Why You Should Stop Writing New Help Content For Your Knowledgebase—And What To Do Instead

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Authoring new help content is often the first major task and an ongoing burden on a support manager’s to-do list when implementing a customer support solution. The idea of this cumbersome writing project may seem so exhausting and time consuming that customer support teams may spend weeks developing "the right" content before actually launching a new support solution, or they may dismiss it altogether to avoid the upfront time investment. In both situations, customers are left unhappy and without answers longer than necessary.   

Here's why you should stop writing unnecessary help content for your knowledgebase, from help center articles to FAQs—and what to do instead.

A simple process will get you going in minutes:

  1. Start with a small number of your most common Q&A.
  2. Make it easy for your customers to initially ask you new questions.
  3. Only answer what they actually ask!
  4. Publish the answers to those new questions as contextual Q&A for all future customers to see.

Your volume of new questions will rapidly decrease as you organically grow (not build) a highly relevant contextual answer system where the most common questions are covered. At AnswerDash, we describe this as developing “run-time content” versus “design-time content.” 

"Design-time content" is content that your company can write when your website is being created. It is therefore limited by what you can anticipate your visitors might ask. The task is even harder given that you are an expert on your own website, and your familiarity creates an “expert blind spot,” a great inability to appreciate what people less familiar will endure on your site.

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By contrast, "run-time content" is content that arises while your website is being used by actual visitors. User-generated content is a major form of run-time content, but so are click patterns or anything else that arises during use. Incorporating run-time content into your customer self-service solution allows you to reflect actual—not anticipated—use, and avoid the pitfalls of your expert blind spot. Any FAQ your site employs should be built after seeing your visitors’ most commonly asked questions. Best of all, you'll be empowering your visitors to help themselves with powerful, relevant self-service help content.

With every new question asked through AnswerDash, a new answer is published for all future customers to see without having to ask again.

It's as simple as that.