How to Use a SaaS Knowledge Base to Wow Your Customers

If you run a SaaS company, implementing a robust self-service knowledge base should be at the very top of your priority list. Why? Well as your go-to customer support advisor, let me tell you—done right, it becomes an invaluable asset for sustaining growth through top-notch user experiences.

Why Every SaaS Business Needs a Knowledge Base

Think of a knowledge base as a master set of living, breathing product documents—your single source of truth when it comes to troubleshooting issues, training employees, and assisting users.

With intuitive search and relevant articles recommended automatically, customers find quick answers without contacting support. This increases satisfaction by 73% as per Forrester research.

For your business, self-service simultaneously decreases support costs and improves retention. According to Kayako, knowledge bases reduce contacts by 20% while cutting resolution times in half. That’s invaluable ROI with subscription revenue at stake.

As you scale support across global markets and channels, a centralized knowledge hub also maintains brand consistency by distributing the same policies and messaging everywhere.

Now let‘s get into the details of constructing an exceptional knowledge base your customers will rave about.

Starting With the End Goal in Mind

I always advise laying the groundwork by outlining your objectives before building any self-service solution. Relevant KPIs here include:

  • CSAT Scores: Measuring user satisfaction with self-service content will indicate real-world efficacy better than vanity metrics.
  • Contact Deflection Rate: What percentage of inquiries are fully addressed via self-service without needing human agents? 30-50% is a good goal.
  • Decreased Average Handle Time: Knowledge base search cuts time agents spend resolving each ticket.
  • Containment Rate: Of customers who visited your knowledge base after filing a ticket, what percentage found their own answer without agent follow-up?

Once your targets are set, ensure executive buy-in to receive ongoing cross-departmental support. After all, your knowledge base will only be as good as the expertise put into continually updating it.

Architecting Relevant, Value-Added Content

Before you start publishing help articles, first define a streamlined taxonomy—the informational blueprint shaping your knowledge base architecture.

I advise arranging content into distinct sections or nested categories based on:

  • User personas (e.g. basic and advanced users)
  • Product modules/features (e.g payment processing, analytics)
  • Common use cases and issues (e.g. how-tos, troubleshooting errors)

Well-planned taxonomies make information far easier to scan, digest and navigate. For example, Zendesk actually attributes their success to content grouping by user type, product area and goal.

Setting a Consistent Knowledge Base Style Guide

With multiple authors contributing, enforce consistent formatting and writing standards that allow casual browsing and quick scans for key details.

Some top tips here include:

Lead with the most critical information

Save background context for later. Open with quick problem/solution summaries using scannable formatting:

✅ How to reset your account password if locked out

Then explain the details below for users who need it.

Use descriptive headers and lists

Break up text using numbered procedures, bulleted lists and H2/H3 headers describing what‘s covered in each section.

Include visual aids

Relevant screenshots, videos and diagrams do wonders for conveyance and retention compared to plain text.

Analyze top performing knowledge bases like Salesforce‘s for more presentation examples that work.

Driving Knowledge Base Adoption Across Teams

Even the most comprehensive knowledge base is futile if your agents don’t leverage it. Here are proven tactics for driving internal usage:

Incentivize referrals: Set up agent scorecards tracking KB article links sent to customers with compensation for top performers.

Give agent feedback: Survey agents on existing content efficacy to address issues through ongoing tweaks. Obtain reviews on documents before publishing to assure relevance.

Promote usage: Highlight agents who successfully upsell customers on new features based on knowledge base learnings and publicly recognize them.

Auto-suggest articles: Configure system triggers to automatically email relevant help links based on ticket data. The proactive touch builds awareness.

Include in onboarding: New hires should learn the knowledge base extensively during their initial training to reinforce the importance of self-service.

The Crucial Knowledge Base Feedback Loop

The most common knowledge base pitfall is treating it as a set-it-and-forget-it database. Without continuously monitoring and optimizing it, even the best content turns outdated and irrelevant.

Analyze self-service usage metrics regularly, including:

🔎 Most searched keywords
📈 Popular vs. underperforming articles
📉 Customer satisfaction ratings
↔️ Knowledge gaps causing ticket transfers

These insights combined with user surveys and ratings pinpoint areas needing improvements to align with evolving usage behavior.

Schedule recurring audits and update cycles around expanding new help topics, refreshing outdated legacy content, and reassessing overall findability.

Appointing a dedicated knowledge base owner also creates accountability for this crucial, interminable process.

Real-World Examples of Stellar SaaS Knowledge Bases

Let’s briefly highlight two stellar examples of knowledge bases fueling exceptional customer experiences:

1. Slack

The popular workplace communication platform publishes specialized content tailored to both novice and experienced users. Their help center features step-by-step category walkthroughs supplemented by keyword search for quick access.

2. HubSpot

With their expertise marketing to businesses, Hubspot delivers an incredibly rich knowledge base spanning blog-style guides, manuals, templates, webinars and more. Tightly focused categorization and predictive search makes discovering relevant articles intuitive.

Now over to you: Evaluate your own knowledge base against these best practices using my actionable framework. Leverage insights from support metrics to continually enhance and evolve your customer resource center.

When used to its full potential, your knowledge base can drive immense value sustaining scalable growth through reduced customer churn. Now that you have the blueprint, time to get building!

Let me know if any other self-service topics warrant a deep dive. I’m always happy to provide more tailored advice – just reach out.