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Prepare Your Salesforce Knowledge Base

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Gather information to include in the knowledge base.
  • Organize the information.
  • Determine user access.

Gather the Right Information for Knowledge

Maria realizes the importance of making a plan. Ursa Major is already pretty far along the path of excellent customer support using Service Cloud. Its cases are structured so agents know where to go next to close cases fast. But she and Ada still have a lot to figure out.

Maria schedules another meeting with Ada, the top support agent at Ursa Major. Together, they figure out what information to put into the knowledge base. Ada has notes they can use to create articles. The Ursa Major website also has a list of frequently asked questions, although it’s out of date. Plus, they have manufacturer data sheets about solar components. That’s just the start—they quickly discover that they have plenty of information to add to their knowledge base.

Maria and Ada also have goals for how to structure Knowledge articles. They want to accomplish the following.

  • Help creators capture the right content.
  • Create easy-to-read articles.
  • Make articles easy to update.
  • Share different parts of the articles with different users.

Here are some questions Maria asks when designing the knowledge base.

Question Examples Best Practice
What kind of information will we publish? FAQs, procedures, product manuals, guidelines.

Ursa Major has these types of information and more. They want to publish and present different types of information in different ways.

Create a record type for each different type of information.

Record types determine how to structure each type of article and what information to share with different user profiles. Other important features, like workflow and page layouts, are also set on the record type.

Do we have an existing knowledge base or documentation to import? Ursa Major is starting with Lightning Knowledge and Ada’s notes, so they don’t need to import anything. Use the Knowledge import tool to bring articles in from a different Knowledge base.

Use the Lightning Knowledge Migration tool to move existing Salesforce Classic Knowledge content into Lightning Knowledge.

Are there fields on our cases we want to use to filter suggested articles? Product family, product region, type of issue.

Ursa Major’s important fields include solar components and collections of components called groups.

Define data category groups for each type of search filter or to determine which user profile sees the articles for each category or group.
Do we need workflow or approval processes to manage article creation and publication? Some articles require legal approval because they contain sensitive information.

Ursa Major’s solar panels have safety requirements, so procedures to install and service them must be carefully reviewed.

Add an approval process to a record type to ensure that required reviewers approve that type of article before it's published.
What type of audience are we sharing our information with? Different audiences are called channels. Set the channel on an article to determine which type of user can view the article. Once you define that, users can see the content in any self-service site they have access to.

Ursa Major has a few different kinds of users, so Maria must figure out who should see what.

Determine what information to make available to each audience. If necessary, restrict individual fields to keep sensitive information secure or restrict records with a specific category associated to specific user profiles using data categories.
How do we track article feedback? Let users give articles a thumbs up or thumbs down. Create custom reports about article ratings. Review reports and articles regularly to keep your knowledge base accurate and up to date.
How can we see which articles are effective? Monitor how often an article is attached to cases.

At Ursa Major, the most referenced article describes how much money customers save when they install a solar hot water heater.

See how many times an article is attached to a case that solves a customer issue.

Articles often linked to cases are good candidates to share with customers or agents during training. If you translate your articles, these are good ones to start with.

That’s enough to get Maria started. Now that she knows what information she has, she starts to plan what to do with it.

Organize Information for Knowledge

Maria has a great deal of information, but not all of it's relevant to every support agent. She must figure out a logical way to organize it. The first step is to organize the information into data groups.

But how can she decide what data groups to use? She examines the structure of Ursa Major’s support organization. Ursa Major divides up support teams based on the type of product they support.

  • Residential solar installations
  • Commercial solar installations
  • Individual solar components

Maria decides to group her information by team, too. All teams can view some articles, such as how to provide customer service. Only the relevant team can view other articles, such as regulations about commercial solar panels.

Within those groups—Residential, Industrial, and Individual Components—Maria further sorts the information into data categories. For the Residential group that includes categories such as solar hot water heater installations and whole house solar systems. Categorizing articles allows agents and users to find what they need more quickly.

Here are some questions to ask when categorizing articles.

Question Example Best Practice
How should information be categorized? Ursa Major groups information by teams, then categorizes it by product types.

Other companies group information by geographic area, then categorize it by product.

Data category groups contain data categories. The fewer groups, the better.

When defining data category groups and data categories, make sure that classifications are clear to users. They must know which groups and categories to select when searching for existing articles or when creating new ones.

Does any information need to be restricted? Ursa Major has different products and support agents in different states. Information about products and sales only available in Arizona shouldn’t be visible to agents in New Mexico. Set data category visibility on profiles to control which user profile has access to the articles with that data category.
Does searchability need to be enhanced? Even in a vast knowledge base, agents and customers must find the articles they need.

Ursa Major doesn’t have that problem yet, but Maria wants to avoid it.

Identify synonyms for search terms, for example linking and attaching.

Have search results highlight snippets of article text that match the search term.

Show a specific article first when a certain search term is used.

Determine Who Does What for Knowledge

Maria determines what to do to allow internal users to view articles. Good news! All internal users can view knowledge articles by default. So, Maria doesn’t have to do anything to make that happen.

But viewing isn’t all her agents will do. Eventually, many agents will write and manage articles. To figure out who needs to do what to each article, Maria and Ada consider an article’s lifecycle.

The stages of the knowledge lifecycle: create, publish, update, archive, delete, and circle back to create.

For example, Ada wants novice agents to create an article when they solve a new issue. However, before they publish that article to a wider audience, a more experienced agent like Ada must double-check and approve it. They’ll use a similar process for updating articles or when an article is archived or deleted.

Here are three common types of users and the permissions they require to do their jobs.

User Description Permissions Needed
Readers only Relatively new to the company, these agents aren’t authorized to create articles yet.

They use existing articles to answer questions and attach articles to cases.

These articles help them contribute much faster than if they had to solve all the issues themselves.

Read Knowledge permission
Contributors Advanced Knowledge users, such as Ada. They have a lot of product knowledge and understand the standards for articles.

They create, edit, and publish articles.

Manage Article permission and Read, Create, Edit, and Publish Knowledge permissions.
Knowledge admin Knowledge admins know when to retire or delete articles. Manage Article permission and Read, Create, Edit, Archive, Publish, and Delete Knowledge permissions.
Create your own table to decide how to assign Knowledge permissions to your agents and other users. For a complete list of permissions, consult Lightning Knowledge User Access.

Maria determined what kind of information she has and figured out the groups and categories she’ll use to organize the information. She even decided who needs to access what information. She’s ready to set up Lightning Knowledge and start creating Ursa Major’s knowledge base.

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