03 February 2020

Do you need a Knowledge Base within Dynamics 365 Customer Service?

Dropped in Dynamics 365 CRM

Kelly Wood
Pondered by Kelly Wood

One of the questions we get asked a lot about is whether a Knowledge Base within Dynamics 365 Customer Service would benefit an organisation, but many are reluctant to invest the time into building one, so let’s have a look at the pros and cons. 

What is a Knowledge Base?

A Knowledge Base is a group of articles that provide help and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. These can be as basic or as in depth as you want them to be. It would depend on the individual needs of both your business and your customers.

Some customers would simply need an FAQ section to answer questions like what is your returns policy? Or what are delivery options? Others would need more detailed answers listing various scenarios that could affect these things.

It comes as a standard part of Dynamics 365 Customer Service (Enterprise) and in conjunction with the portal add on can be a good starting place for your communication with your customers. It also links directly into cases so that your team can search the Knowledge Base directly from the case screen and even email the articles from the case to resolve it.

Why would we decide against one?

It seems like a no brainer from the outside as to why you would have one, but there some factors to consider.

Someone must write and maintain the content. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to this one. To get articles, you must create articles.

It is very unlikely that you can simply copy and paste this content, because no matter what industry you are in, it stands a good chance that the way you do things are slightly different to how someone else does it.

Your policies will differ, your products may differ, the way you as an organisation work in general will likely be different (or at least perceived) to how someone else in the same industry providing the same service will work.

This means that your Knowledge Base needs to be as individual as your organisation is.

It is no good advising someone to rectify a problem one way if that is not how your employees would do it, because then if they do need to escalate to a person, that person would go about doing things in an entirely different manner, which would make using the Knowledge Base pointless and inefficient.

This also means that the people writing the article need to be the people that know what the first line Customer Service/Support tasks and steps are. It can’t be written by the marketing department or sent out to a 3rd party as they won’t understand the steps that people need to take, not in the ideal scenario, but in a real-world situation.

You need to approach the Knowledge Base like you would first line support, as this is essentially what it is.

That sounds like a lot of extra work for a department that is already busy

It is. There is no way to sugar coat it.

And unfortunately, if your Customer Service or Support department are not busy, then the truth is the Knowledge Base would probably hold little benefit for you anyway.

So why would we create one?

As an investment. Pure and simple. It is a repository of the collective knowledge of your workforce and regardless of your industry, this is your greatest resource.

You could have a team of 3 people, or a team of 20, but you can almost guarantee that there are specialities amongst each member of your team.

If one of them is on holiday and a problem they would normally solve comes in, what do you do? Wait for them come back? That’s not in your customers best interests, and therefore not in your companies’ best interests.

It is also unfair on your employees to have to walk into work after being on holiday to find that their workload hasn’t been picked up and that there are lots of (now urgent) queries to deal with on their return. This will eventually lead to dissatisfaction amongst your workforce and you risk losing that asset altogether.

Future proofing your company

The simple fact is that more and more of the workforce are people that have grown up with computers and smartphones, and their first instinct when they are unsure of something is to ‘Google’ it.

Being one of these, I find that if I try to look on the internet for something and I can’t find the answer, it is rare that I would contact someone via phone, I would simply find a company that can answer my questions via the internet and use their services instead, even if costs me slightly more money.

With the advent of chatbots and live chat assistants, the Knowledge Base would be the foundation upon which to build.

Even if you are not quite there yet in terms of being ready to introduce live chat from your website, or automated support bots that try to help your customers instead of a real live person, starting the Knowledge Base now is a good idea.

It means that when you are there, you have a ready-made platform from which to launch it, thus saving time.

Fancy learning more about Dynamics 365 CRM? On Tuesday 10th March, we are hosting a Customer Workshop - How to make the most of reporting within Dynamics 365 CRM? Come and join us!

Enhanced on 03 Feb 2020

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