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What Is a Knowledge Base?

First off, let’s define "knowledge base."

A knowledge base is a self-serve customer service library that includes information about a product, service, or topic. They usually look something like this.

Knowledge bases may seem like a simple enough concept, but let’s step back and put the idea in context.


Customer service departments exist to improve the customer experience. They ways they do this can vary, but it usually starts out with some sort of ticketing or case management system.

When a user has a question or an issue, they get routed through this system and can get an answer through various channels, including email, live chat, social, etc.

All of this is reactive. And when it comes to reactive customer service, it’s time-consuming (because you have to have well-trained support staff operating these systems and interacting with customers to ensure a good experience) and can get repetitive. For example, if you work at a photo-sharing startup, you might get the same question about how to upload a photo dozens of times per day.

A knowledge base allows you to create self-service customer support content around recurring topics, issues, and themes. Returning to our photo sharing app example, why not simply create an article to explain the process of uploading a photo? That way, a user can search for and find this article, or you can simply send them the article via your regular ticketing system to save time.

Technically speaking, a knowledge base could also fall under a few broader use cases. In most contexts, we think of it as an online knowledge base, something that helps customers find answers to common questions.

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