Knowledge base metrics to improve performance

Catherine Heath | June 22, 2021

Improving performance benefits your company in all sorts of different ways. If you set some knowledge base KPIs to benchmark your performance, you will then be able to increase its effectiveness and reduce customer enquiries.

While we love hearing from our customers, research shows that most customers prefer to self-serve their own support enquiries, ie by using a knowledge base.

Also, if customers use the knowledge base for standard enquiries rather than contacting support, your staff morale can improve since they won’t be answering the same questions over and over again.

You can save time and money by measuring the performance of your knowledge base using these metrics.

Customer self-service

How about if customers could find the answers they seek within seconds? 

Self-service is the best way for companies to provide answers for customers and to reduce the burden on their customer support team. 

But if self-service doesn’t answer their question then customers will fire off an email or start a live chat. They might even pick up the phone as a last resort. And all this effort to find an answer can sometimes lead to the worst result of all: churn.

You will beat your competitors in the customer experience if you optimize your knowledge base for self-service. Measurement is key and we’ve got key metrics you can use to enhance your knowledge base. 

Knowledge base views

First of all you want to measure the number of visitors to your knowledge base. Measuring website traffic is an important indicator of: 

  • Whether or not customers are actually using your knowledge base to solve problems

  • Whether or not customers find it easy to locate your knowledge base

It’s difficult to say what equals a good number of website views since every company is different. The amount of traffic to your knowledge base will vary depending on the number of customers you have. 

A good indicator of success is a positive trend line which means that the traffic to your knowledge base is increasing month on month. A positive trend line implies that your knowledge base is being used and gaining popularity with your customers. A negative trend line might mean customers don’t find your knowledge base useful, or they can’t find it. 

Your knowledge base is doesn’t do much good if customers can’t find it. If your knowledge base is public, you should be optimizing your knowledge base for SEO so when customers search for help in search engines your content shows up. If your knowledge base is private, it should be easy for your customers to access. Don’t make it hard to get to your knowledge base. 

How to measure: Total number of views

Number of views vs submitted cases

This metric looks at how many knowledge base views you have versus submitted customer support cases. This metric tells you whether your knowledge base is fulfilling its purpose and providing customers with self-service support. 

There are two ways you could measure this metric: 

  • Number of customer support cases before and after implementing the knowledge base (wait a few months after launching your knowledge base for better results)

  • Number of page views in your knowledge base compared to support requests

Ideally, you want to have more people self-serving using your knowledge base than talking to your support staff, and have as large a ratio between the two numbers as possible.

Measuring this KPI requires having data from before you implemented your knowledge base so you can compare average ticket requests per month. Take the average ticket request from before you implemented your knowledge base and compare it to the average number of tickets a few months after. 

The aim of your knowledge base is to deflect as many tickets away from customer support as possible. That’s why you need to measure page views versus support requests. There should be more page views than support requests, since this shows that customers are using your knowledge base for self-service support. 

How to measure: Total number of views : total number of cases = ratio of cases to views

Bounce rate vs avg time spent on page

If your knowledge base has a high bounce rate then this means that lots of customers are leaving the site after using just one page. This could mean that they are finding exactly what they need and don’t need to view more pages.

However, if the average time spent on each page is very low, then this could mean that customers are unsatisfied with your knowledge base content and are turning to alternative support sources. Customers should be spending 2-3 minutes on a webpage if they find it useful. 

You can also look at the number of pages that customers are viewing per session since this will tell you if the content is useful or not. Customers viewing multiple pages are likely to have been unable to find the answer to their question. 

How to measure: Compare bounce rate (%) with average time spent on pages (seconds)

New vs returning customers

This metric measures how many new visitors you are getting to your knowledge base versus repeat visitors. If you don’t have many repeat visitors, this could mean your information isn’t up to scratch since customers aren’t returning to your knowledge base.

However, if you’re not getting many new visitors, your customers may not be aware of this resource. You need to ask your agents to introduce your knowledge base to customers. You want both your total number of new customers and total returning customers to increase over time.

How to measure: Total new customers : Returning customers = ratio of new to returning customers

Product users vs support requests

This may be the most important metric for measuring the performance of your knowledge base. This metric looks at the number of product users you have versus the number of support requests you’re getting. This is where companies run into growing pains – they increase their product users and support requests go way up. 

Ideally you want to scale your number of product users without increasing your number of support requests by too much of a margin. A knowledge base is the ideal way to achieve this goal because you can direct customers to its pages and gradually over time they will naturally turn to your knowledge base as a first port of call.

If your knowledge base is successful, this score should increase over time, but bear in mind it may fluctuate in conjunction with certain events, such as releasing a new product.

How to measure: Total number of product users : total number of support requests = Ratio of product users to support requests

Final remarks

Using these knowledge base KPIs as a starting point, conduct an evaluation of your knowledge base to find areas for improvement. Identify problem areas and update your knowledge base accordingly.

Measuring your progress is a surefire way to improve your knowledge base and enhance your self-service offering. Customers will be delighted with your fast and efficient help and become long-term, loyal fans. 

If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up in your kb, this is a great way to start collecting data to calculate your kb metrics moving forward. Learn how to install Google Analytics in KnowledgeOwl today, or check out this blog post on the subject!

About the author
Catherine Heath
Catherine Heath

Catherine is the Community Builder for KnowledgeOwl. She is also a freelance writer based in Manchester. She writes blogs, social media, copy, and designs owl-based images. 

You can find out more about Catherine on her personal websites Away With Words and Catherine Heath Studios.

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