Have you received phone calls to your office from residents constantly asking about the community’s guest policies? Or, how to obtain another parking sticker? Reading long, traditional documents may be too difficult or time-consuming compared to the ease of calling the management company. What if you were to gather all the questions and add answers to an easily searchable database? This searchable database is called a knowledge base. If well maintained, it can serve as a powerful search engine or FAQs for your community. In this blog post, we discuss some best practices to help you create a helpful knowledge base for your residents, managers, and support staff.
Keep a log of resident questions
As you receive calls or emails from residents, keep track of questions asked, the complexity of the answer, and question frequency. Also, keep track of pertinent information that you can convert into Q&A’s. Your current log of resident questions may not cover all the information you need to pass on to your community. A knowledge base that covers multiple topics can help residents find answers to questions they didn’t know they had.
Anticipate what you may be asked in the future
Try anticipating questions that you may be asked in the future. It is possible that your residents may need those questions answered, but have not yet asked. Or, perhaps recent changes may increase the number of questions coming in regarding a specific topic.
Categorize your Q&A entries
Whether you are just starting to create a knowledge base or are updating an existing one with new Q&A’s, keep your categories in mind to ease searching. Residents will not want to search through hundreds of pages to find an answer to one or a few question(s). Step into the minds of your resident: how will they search for a question? What words will they use? You may opt to use a combination of common words and their synonyms.
Write in a simple fashion
Don’t incorporate large vocabulary or buzzwords that your residents will have to pull out a dictionary to find out the meaning. Keep your content simple and to the point. You may opt to create a glossary for terms that you will be using frequently in the content. Most relevant, writing consistently will reduce confusion.
Educate your residents on the knowledge base
When you have a workable knowledge base with the most important questions answered, educate your residents on how to use it. Supply the information as part of your resident on-boarding process. Create a flyer, how-to-sheet, or make it a part of a short new resident orientation video. Educate your staff on how to create and categorize new entries, tips on answering queries effectively, and how to show residents the way your community’s knowledge base works.
Monitor and analyze your efforts
Are your residents finding the information they need, quickly? How much time are your staff members taking to answer FAQ’s now? What other frequent questions are your team asked about that doesn’t yet have an answer in your knowledge base? Take the time to monitor the results of these efforts and evaluate its effectiveness. If these efforts are not saving your team time or providing quality answers to residents, then it’s time to make changes to your knowledge base strategy.
Keep your knowledge base fresh and up-to-date
As the popular adage goes, “change is the only constant”. That too, applies to your knowledge base. As internal company and external community environment evolves and new events occur, you may have to update your existing answers or answer new questions.
As a community manager, you have the responsibility of ensuring happy residents, smooth operations, and a safe environment. An important goal for you is to answer questions efficiently and effectively. A knowledge base can help you to reduce volume of calls, emails, or visits to your office. Especially important is that a knowledge base takes the guesswork out of your resident’s queries. Never be in doubt about whether your residents are getting the correct answers or not.