All platforms, strategies and processes in your organization need to be measured in order to identify areas for improvement and areas to build on. Your knowledge base is no exception; collecting regular statistics on the performance and health of your knowledge base is what will keep it well-oiled and running as intended.
Neglecting to collect and measure KPIs from you community can lead to the decay of useful information and an inability to provide your customers with an adequate level of customer self service.
Before we discuss what KPIs you should focus on when looking at your knowledge base, let’s just have a quick refresher on what exactly KPIs are.
Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are essentially defined as quantifiable measurements regarding the level of performance of something within your organization, including, but not limited to, a process, a strategy, a department, or an individual. As a general principle, it usually applies to people, processes or technology.
As discussed in our blog on KPI Community Basics, KPIs are defined by the following tenants:
- A KPI is a clearly defined, quantifiable goal for your work
- A KPI is tied to a measurable metric
- A KPI is vital to the team or organization’s goal
- A KPI is easily communicated back to relevant team members or leaders in your organization
This means is that KPIs should be clear, measurable, and central to the organizations' purpose.
Why Have KPIs?
Let me just say, however, that you should have KPIs for your knowledge base, and for all people, processes and technologies within your organization. There are a number of reasons why this is important, but here’s a few to give you a good idea:
- Accountability: KPIs create a sense of accountability for your employees and your processes. Everyone should be held accountable for their roles within the organization, and setting defined metrics on what constitutes success is a good way to know whether your people, process or technologies are meeting the standards.
- Transparency: KPIs provide a clearly defined set of expectations with exactly how to meet them. As a leader in the organization, it’s important to have your expectations written in stone so that you can avoid any issues later on.
- Business Strategy: To have a successful business, you need to know what works and what doesn’t work. Without KPIs, it’s hard to know this. Setting clear-cut goals for success will inform your future business strategy since you’ll know what you need to improve on.
- Measure Success: Is your business doing well - are you hitting your goals, benchmarks and targets? If so, what are you doing right, and is there a way to leverage that to get more success? If not, what are you doing wrong and how can you improve? The secrets are always in the data, you just have to know where to look.
Truth be told, when there aren’t KPIs already in place, it’s sometimes hard to get them implemented because it can be scary to know that, potentially, many things within your organization are underperforming. Underperformance leads to change, and people usually resist this.
Also, on a more general note, people don’t like to be called out. Unfortunately, this is something that needs to be done and calling out is sometimes a necessity. There’s always room for improvement!
Nonetheless, change for the better is a necessary component to success, so you absolutely need to have organizational KPIs.
If you don't have any KPIs currently set for your knowledge base, now’s a good time to start.
With that in mind, here are 5 KPIs that are vital to the longevity and success of your knowledge base.
KPI #1: Knowledge Base Traffic
First things first, you want to be measuring the number of visitors to you knowledge base. Measuring website traffic is important because it provides a good indication of two key factors:
1. Whether people are actually using your knowledge base to find solutions
2. Whether your knowledge base is easy to find
Is your knowledge base actually being used?
It’s hard to know what numbers constitute success, and of course the level of traffic to your knowledge base will vary depending on the size of your customer base.
One thing that indicates success, however, is a positive trend line.
It is therefore important to collect statistics on traffic periodically. For example, you could collect statistics on traffic from month to month, and examine trends. If you see a positive trend line, that’s a good indicator that your knowledge base is being used and is picking up traction. On the other hand, a negative trend line could indicate that your customers don’t find the content useful.
Irregardless, this is one of the most basic KPIs to measure. Once you’ve established a trend, you can start to set benchmarks for your traffic. When you test new content, different features or new tactics, it’s always good to refer back to the baseline and see how you compare.
Is your knowledge base being found?
Your knowledge base is useless if your customers can’t find it. Statistically, your customers will take to Google as the first step in their search to find their own solutions. This means that your knowledge base needs to be SEO friendly - it needs to be optimized so that it can easily be found on Google.
This KPI has everything to do with SEO. For this KPI, you’ll want to take a look at organic search traffic.
KPI #2: Support Ticket Requests
This KPI will provide you with a good indication of whether your knowledge base is actually serving its purpose - is it successfully providing customers with self-service support?
There are two different ways that you can measure this KPI, and both are important to do:
1. The number of support ticket requests before and after the implementation of your knowledge base (you’ll probably want to do this one a few months after the implementation of your knowledge base for a more accurate picture of the results).
2. The number of page views in your knowledge base compared to the number of support ticket requests.
Has there been a decrease in support requests?
To measure this KPI, you want to have a starting point. Hopefully you have data from before you implemented your knowledge base - this will set the baseline for “before” and “after.” From here, you want to take the average ticket requests you would get per month before your knowledge base and compare it to the average ticket requests after.
From here, you’ll have a result, and it’s likely that your support ticket requests have decreased with the implementation of a knowledge base. It’s good to know the exact percentage, so you’ll have to do a bit of math, but this is what your executives want to see. They want to see tangible results - this will show them that your knowledge base is seeing success.
Do you have more page views than support requests?
The goal of your knowledge base is to deflect tickets away from your support team and to empower your customers to solve their own issues. Given this, a key KPI that you need to be measuring is page views vs. support requests.
Ideally, you want to be seeing that there are more page views than requests for support, which indicates that people are using your knowledge base to solve their issues rather than submitting a support ticket.
KPI #3: Time on Page/ Pages Viewed per Session
Measuring the amount of time that your viewers spend on the pages in your knowledge base is important. This will give you a good indication as to whether your customers are finding the content useful.
As a best practice, a customer should spend 2-3 minutes on a webpage. If your customers are spending less than a minute on a webpage in your knowledge base, it’s very likely that your customers aren’t finding the content useful or helpful.
This is where pages viewed per session comes in.
How many pages does a user have to search to find their answer? Since the purpose of your knowledge base is to provide customer self service support, you want to make sure that they can find solutions easily. If the stats show that your customers are browsing numerous pages, it’s a good indicator that your customers are having trouble finding what they’re looking for.
KPI #4: Issue Category
There are a number of issues that a customer could have, which means that your knowledge base likely has different categories of support depending on the issue type.
It’s important to measure the traffic that goes into each of these categories to know which types of issues are the most common.
When you know which issues that your customers experience the most, you’ll know which type of content you should focus on to ensure that it provides the answers that they’re looking for.
KPI #5: Quality Assurance
This KPI mainly has to do with ensuring that the content you provide for your customers is up-to-date.
To measure this KPI, you’ll have to do random checks/ audits. It would be good to start with some of the pages that are viewed frequently to ensure that they are free from spelling errors and that their content is up-to-date.
Another good way to start measuring the quality of pages is to check out some of the pages that have a short view time. This could indicate that there are issues with the quality; these pages definitely need to be checked out.
For this particular KPI, you’ll need to work on establishing an internal audit process as it does require some manual work, but it’s important nonetheless.