Does Your Knowledgebase Help or Hurt New Clients During Onboarding?

A knowledgebase is not just a nice thing to have, it’s essential to provide information to your clients on how to use your software. It’s a delicate balancing act of how-to knowledge combined with what-is information so your clients can use your software to achieve their goals. Here are some best practices to create, organize, and maintain your knowledgebase so it helps, rather than hurts, the onboarding process.


Writing for Your Audiences

Knowledgebase content is created with the goal of helping customers learn how to use your products effectively or troubleshoot problems they encounter along the way. But if that content comes from internal teams who write from an internal perspective, it may not hit the mark. Your clients may have trouble understanding the information, especially if it’s overly technical. Think about your audience when you create content and write from their perspective (if you’re wondering whether it’s too technical, ask your clients for feedback).


Find the Right Delivery Method

The next step is to figure out how to best deliver information to your audiences, and often it’s not going to be just a single way. Everyone learns in different ways, so for some, it’s helpful to read about a problem, for others screenshots or visuals help, and for others a video with a demo is the only way they can really absorb what you’re trying to communicate. You don’t need to create everything in every format, but you should create a variety of content to appeal to as many people as possible.


Make it Self-Serve

Most of your clients will want to have the information available to consume at their own pace, so forcing them into a schedule where they have to do certain things at certain times probably won’t work. Rather than in-person or live training, consider recorded webinars or courses that people can navigate based on topics or what step they are on in a process. Provide the information they need to find the knowledgebase articles, then let them decide how and when to consume it.


Use Real-World Examples

Best practices from other successful clients or case studies from your customers can help new clients see how others are using your software to achieve outcomes. These are often a great supplemental piece to other how-to articles and training during onboarding. If possible, segment these by industry or by goals and outcomes so new clients can find the ones that will most benefit them.


Get Organized

Finally, make sure your knowledgebase is organized in a way that people can navigate it on their own and that makes sense—a concept known as information architecture. Think of it the same way you do your public-facing website from a user experience perspective, providing intuitive pathways to find information and helping people get what they need without 15 clicks through a website.

Onboarding is a time when your clients are learning everything they can about your products and your company. Your knowledgebase is a critical touchpoint in the onboarding process to demonstrate your value and help them get up to speed.

Peter Ord