Five signs that your customer support needs a knowledgebase audit

6th May 2015

When was the last time you did an knowledgebase audit? If the answer is 'never', you’re not alone.

A regular knowledgebase audit is a multi-step review that ensures that your support materials are relevant and useful to your audience. Doing an audit can be tedious, but it’s an important investment in the success of your own customers. Customers are four times as likely to go to a competitor if they’re experiencing service-related problems, making the quality of support a key part in your retention strategy.

With regular auditing, support teams can drastically increase the number of customers they help online. If that doesn’t convince you, here are five solid reasons  a knowledgebase audit should be part of your support operations:  

Five signs you should do it:

1. Your customers aren't calling you any more.

Customers would rather not call you, and it’s largely because they don’t have patience for a high-effort experience. They don’t want to go through a phone maze, they don’t want to repeat their personal account information and they dread getting handed off to other agents.

You may already know this anecdotally, from customers who have said, “I was looking online for an answer but couldn’t find one!” But the shift is undeniable.

Forrester reports that “for the first time in the history of our survey,” respondents are heading online to a company’s FAQ or help center more often than calling for support on the phone.

TIP: Do a knowledgebase audit to make sure your customers can intuitively find fresh and updated information.

2. Your baby boomer customers are heading online first.

You thought the boomer generation still needed some hand holding right? Wrong. Across the board, baby boomers are proving to be savvy and independent problem-solvers — and they alone account for the biggest increase of self-service adoption.

According to The Effortless Experience, the tipping point for preference to self-service is 51 years old. That’s far older than most service leaders would think. Forrester found that even the golden generation (ages 70+) is adopting a web-first approach, which means that if you haven’t done a KB audit, the time is now.

TIP: Do a knowledgebase audit to make sure your articles are easily accessible and understandable to your entire audience, including older and disabled people.

3. Your KB articles are getting low ratings. 

The way you support your customers is an extension of your brand. Low ratings on a KB article mean, at best, you’re not hellbent on helping your customers get the most value out of your relationship, and at worst, that you’re OK with wasting their time.

After all, low-rated KB articles not only indicate that they looked online for help and didn’t find what they were looking for; it also suggests that they had to go elsewhere for help — possibly switching to the phone, chat or social media — to get the support they needed.

TIP: Do a knowledgebase audit to archive links that are proven to be unhelpful so you can review and replace them with new, useful ones.

4. You're swamped by too many live support requests. 

You can reduce your live support volume by developing great, comprehensive answers. The more answers you put up online (helped greatly by visuals, screenshots and GIFs), the more customers  will search there first. With a well-developed knowledge base, support reps can easily direct customers to an article that outlines the answer step by step. This reduces their average resolution time and over time, you’ll train even your “phone-first” customers to find the answer online first. (Although this doesn’t mean you should quit phone support!)

TIP: Do a knowledgebase audit so you can replace long, repetitive live support requests with a cost-effective online support and guidance.

5. Your company is registering a high customer effort score

Removing friction in the support experience directly impacts customer loyalty. Customers who don’t find an answer will leave. The best customer service delivers the right service to the right person at the right time. If you don’t meet them where they are, they won’t meet you at all.

Many live support requests come after customers exhaust their web search first. If customers would rather research and resolve their own issues, they shouldn’t have to jump through an extra hurdle to do it. You should make it as easy as possible for them to do it.

Need a better reason? The authors of The Effortless Experience can give you one. They found “96% of customers who had high-effort experiences reported being disloyal, compared to only 9 percent of customers with low-effort experiences who reported being disloyal.”

PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that 50% of respondents in its survey of customer care was “as important as being able to navigate [a site] simply and easily.”

Clear, easy to understand information, and a quick effortless resolution topped the list too.

TIP: Do a knowledgebase audit because clear and effortless answers are what customers want.


With more and more customers heading to online first for answers, a healthy, updated knowledge base will be the nerve center of your support operations. When customers tweet inquiries, you might link them to an article. If they need help setting something, you might send them to a video.

However you design your support operations, there must be a place for this knowledge to be found and used by customers whenever they need it. If you can do this AND save on costs while you do it, wouldn’t you do it?

Nandini Jammi is part of the growth team at Kayako, where's she's helping build the global customer support community. 

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