A well setup and updated knowledge base solves two of the biggest help desk problems. First, since all agents have a common place to pool in and share solutions, you can be sure that customer responses are consistent throughout. Second, since customers can access and help themselves to solutions, they feel more confident about your business. And all the while, your support load reduces.
You can add both permanent solutions as well as temporary workarounds to your knowledge base from the Solutions tab in your Freshdesk account.
Once you have populated your knowledge base entries, you can setup your support portal to "auto-suggest" solutions (see image below) that are in line with a customer's query before they submit a ticket. You can enable auto-suggest from Admin > Portals > Settings tab.
Through this auto-suggest feature, a customer reaching out to you through a ticket can view relevant solutions thereby saving valuable time and effort of your agent and customer.
Understanding kBase Categories and Folders
Solution Articles or knowledge base posts promote self-help in your support portal. These should ideally cover all aspects of your product or service like "how-to" instructions and FAQs. For example, in an ecommerce store, your knowledge base articles would probably include payment instructions, shipping information and product return policies.
For better clarity, the Freshdesk knowledge base is categorized into a three level hierarchy - top level Categories that hold a group of related content, Folders under each category, and the specific Solution Articles inside each folder.
Related Solutions Articles are organized into Folders. Folders make it convenient for users to read similar articles and other possible solutions to their problem. For example, you would club solutions related to tracking codes and postal services under the "Shipping" folder.
At the top level, Categories broadly classify your solutions page into several sections. For example, you could place Shipping, Payments and Delivery related information under the Order Fulfilment category. Another interesting application of the top level category is when you are providing support across multiple brands or products. You can learn more about multiple branded support portals here.
The number within brackets next to each folder indicate the number of solution articles within the specific folder.
Creating categories, folders and solution articles
Creating a solution article in Freshdesk is a very simple process. Here's how you do it:
Quick guide for creating a new Category
Go to the Solutions tab
Click on the New Category button
Enter an appropriate name and description for the category you are about to create
Hit Save for saving the category
You can choose to edit a category by clicking on the category you have created and then clicking on the Edit icon.
Quick Guide for creating a new Folder under a category:
Go to the Solutions tab
Click on the New Folder button corresponding to the category in which you wish to create a folder
Enter an appropriate name and description for the folder you are about to create
Choose the visibility for this folder
- You can choose to make the folder visible to all, only to logged in users or agents alone depending on your requirement
- You can go further and make it visible to specific companies by entering their names
Hit Save once you are done
Quick guide for creating an article for your Knowledge Base
- Go to the Solutions tab
Click on the desired folder within which you are about to create an article
- Click on the New Article button
NOTE: The following tags will not be supported in the HTML editor: <script>, <style>; form-related tags like <form>, <input>, <select> and event attributes like onclick, onmouseover
Give a title to your article
- You can write the article and format the content in the rich text editor or using the HTML editor
Attach a file if required by clicking on Attach
Mention the keywords under tags for the article to show up when a customer searches for a particular keyword.
Choose the folder from the available drop down menu under which you wish to list this solution article.
Specify if the article is a permanent solution or is just a temporary workaround for your customers.
Freshdesk also lets you customize their meta information. That way, you could optimize your knowledge base for search engines and make sure that they rank better on Google. More information on optimizing your solution articles for search engines is available here.
Once you fill this up, click on Save if you still need to work on it. This will save the article as a draft and will be available in your drafts folder. Click on Publish if you wish to publish the solution article.
Permanent Solutions and Workarounds
Every solution article that you post on your Freshdesk knowledge base can be tagged as a Permanent Solution or a temporary Workaround. This is useful for agents as they can differentiate between solutions that are temporary workarounds vs. those that are permanent solutions.
Here is how they are different:
Permanent solutions articles are the best-practices and help guides that show your customers how to work through your products and services. For example, you would want your regular payment options to be added as a Permanent Solution.
Workarounds are stop-gap fixes for customers to jump over the problem, till you find a permanent solution to it. For example, if your payment gateway just broke down, you can give your customers an alternate solution to pay you through Paypal, till the issue gets fixed for good.
You can set this up either when you create a new solution or when you edit an existing one. When you create a new article, you will see the Article Type option where you can choose whether the solution you are posting is a permanent one, or a temporary workaround.
When you edit an existing article, you will see the 'Article Type' option once you click on Edit under Article Properties in the Article View
Note: Once you have chosen the article type, keep in mind that it will not appear in the customer view as this is only to help agents.
