Contribute to the Social CRM Internal Knowledge Base

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

The purpose of a Social CRM knowledge base (KB) is to share information that’s already known to others in the organization or included by subject matter experts. When you provide a database of collected wisdom, employees don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They can go into the KB and see how a procedure or tactic should be implemented.

A knowledge base cuts down on support costs and can be the source of quality information. You can construct internal KBs that can then be converted to KBs for external (customer) use.

The KB can contain more than just text. It can include screenshots, audio, video, and so on. Incorporate anything that will help the employee or customer solve the problem.

Don’t worry if you feel you’ve added too much information. If you used the information to solve the problem, it’s worth including in the knowledge base entry.

Before you start writing a KB article, you can prepare yourself by following these tips:

  • Follow the simple structure most often used for knowledge bases. Most knowledge bases state the problem and then the solution. If the solution has steps to follow, include those next. If you need to include information from a subject matter expert, be sure to get that ahead of time so that it’s integrated into the article.

  • Conform to the KB conventions. Don’t confuse users who are reading more than one article at a time. Use the same terminology in all KB articles. When you’re unsure of which terminology to use, make an effort to scan the KB for the correct term, consult the KB documentation, and if you still aren’t sure, ask the KB point person.

  • Write in the same style, format, and tone as other articles. Don’t be too familiar if the rest of the KB is formal in tone. You don’t want the reader to be put off by too many different styles.

  • Use an accepted format for KB articles. Look at how other articles are formatted and fit in. You could choose an FAQ style, a tutorial, a steps list, or other format that’s recognized and easily read.

    Most knowledge bases use software that formats the articles as you write them. If you’re starting from scratch or don’t have a way to format the information, you may want to consider using a fee-based tool called Bloomfire. It’s a content-management tool that allows teams to input, retrieve, and manage key information.

    Most KB software indexes every word in the text, which means that if the word is there, the search engine will find it and return it in the search results. But it’s still important to use tags so that users can search the text by known topics set up by the KB administrator.

  • Familiarize yourself with the software you’ll use to write the article. Make sure you know how to use the software to input your article. Input some sample copy just to ensure that when you put in the real article, it won’t disappear into the ether. Also, make sure the entire database is continually backed up so you can restore it in case there’s a database meltdown.