Find out if your knowledge base is providing enough ROI

Catherine Heath | July 6, 2021

You’ve spent the budget on acquiring the right software so you can build and run a top-notch knowledge base. 

You’ve invested time into filling your knowledge base with quality content to help your customers use your products or services. 

But is it providing enough return on investment for your company? 

You need to analyze the cost of acquiring your knowledge base and the cost of management to calculate ROI. 

Most people find it easy to analyze the cost of their knowledge base but struggle when it comes to finding out what it has saved their company, especially when those savings are other than financial. 

First and foremost, a self-service knowledge base allows you to scale your company’s operations without necessarily increasing headcount. Customers are empowered to find their own answers to common support questions, and agents can use their time more efficiently to help those customers who really need it. 

Now, we’ll go into how you can measure the ROI of your knowledge base. 

Time spent responding to queries

You can measure the time your customer support team spends responding to enquiries before installing your knowledge base, and a set amount of time afterwards, to help you calculate ROI.

The cost of a do-it-yourself transaction is measured in pennies, while the cost of a live service interaction costs $13 for a B2B company. This is where you can really put a financial figure on how much your knowledge base has saved you in terms of the cost of support. 

This is the main way that you will reduce support costs because the knowledge base deflects the bulk of queries that would otherwise be directed towards members of your team. 

You can either measure the amount of time in total that your team spends responding to queries, or you can measure the number of tickets that your team receives overall. 

Increase first contact resolution

A helpful knowledge base means your team can resolve requests much more quickly. When your agents are more knowledgeable as a result of your self-service knowledge base they are more likely to be able to resolve issues after the first point of contact. 

Your team can work more efficiently and customers will be more satisfied with these speedy resolutions. The fewer repeat calls and repeat issues that your team needs to handle, the lower the cost per call. Your customers won’t have to wait on hold or suffer being transferred through different support agents and they will be happier with your service. 

Proportion of customer base

Monitor your knowledge base traffic in your analytics to check it’s a consistently high proportion of your overall customer base. Ideally you want the number of people visiting your knowledge base to be increasing and the number of customer support tickets you receive to decrease. 

The picture is complicated by the fact that many customers will never contact support, even if they have a problem. They will simply churn instead and you will never see them again. 

Your knowledge base will help these customers, even if that’s not reflected in the support statistics, so bear that in mind.

Training new support agents

Your knowledge base should also reduce the training time of new support agents. Instead of requiring that a team member give up a significant amount of their time to train new agents, you can refer them to the knowledge base and have them learn how to use the product. 

Record how many days or weeks you spend training an agent prior to installing your knowledge base, then keep track of this figure over time as your knowledge base improves. 

Maintenance time

Your knowledge base may be working for you, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only providing good ROI if the time you spend maintaining it is exceeded by the time it saves you. 

If you spend three hours a week maintaining your knowledge base, but it only saves you two hours in support time, it may not seem like a good investment of your team’s time. 

But it can still be a good investment for your team if it prevents customers who would never have contacted you from leaving you altogether. 

Net Promoter Score

A great way to find out how customers view the service you’re providing is to measure Net Promoter Score (NPS). This can be done using a simple survey that asks customers “How likely are you to recommend our business to others?” 

Investing in your knowledge base is a great way to improve your NPS score since you’re creating better support experiences for customers during every stage of the customer journey. 

B2B customers are more likely to refer companies with a high NPS score to others and are willing to spend more on services, try new products and forgive mistakes. 

Lower churn

You can measure your customer churn rate before and after you implement your knowledge base. 

82% of customers have stopped doing business with a company because of a bad experience. The aim of a knowledge base is to reach out to these customers before they have a chance to churn because a knowledge base is always available, and can provide help to customers whenever they need it. 

Providing this high-quality, reliable customer support is essential to increasing customer loyalty and reducing customer churn. 

Higher customer lifetime value

When you invest in a customer-facing knowledge base, you improve the level of support you are providing to your customers. They don’t have to wait around for a reply from your support team and they can simply help themselves by finding instant answers to their questions. 

This results in better customer lifetime value (CLV) since long-term customers are worth ten times as much as their first purchase. It makes good business sense to invest in a customer support knowledge base. 

Long-term happy customers are more likely to be loyal to your business, to try new products, to buy more from your company and refer you to people they know. 

The full picture of self-service

The picture is more complex than whether or not you’ve reduced the number of emails or calls to your customer support team. This may also have been achieved by moving your phone number to where your customers can’t find it

You can analyze the traffic to your knowledge base but it’s harder to know whether the content was effective - or whether your customers are giving up in frustration. 

This is why you need to seek feedback from your customers to gain the full picture of the ROI of your knowledge base. Enable a ratings widget on every page of your knowledge base asking customers to rate the effectiveness of the article. Survey your customers regularly and ask them how they are finding your knowledge base. 

Conclusion

There are many ways to measure the ROI of your knowledge base. 

This includes time saved on support queries versus maintenance time, time spent training new support agents, and traffic to your knowledge base as a proportion of your total customer base. 

Remember to look at the results as a whole to gain a true picture of the ROI of your knowledge base. Spending this time is worth it – a  great knowledge base turns customers into long-term, loyal fans. 


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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