Growing your knowledge base through agent responses
Most businesses, big or small, struggle to keep their knowledge base up to date. Not everybody has the time to sit down and push out all the genius they have acquired over the years into several solution articles. The Email-to-KBase capability in Freshdesk lets you convert your agents' ticket replies into solution articles. Just cc the reply (from within Freshdesk or from the agent's email client) to your Freshdesk Knowledge base and the solution article is good to go!
To do this you need to know your knowledge base email ID. You can find this under Solutions > My Drafts/All Drafts (from the navigation menu).
Your KBase email ID will be mentioned here on the drafts page.
Quick guide to sending an email to the knowledge base:
Send out a response to a ticket as always, including instructions to do something.
In the bcc field, add <firstname.lastname@example.org>. In our example, it is email@example.com.
- Hit the Send button to finish sending the response.
A knowledge base draft would have been created under the Drafts section.
When you have sufficient time, you could have a look at these drafts and turn them into properly formatted knowledge base articles.
Additionally, you can also convert the knowledge hidden in your old email conversations, without having to compose them all over again. Just forward a copy of your email to your Freshdesk Knowledge Base and your new article is ready as a draft for you to review and publish.
Optimizing your solution articles for search engines
Apart from allowing you to format your solution articles in rich text, Freshdesk also lets you customize their meta information. That way, you could optimize your knowledge base for search engines and make sure that they rank better on Google.
An easy way to do this would be to fill out the SEO information every time you write a solution article. In case you have already populated your knowledge base, you could go through a one time activity where you optimize all your existing solution articles. Making this a process would help you achieve more organic traffic for your knowledge base and in return more engagement on your support portal.
It would also help if you kept your meta information in accordance to the best practices for Google optimization.
Quick guide to optimizing your knowledge base for search engines:
- Open up your Knowledge base by clicking on the Solutions tab.
Browse through your solution articles to find an existing one, or create a new one yourself.
- Once you are in the New Article page, scroll down to the bottom of the screen (while editing an existing article, the option will be available under 'Article Properties').
- You will be able to see a collapsed section which says Meta tags for search engines. Click on it to open up.
- Type in a Title Tag that is not longer than 50-60 characters (recommended).
- Type in a Meta Description that has a maximum length of 150-160 characters (recommended).
Specify some relevant keywords you want to use with the solution article.
- Click on the Save button.
Please note that the meta tags for any of your solutions are not pre-populated by default.
If you are in the Estate plan or above, you can add meta information to your support portal so that it can be found easily using search engines. To do this,
Go to Admin > Portals > Customize portal > Layouts & Pages
Enter the meta information in the head section
Don't forget to click on the Save and Publish button once you are done.
Collaborate with your team to set up your Knowledge base
When you have a large team or a lot of agents contributing to your knowledge base, features that enable easy collaboration are always helpful. Below are some scenarios to provide you more insight on what these functionalities are:
1. You are creating/editing an article and want to proactively keep your content ready
Drafts allow you to manage an offline version of your KBase articles. For example, if your team has a feature release coming up, you can prepare all the content regarding the feature ahead of time and replace the draft version by publishing it once the feature goes live.
When writing content for your solution articles, you can chose to save them as a draft and publish it later. If you just save the article, it will go into your drafts folder. You can view your drafts by navigating to Solutions > Drafts. You can also view all your drafts by clicking on the navigation menu on the top left in grey.
When you click on the navigation menu:
2. You are editing a published article that you would like your team to review
Sometimes, you might want to make edits to the published version of an article that you would like your team to review. In this case, you can save a draft of the published article you edited and publish it over the existing published version once your team approves of the new changes suggested by you. Any changes you make while you edit an article will be auto-saved.
Properties of an article will not be considered under auto-save and draft.
File attachments will not be considered in auto-save. However, if there are any addition/deletion of attachments, an alert will be triggered when the agent tries to navigate to other pages.
3. You/other agents are trying to edit the same article:
When you are editing an article and your colleague tries to edit the same article, the agent collision feature kicks in and prevents the second person from editing the article. Eg. Mark and Amy are colleagues. Amy starts editing an article because she wants to correct some grammatical errors. At the same time, Mark thinks of adding in new updates to this article. When he visits the article page, he will not be able to make any edits because of the agent collision feature. However, he will be able to preview the article by clicking on the Preview Draft option above the article. The Preview Draft option enables all agents to have a look at the last saved version of that article and provides you a view of what the customer gets to see.
Agent Collision Alert