're craving more customization, you can dip into HTML and CSS to tailor specific elements.
4) Make your pages categorizable and searchable
Remember, the goal here is to make things effortless for your customers. If your knowledge base is a maze of articles without clear categorization, it's not user-friendly; it's a Q&A jungle that nobody wants to venture through.
Organize all your articles with crystal-clear categorization—think "Shipping," "Returns," "Loyalty Program," and "Sizing." Don't forget to add a smart search bar that understands keywords and common phrases to recommend relevant articles.
"We have a great help center that attracts tens of thousands of monthly visitors who are then redirected back to the main site and in this circular motion where we don't want those customers to drop off. Two critical aspects drive this success: ensuring accessibility so customers can easily find the answers they need, and providing direct contact options for our team. We don't want you to have to go searching for your answer to the point where you're frustrated and you stop that purchasing experience." —Colin Waters, Leading at The Feed & former Associate Director of Customer Experience at BrüMate
Turn your knowledge base into an interactive help center
Once you’ve gone through the foundational steps, you can work on taking your knowledge base to the next level. This will enhance customer satisfaction and engagement.
5) Create automated and interactive FAQs
In a world where 62% of customers expect companies to adapt based on their actions and behavior, proactive support is essential. One way you can satisfy this expectation is to use automated and interactive FAQs via chatbot that adjust to customer needs.
For example, at Gorgias these are called Help Center article recommendations in chat. Used as an add-on to your website live chat widget, this feature allows you to list common questions at the beginning of a new live chat session. Customers can click their question if it’s listed and Gorgias will auto-generate a response by sharing the corresponding help center article from your knowledge base.
The goal is to answer the customer’s question without having to pull in a support rep.
What if automation doesn’t answer a customers’ question? Glad you asked! At the end of the flow, if the customer still requires help then a ticket is then created for an agent to follow up.
6) Offer self-serve order tracking
Order tracking is a hot topic for customers, so don't be shy about it. Add more than one CTA that customers can click to track their order without having to get in touch with your team.
Feature an order tracking CTA prominently in your knowledge base's header, via chat, and as a main option on the help center page. See the screenshot from Parade below, as an example:
This may seem like overkill, but we promise it’s not. The data to prove it: merchants who use Gorgias’ self-service tools reduce support tickets in their helpdesk by 50%.
Let’s be real, your entire support team will thank you when they no longer have to hunt down the answers to this question (which they probably get hundreds of times a week).
7) Go multimedia
When it comes to crafting a comprehensive knowledge base solution, text alone might not always suffice. Customers often prefer visual cues, and research has shown that visual content can significantly improve understanding and retention of information.
Think about any time you’ve built a piece of furniture that you bought online. Those manuals are confusing enough as is—even with the images added to every step. Imagine how much head-scratching you’d be doing if you didn’t have the images to accompany you.
That’s why images, videos, and other iconography are useful to include in your knowledge base, so you can eliminate confusion and boost user confidence.
Check out how Loop earplugs use videos along with written instructions for tutorials:
8) Make contact forms easily accessible
Yes, one of the key objectives of a knowledge base is to empower customers to find answers and solutions independently. However, there will always be situations where customers require personalized assistance—like when an order arrives damaged, for example.
Integrating contact forms directly into your knowledge base provides a straightforward channel for customers to reach out for assistance. But these inquiries can be difficult to keep up with when you have multiple forms living on various parts of your site.
💡 Tip: Add a “contact us” CTA in your knowledge base. If a customer clicks it, they’re redirected to the main contact page on your website. If you’d rather keep the forms separate (you know, for data purposes), you can build a knowledge base form that’s separate from your Shopify Site and track queries from the help center page alone.
Here’s an example from BrüMate, which features its “contact us” form directly on the Knowledge Base domain:
Gorgias makes both of these options possible. It's a smooth process, and it all feeds into Gorgias, keeping everything organized and streamlined.
9) Add flexible communication options
It’d be nice if you could promptly answer every customer’s question, but sometimes, a self-service knowledge base isn't enough. Unique situations will arise, and that's where the human touch comes in.
A staggering 83% of customers agree that they feel more loyal to brands that respond to and resolve their complaints. So, be prepared to chat live when the need arises.
Concerned about managing a live chat channel? A few ways to make it easier for strapped CS teams:
- Only implement live chat in specific windows, so it’s not featured on all pages on your site.
- Set realistic SLAs for when your customer support team is online, so if it’s outside working hours the customer shouldn’t expect an answer until the following day.
- Highlight your most prominent FAQ articles as soon as someone opens the live chat window, so they can find certain answers without contacting your team.
Here’s another knowledge base example from Princess Polly, which features a live chat widget on its knowledge base page and highlights key FAQs.
⚡ Key Takeaway: Every customer has a different preference for how they want to be communicated with. It’s important that you offer various methods to satisfy those preferences.
