Managing Your Knowledge Base in Your Zoho CRM

Intellectual capital often describes the special sauce that your company and employees bring to the market. Your team’s knowledge, expertise, and professionalism in your market are why someone pays you or your company instead of a competitor.

Your CRM can be used to store this knowledge in an easily accessible format, connecting your internal processes and documentation. The way you manage your sales, marketing, and operations with your CRM is unique to you. The better you document the way you do business, the easier new people learn your processes and the faster your team can look up helpful reference documentation. A knowledge base is a searchable database of useful processes, facts, and documentation for your team to use. This chapter covers how to set up a knowledge base for you and your company. When directly integrated into your CRM, a knowledge base provides access to information when needed, without overwhelming your team with massive, hard-to-find documents. You can also control access to your company’s documents, by using the same permission systems you use for your sales, marketing, and operations teams.

Knowing what to put in Your Knowledge Base

Your knowledge base is an extension of the collective knowledge of your team. It’s important to document anything you can, to avoid the possibility of employees taking their knowledge when they leave your company. Store publicly distributed information in your knowledge base. Public corporate documents such as your mission and vision statements, company history, organizational chart, and frequently asked questions are all useful.

In many ways, a knowledge base parallels your CRM, where you store useful information into a software system for easy recall. Rather than storing sales data about contacts, or marketing data about campaigns, your knowledge base is similar to a company-wide resource for documentation and process.

Knowledge bases are becoming increasingly popular, with the largest example being Google’s search engine. When effectively implemented, knowledge bases cut down on paper, reduce time to research answers to questions, and avoid making mistakes that have already been solved in the past. After you commit to a knowledge base, you need to maintain it regularly.

Building Access Levels for Information

Just because you can store information in a private knowledge base doesn’t mean everyone in your company should to see it all. Some information you store isn’t relevant to everyone. Some is simply private information. Separating knowledge by group your Zoho CRM’s group architecture is key for protecting information from various leads, clients, and internal team members. You can restrict access to knowledge by the members of the groups you define in your CRM. You should have separate groups for internal team members and your leads, clients, and vendors.
You can make some documents publicly available, some documents available only to the members of that group (your new clients), and some available only to the support team managing those new clients. Using groups to segment access prevents information from being distributed inappropriate allowing contributors to modify content depending on how rigorously you want to control your knowledge base content, you may want to allow a collaborative approach to your knowledge base. Give people you trust the ability to add articles or update existing content.

Making articles public versus private

Giving access to editing your knowledge base makes it easier to add more content to it, but you must also be aware of the risks. Have an employee you absolutely trust review updates to ensure the information stored is relevant and useful.

Making articles public versus private

When you build your knowledge base, you may want to share some of it with the public through a URL. Documentation on how to use your product or service is a common application for a public knowledge base. Other articles are for internal use only. These would be operational guidelines for accomplishing common tasks, organizational charts with employee information, and other things you and your team reference on a regular basis. CRM software comes with an editor in which you can compose your documents. Editors allow you to control who can contribute or edit, designate whether the article is public or private, and wherein the hierarchical structure the article should go. If you’re writing for external consumption (people outside your company), spend more time to ensure proper grammar. You also want to write with a friendly tone, which takes more time than straightforward language. Keep your messaging in mind, as any public documents reflect your brand,

Structuring Knowledge for Internal
When you know your team is going to access your knowledge base on a regular
basis, take the time to intelligently design the structure of how it’s built. A good design for a knowledge base minimizes the effort required to look up
Include an index.just as a table of contents is key to navigate a reference book so must your knowledge base have a useful index.
Beyond structuring your knowledge base by group, individual groups have categories of information they need to find. You may want to set up multiple levels of indexing, as well Indexing a knowledge base means separating your documentation into categories, and subcategories beneath those categories. Be descriptive, and make sure each article in your knowledge base is relevant to the category it is in. If the document pertains to multiple categories, include all relevant keywords so the document can be easily searched.
Use straightforward language.
When writing for reference, it isn’t necessary to use flowery language or long, complex sentences. A knowledge base is built around fast, easy access to information. Short sentences, obvious headings, and bullet lists are the easiest way to provide that information for internal use.
Include links to other helpful resources.
When building your knowledge base, reference other webpages or documents. Doing so is useful when external sources are updated by other people, or when you want to keep your knowledge base article shorter. Cross-link your articles, so that when one article references another, all the viewer has to do is click a keyword to view that article.

Sharing Knowledge with Leads and Clients

Your knowledge base for external consumption is just as important as your
marketing messages. Bad spelling and grammar, nonintuitive structure, or misinformation reflect on your brand just as outbound messaging does.

Oftentimes, companies share product details, features, and capabilities with the general public. This information helps answer questions that your leads and clients have without burdening your customer service team. If someone does ask a question of your customer service professionals, they can suggest that the information is available online through the knowledge base. Giving access to information empowers the public to conduct research on their own, allowing you to work more efficiently.

Two actions can save your employees time:

Integrate your knowledge base with customer service.

Your chat and support ticketing systems should be able to reference your knowledge base. Even if not directly integrated into the software, if your support team can easily find, copy, and paste information from your knowledge base into responses to customers, your organization saves time and ensures consistency.

Link to your knowledge base from your website/emails.

Prospects and clients should be able to gain easy access to your publicly available content with a URL directly linking to your public-facing knowledge base. Direct access to information provides a convenient, useful way to educate people. By embedding these links in your emails and web content, your contacts can find that information on their own, limiting the burden on your support team. In turn, you can handle support with fewer resources, saving you a considerable cost.