How too's, Tips & Tricks
August 27, 2019

How Your Help Desk and Knowledge Base Can Work Together

As a support agent, you may have many different tools at your disposal. There are different tools for chat, CSAT surveys, bug reporting, productivity, the list goes on. All of them play their role to help support you, so you can support others. But, there are two tools that almost any support agent can’t live without their help desk and knowledge base.

All the tools we mention are useful, don’t get us wrong, but may not be things you use every day. However, these two babies go together like Pumba and Timon. 


Your help desk and knowledge base are a different story. They’re not only something you use daily, they’re central to working as an efficient support agent. In a way, they make the support agent’s world go right round baby right round, like a record baby, right round round round.

Your help desk is your main means of communication to customers. It’s how you interact with the outside world and provide support. It keeps conversations organized and provides context about customer’s accounts and past communication. 

Your knowledge base is where you document all the different and amazing things your product does. It’s what houses answers to common questions, FAQ’s, tips and tricks for using your product, and many other things. Also, if we’re being honest, when you can’t exactly remember how to set up a certain integration, or use a specific feature, it’s what gives you a quick refresher so you can pass the knowledge onto your customers. Don’t worry, 🤐, your secret’s safe with us, and we get it, we all forget something integral to our day-to-day.

With both these two tools being so central to supporting customers, it got us thinking: how can we combine these two tools to make something even greater? Forget Tool Time, it’s time for SUPERCHARGED DIGITAL TOOL TIME. Here are four ways you can use your help desk and knowledge base together to get even more out of both: 

  • Make canned responses more robust
  • Predict future articles
  • Convert Answers to Knowledge Base Articles
  • Automate responses to common questions through direct integration 

Make Canned Responses More Robust and Less Complicated

If you ask anyone in your support team what the five most common questions they get are, they’ll likely give you identical answers. It’s the nature of the job that there are common questions that get asked repeatedly. That simple fact is why we created things like knowledge bases in the first place. 

Though people’s interest in self-service options is on the rise, frequently asked questions still sneak their way into your inbox. In those cases, it’s time to employ the glorious canned response (or macro, or saved answer, or whatever you call it). 

It’s tempting and not uncommon, for teams to copy and paste half of a knowledge base article into an email reply. Though it may seem like a great idea to give the customer all the information they need, and you’re obviously going to answer their question that way, it’s not the most practical approach. Customers will get overwhelmed by the block of text facing them (don’t ever forget TL;DR, is a very real thing). In fact, according to research, emails that are approximately 200 words are best. If you think that sounds short, just remember the Gettysburg Address was 271 words.  

So, by making an answer too thorough you’re actually making it less effective—womp womp. Emails should really read like cliff notes. Provide a brief summary of the required steps, and then link out to a more thorough knowledge base article. That way you won’t scare people off with a massive email, but still provide them the information needed to resolve their issue. 


Predict Future Articles

Wouldn’t it be great to know what articles you need to write next for your knowledge base? Just like Biff had his sports almanac (yes, he’s a jerk, but he did a smart thing), you can use your help desk to help you predict the future for your knowledge base (and be helpful, not a power-hungry, demeaning butt-head like Biff). 

Most help desk software allows you to tag 🎫 tickets. Tags can be used for a number of things, but are basically a tool to classify a ticket. It’s a pretty common way to track different feedback customers have, or feature requests they’ve made. Just like your product team may use that data to see what features they should build next, you can also use it to uncover what knowledge base articles need to be updated, or written. 

If there are lots of tickets coming in on a common feature, that may be telling you that the article isn’t doing a good job of explaining it, or that it’s not intuitive to find in your knowledge base. Or, if it’s something that doesn’t already have an article, then it can signal it’s something that needs to be written. Remember, for each customer who contacts support about an issue there are, on average, 26 others who don’t. This is your chance to be a hero for those silent 26 laying in wait, hoping for someone to give them the fix they need. Don’t ya know? Not all heroes wear capes. 

Using your help desk to tag tickets that come in to have better insight into common customer issues is a great way to use your help desk and knowledge base in conjunction with one another. If you want to take it to the next level, you can even add tags in your help desk to indicate the need for a new article or to update an existing one. That way your team will have even more specific data to go off of. Look at you, saving your colleagues, one ticket at a time 🎆. 

Convert Answers to Knowledge Base Articles

If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, some help desk tools can help you convert an email to a knowledge base article 🤯. When an agent spends time typing up a particularly 🤓 thorough 🤓 reply to a customer email or question that comes through Slack, it’s important to capture that knowledge. Not only does it save the agent from needing to type it up again (to avoid having a TL;DWTTADI [too long, didn’t want to type again damn it] issue, you see?), it also helps share the knowledge amongst the team and customers who can help themselves. 

If you’re using Halp, you can capture knowledge by adding a book emoji 📖 to Slack messages. Then these responses will be automatically suggested for relevant questions in the future. 


Integrate in One Tool

The last, and possibly most obvious, way to connect your help desk and knowledge base software is through actually hosting your knowledge base in your help desk software. 

Though not every help desk provider offers this feature, it can be very powerful. Not only does it improve things for your customers, it also improves your agent’s workflows. A rare case where everybody wins, huzzah!

Similar to what we mentioned above about predicting new articles, having your knowledge base integrated directly with your help desk takes it a step further. Customers can rate the article on how useful it is. You can also see if the respondent abandoned an article and then contacted support, and if they did, then you know that the article isn’t doing its job and may need some updating. It’s OK, take a deep breath, how many times do you think they rewrote “Return of the Jedi” to make it perfect?   

The last component that can be very powerful is the ability to automate interactions. Using AI it can be possible for your help desk to suggest relevant articles based on a ticket topic. In some cases, there’s even an option to link with a chatbot that can suggest relevant articles based on the customer’s inquiry. As with all AI, the more interactions there are, the smarter the bot gets, the more it frees up time for agents, giving customers the answers they’re looking for, quickly. 

As good as it is for your customers and agents, it’s also a great move for your business. Research shows that chatbots can actually help you save up to 30% in customer support costs. If you’re worried it could alienate your customers, 40% of customers said they don’t care if they’re interacting with a bot or a live agent as long as they get the answers they need. So, just make sure you have a bot you’ve spent time grooming and “teaching”. Nobody wants a bot version of Jessica Simpson. Sure, she’s sweet and means well, but you’ll never get anything done.

Conclusion

Support agents have lots of tools they use. Though all of them are important in different ways, their help desk and knowledge base are two of the most critical tools they have. When you combine these two tools they get even stronger.  


You can use them in conjunction to help improve your responses to customers. Give the basics and then let your knowledge base provide the extra details, if needed. You can also use the insights from your help desk interactions to understand what needs to be added or updated, in your knowledge base. Last, you can fully integrate the two tools to respond faster and more accurately. 

Supporting your customers is no small feat, so, why not do everything you can to make things as simple as possible. There are many ways you can approach that but one that we see as a no-brainer is connecting two of your most powerful tools. 

Help desk, meet knowledge base. We think this could be the start of a great relationship (Help Desk, keep your shirt, sheesh!).


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