Think about the last time you bought a new appliance. When opening the box, you likely found a manual. It shows you how to set up and configure the appliance and provides troubleshooting advice. It makes sense that your products, and your business, come with a user manual. And that’s where Salesforce Knowledge bases come in!
Salesforce Knowledge allows you to create “user manuals,” i.e., knowledge bases, for your product or business. In this post, we’ll look at this tool a bit closer and show you the essential tips and best practices you need to become a power user.
What Is a Salesforce Knowledge Base?
Before looking at how you’d build your knowledge base, let’s first recap what Salesforce Knowledge is. It is a knowledge management system that lets you create, store, and share information with your employees, accounts, and other stakeholders. It forms a centralized location where you can manage articles, documents, FAQs, and other content.
This content is typically created by skilled internal or external writers and provides valuable information on everything from your internal processes and workflows to something as simple as using your product. Once written, you’ll publish this content on a range of channels like internal and external websites, social media, emails, and the like.
Real-World Knowledge Base Example: DoorDash
Online food ordering and delivery platform DoorDash has one of the best examples of a Salesforce Knowledge implementation. The company is the largest food delivery company in the United States and has a 56% market share. As such, it makes sense that DoorDash needs an effective knowledge base to provide information to a massive number of users.
Building Your Knowledge Base
Let’s now look at how you’d build your Salesforce knowledge base. Here, we’ll look at building a knowledge base in the Lightning experience. While meaningful differences exist between the Knowledge implementation in Lightning and Classic, Lightning is the future of Salesforce.
So, if you’re new at using Salesforce Knowledge, you’ll likely choose Lightning Knowledge. If, however, you’re using Knowledge in Salesforce Classic, you can use the Lightning Knowledge Migration Tool to switch to Lightning Knowledge.
Step 1: Plan Your Knowledge Base
The first step is to plan your knowledge base. So, you’ll consider your business’s needs, what purpose your knowledge base needs to fulfill, and plan the strategy you’ll use to create and publish your content. During this step, you’ll ask questions like:
- What types of content and information would you like to publish?
- Who will create the content?
- What will your publishing workflow look like?
- How will you categorize the information?
- Do you need to share the information in your knowledge base with external sources?
Step 2: Enable Lightning Knowledge
The next step is to enable Lightning Knowledge. Enter Knowledge in the Quick Find box from Setup and click on Knowledge Settings in the results. Click Edit on the Knowledge Settings page and select Enable Lightning Knowledge. Finally, enable any other settings based on your needs and click Save.
Once you’ve enabled Lightning Knowledge, Knowledge will appear in your Object Manager. It’s here where you’ll manage all your Lightning Knowledge settings. It’s also important to remember that you’ll need at least one article type to enable Lightning Knowledge; once enabled, you can’t disable it.
Step 3: Create Record Types and Customize Page Layouts
Depending on your business’s needs, you’ll likely create different types of content and information. In turn, these different types of content have different page layouts and other requirements. To accommodate these requirements, you’ll create different record types for your knowledge base content.
To create record types:
- Go to Record Types from the management settings and click New.
- Select Master from the dropdown list of existing record types and copy all its picklist values. You can also choose an existing record type to clone its picklist values.
- Enter a unique Record Type Label and a Record Type Name. For any opportunity, case, lead, and solution record types, you’ll also choose business processes to associate with the record type.
- Enter a description for the record type.
- Select Active to activate the record type.
- Once activated, you can configure your Knowledge User Access settings. Here, you can select Make Available next to a profile to make the record type available to all users with that profile. You can also select Make Default to make the record type the default for users with the profile.
- Next, choose a page layout for the specific profile. You can choose a single layout for all profiles, or you can choose a different layout for each profile. You can also customize your page layouts with the Enhanced Page Layout Editor.
- Once done, click Save to save the record type or Save and New to save and then create another record type.
Once you’ve set up and configured Knowledge, you can search, view, create, and manage content from the Knowledge home page.
Real-World Example: CA Technologies
CA Technologies has 600 support engineers who need to provide support for about 450 products. In addition, these engineers rely on about 40,000 support articles to do their job. Salesforce Knowledge allows the company to manage these articles effectively and efficiently. In fact, support engineers save about 60 seconds per search and a massive 5 minutes when editing an article.
A Simpler Way to Create a Salesforce Knowledge Base
If you’d like an easier way to get started with your knowledge base, use the Lightning Knowledge setup flow. It guides you through enabling Lightning Knowledge, choosing knowledge article authors, and creating data categories and data category groups.
Ultimately, the setup flow simplifies the process of setting up your knowledge base and gives you a quick way to get your Salesforce knowledge base started.
We’re Not Done Yet!
You’ve now seen how to set up and configure Salesforce Knowledge. Here are a few of our team’s best practices when doing so:
Define Article Types Correctly
Your Knowledge content won’t serve much of a purpose if no one can find it. Luckily, Salesforce Knowledge lets you define and categorize content for easy searchability. To do this and to optimize your search, you should define article types correctly. You should also establish rules and guidelines for publishers and authors on defining and categorizing article types based on their specific use.
Define Your Audience
Your knowledge base content will have the most value if it finds its intended audience. You can make sure it does by categorizing articles based on who their audience is, what jobs they do, and how much experience they have.
Manage Permissions Effectively
All internal users will get Read permission by default when you publish articles. However, Salesforce Knowledge also allows you to control access rights to give specific users more access.
For example, you can assign permissions to authors who will create, publish, archive, delete, and manage articles. In this way, you’ll ensure that no unauthorized changes are made to your knowledge base and that your users always have the correct information at hand.
Update Your Content Consistently
One of the best ways to ensure that no one uses your knowledge base is to let it go stale. In other words, your knowledge base will only serve a purpose if its information is updated regularly.
Fortunately, Salesforce gives you advanced editing options that make it easy to modify any published article. For example, when editing an already published article, you can take the published version offline and save it as a draft. You can then edit and publish it. Or, you can keep the original online and replace it with the edited version when you’re ready to publish.
Enable User Feedback
When you enable feedback on your articles, users can rate and vote on articles using either thumbs up, thumbs down, or a star rating. This rating ensures that the most relevant and helpful content is the easiest to find. But it also has another purpose. Enabling feedback on your articles is a great way to gauge their value to users. This allows you to produce higher-quality content where it falls short.
Get Started With Your Salesforce Knowledge Base Today
You now know how to get started with Salesforce Knowledge to create a knowledge base for your business! When you do, you’ll be able to maintain a single source of truth for all your business and product information. Flowing from this, your team will be more efficient because they’ll always have the correct information.
And when it comes to your customers, they’ll be much happier to see their problems solved faster. You can bet that will affect your revenue! It’s time to power up – start building your Salesforce knowledge base today.