How to Create a Knowledge Base for Your K-12 Help Desk

Create a help desk knowledge base to reduce ticket volume and empower customers to resolve issues independently.

Create a Help Desk Knowledge Base

If you’re like most K-12 technical support teams, the number of assets you support is ballooning while your budget remains the same (or shrinks!). In any given day, it feels like you receive more tickets than you resolve and you’re always chasing the goal of clearing the queue. In these cases, one of the best investments you can make is the creation of a help desk knowledge base.

A knowledge base is a collection of articles that offer standardized direction for resolving common problems. They can be targeted to customers to encourage them to self-service. This helps to reduce overall ticket volume by empowering your customers to resolve simple issues on their own. This frees up time for technicians to focus on the higher-level problems they are uniquely qualified to resolve.

The ROI of a help desk knowledge base can be huge when built strategically. A Gartner study found that customer support costs can reduce by 25% or more when a proper knowledge management discipline is in place. When you’re ready to get started, follow this framework to ensure you create the content with the biggest impact:

1. Host a brainstorming meeting with your entire technical support team to identify common, easily resolved tickets.

  • List the most common reasons users call for help.
  • Categorize those reasons into the effort needed to build an article “Quick and Easy”, “Moderate Effort”, and “Requires Specialized Knowledge”.
  • Put together a small team to work on two or three of the “Quick and Easy” category of questions. This team can try out a couple formats for presenting the information (i.e. Step-by-Step or Free Text, using images or links).

2. After the first set of articles has been written by the small team, bring the whole team back together to review them.

  • Discuss and vote on the best format to move forward with.
  • Assign the writing of the remaining “Quick and Easy” and “Moderate Effort” level topics evenly across the team.
  • Set reasonable deadlines for the completion of the articles.

3. While the team is working on the articles mentioned above, the leadership team should meet and decide:

  • How to address items that were put in the category of “Requires Specialized Knowledge”. These articles will take more time, effort, and expertise.
  • Who will approve knowledge base articles before they are published. It is best practice to have an approval process to QA the content and edit for proper formatting.
  • How will the articles be categorized within the knowledge base. One way would be to align them with the problem types in your ticketing system, because users are familiar with those. Each district is unique, so there may be another way that works better for your users, like department or application. Be sure to look through the eyes of your users to decide.

4. Once those first articles are written and categorized, ask your users for help.

  • Enlist some of your users to explore the knowledge base, preview some articles, and provide feedback from their perspective.
  • Use their feedback to improve your work!

5. Step 1 is to create the help desk knowledge base; step 2 is to maintain (and improve) it.

  • How do you keep growing it? How do you keep it accurate and relevant? Schedule some time on the agenda of your regular meetings to review data in your ticketing system and identify the next group of articles.
  • You will need to identify and create a new group of articles at least every quarter to keep growing your knowledge base so it becomes the valued resource you’ve always envisioned.

Taking the time to create a help desk knowledge base may feel like “extra work”, but it will have a huge return on investment. You’ll empower your users to resolve problems on their own, create standardization in how techs resolve common problems, and create efficiencies that allow you to do more with less.

Once your knowledge base is up and running, be sure to create a structure to maintain it by following these best practices.

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