Keep your knowledge base updated
Your knowledge base is an ongoing initiative. As you expand your product line and discover new information, you’re going to want to adapt your knowledge base to continue meeting the needs of your buyers.
So lastly, let’s talk about maintaining and evolving your knowledge base to ensure you continue providing a high-quality and effective experience.
10) Track knowledge base analytics
Your knowledge base isn't set in stone; it's an evolving entity. Using analytics to your advantage will help you continue to improve it over time.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- Are some queries or questions more popular than others? Use this to improve your content hierarchy by placing the most relevant information upfront.
- Is one method of communication preferred? Customers naturally scan left to right and top to bottom. Line up your most popular contact options with that in mind. For example, if you’re placing email, livechat, and phone number options left to right, feature email first if you know that’s the most popular contact option.
- What time of day do you see an uptick in engagement on your knowledge base? Trigger an email workflow that shares FAQ pages to send during these times.
- What common questions can you place on other areas of your website? If customers are asking how your products are sustainable, it might be worth just adding that information directly to your homepage, product description pages, or on social media. Plus, you can pass this feedback to other teams like marketing, which can delve deeper to solve these problems at the root.
Gorgias' cloud-based integration with Google Analytics makes tracking engagement a cinch, helping you uncover the most-viewed questions, peak activity times, and top-clicked links.
11) Get feedback from customers
Metrics from your analytics tools is helpful but becomes even stronger when you combine it with qualitative data. This type of information has to be collected directly from customers, which you can do via feedback forms.
After each support interaction, simply ask customers how you can improve. Some questions you can ask are
- Did they know your help center existed?
- Was it easy to find?
- Did they have trouble finding the answer they needed?
Customer insights are your North Star for continuous improvement. ✨
12) Optimize your knowledge base for search
Did you know your knowledge base can be used as an acquisition tool by driving organic traffic to your website? Optimize it for search engines by framing questions as main headings.
For example, article titles can be formatted like, "What is your return policy?" This way, when potential customers search Google for answers, your article will appear.
When building your knowledge base in Gorgias, you can even customize your meta title and description for an extra SEO boost. Check out Alohas knowledge base as an example. For customers who search “What is Alohas’ return policy?” in Google, this article will show:
13) Regularly audit articles
We all know things won’t stay the same forever. Products change, ingredients shift, and branding gets a makeover.
When information changes, It's essential to shift the information in your knowledge base too.
What if you decide to change your shipping policy, so it’s only free after a customer spends $50 versus $25. The last thing you want is an irate customer pointing to an old article that mentions the $25 rule.
This is why you must regularly audit and quality check your articles to ensure they're as recent as possible. Failing to do so can impact customer loyalty.
Examples of a full-fledged interactive knowledge base
Now that you have the full scoop on building a successful customer knowledge base, looking at specific examples may help.
Here are a few businesses that have integrated automation, clear categorization, and user-friendly interfaces to empower customers to find answers and solutions efficiently.
BrüMate's Help Center stands out for its customer-centric approach. Here's what makes it effective:
Directly addresses key questions
Right at the top of the page, BrüMate addresses two of the most common customer queries: the returns policy and compatibility with their products. This ensures that customers can find answers without scrolling.
Directing customers to the right product
BrüMate goes a step further by offering a personalized product finder quiz. This interactive element helps customers discover the perfect BrüMate product that suits their needs without the hassle of extensive research.
“We’ve started pushing people towards resources that are in our help center. We're trying to help our customers self-solve.” —Colin Waters, leading at The Feed & former Associate Director of Customer Experience at BrüMate
The Help Center features easily accessible header links, including options to track packages and return to the main site. The chat bubble is readily available, and if the customer service team is offline, customers can access helpful articles.
ALOHAS excels in providing quick and convenient access to information. Here's what sets it apart:
Top questions featured
Just like BrüMate, ALOHAS prioritizes customer needs by featuring top questions prominently at the top of the page. This means customers don't have to scroll to find answers.
Effective use of iconography
ALOHAS uses icons effectively for Call to Action (CTA) buttons related to orders, including tracking, returns, cancellations, and reporting issues.
User friendly categorization
The Help Center is well-organized with clear categorization of articles, making it easy for users to navigate and find relevant information.
Powerful search function
ALOHAS' search function is highly effective, pulling relevant information based on key phrases, further enhancing the user experience.
LUNO takes a minimalist approach that proves simplicity can be highly effective:
LUNO demonstrates that sometimes less is more. The Help Center is clean and uncluttered, ensuring customers can find what they need without distractions.
Dedicated product information
Many articles are dedicated to specific product questions, such as compatibility, user manuals, and repair guides. It serves as a virtual manual for customers.
Turn your customer service knowledge base into a conversion machine
88% of customers already search your website for some kind of knowledge base or FAQ. It's your chance to transform those searches into conversions.
All of the knowledge base tools mentioned today are available with Gorgias, which you can try for free for 7 days. transform customer knowledge into conversions and streamline support processes.