Building Customer Knowledge

Gianna Spitaliere

I love exploring, writing about, and building knowledge on different ways to make businesses and customers more successful all around. I have been with ServiceTarget for less than a year, but have been thrilled to expand my writing into customer self-service.

{ 7 Minute Read }

Customer knowledge is fundamental for any successful business. It strengthens product success, which ultimately, creates a successful customer experience as a whole. And this is so crucial today. Consumers have a staggering number of choices and more channels to pursue them on. Customers cannot have success overall, buying more of your products, returning, referring, and contributing to growth, unless they can succeed with the product they are purchasing. In fact, 47% of consumers say they will stop buying from a company if they have a subpar experience.  

Now a lot goes into helping your customers have valuable product experience. Product experience is multi-faceted and encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering—product and service features, quality, ease of use, reliability, packaging, cost, and of course the quality of product support. Creating hit products isn’t easy, but, you’re more likely to do well if you enable customers with the knowledge they need to be successful.

Completing the check-out process should not be the end of interaction with your customer, but a beginning of of the educational journey your company takes them on—from learning about which product or service is best suited for their needs, learning how to use them, exploring articles and guides to get the most out of different features, obtaining the ability to resolve issues and questions on their own, to joining community groups and gaining enough insight to want to purchase again. So let’s dive into how you can do just that. 

What Exactly Is Customer Knowledge?

First, let’s make sure we have a clear picture of what customer knowledge includes. This is a term that often gets thrown around with little substance, when in fact, it is quite complex. Customer knowledge is defined as a combination of experience, value, and insight information that is needed, created, and ultimately absorbed during customer and company interactions. 

Customers need all different kinds of product information. What are the specs on this device? How do I sync it? What’s your warranty policy? Can I disable this feature? The questions are endless. Creating this resource can come in many forms: product docs, compatibility checkers, educational communities, blogs and guides, knowledge base content, and more. And it can be syndicated across many different platforms, like your site, apps, help-center, and social media accounts. 

In this article we are going to cover those three basic steps of building customer knowledge: understanding the customer need, creating the resource, and encouraging users to absorb it. 

customer knowledge base components

Understanding Your Customer Needs

The first step in building customer knowledge is figuring out what exactly you need to create. And this is done by understanding your customer needs. 

Creating Knowledge

Once you fully understand the content needs in your customer base, you can start creating knowledge resources. Building this customer knowledge can come in many forms, depending on your unique customers’ needs, so let’s cover some common and valuable options. 

Pre-Purchase Resources

Offering educational content before the purchase is critical in guiding a sale and it can come in many forms:

pre-purchase self-service resources

Post-Purchase Resources

Providing educational materials after the purchase is just as important in ensuring that the customer has a successful experience and chooses to buy again. It also can be done a lot of ways: 

post-purchase self-service resources

Exploratory Resources

Oftentimes, customers want to expand their knowledge on your product or service beyond the minimum amount required to use it successfully. Many users want the option to explore all different content to ensure they are fully grasping the capabilities of what they have purchased. You can offer this a few different ways: 

Making Knowledge Available Where Customers Need It

Understanding customer needs and creating useful resources to fulfill those needs is crucial to customer success with your product or service. But it is equally important to make these resources available where your customers are so they can easily access and consume this valuable content. And this is a two-pronged step: First, you should make this information available in convenient, easy-access locations that promote customers to self-serve with this product knowledge. Next, ensure your internal teams have access to this knowledge so they can better serve customer interactions. 

Step 1:

This is where things may get a bit trickier. It’s time to loop back to your research from the very beginning of this article (remember that?) on your customers’ behaviors. Dig into this research even deeper to uncover the different places your customers are most often visiting and utilizing. This could be your mobile app, your help-center, product landing pages, or any combination of places that is unique to any business. This is where you want to focus your educational material. 

making knowledge base available

Step 2: 

When deploying a whole bunch of new educational resources, you should make sure your employees are equipped with the same materials. We covered it a bit in the sections above, but find that it is crucial in getting right. Some customers don’t want to search for information themselves and always choose to contact and some may struggle to find what they’re looking for and have to resort to contacting. When those situations arise, you want to make sure that they are still being supplied with the same good knowledge you are providing across the various platforms, like the knowledge base, product docs, FAQs, community forums, etc. 

knowledge set-service team

Final Thoughts

The key to customer success is product success and one of the critical factors in creating a successful product is building customer knowledge. Helping your customers learn more and develop more knowledge of your product is how you make them successful. Creating product success is all-encompassing. Customer knowledge is the foundational, but there is a lot more than businesses can do to empower their customers. Learn more about guided selling and how branding contributes to product success to continue improving your product experience. 

Gianna Spitaliere

I love exploring, writing about, and building knowledge on different ways to make businesses and customers more successful all around. I have been with ServiceTarget for less than a year, but have been thrilled to expand my writing into customer self-service.

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