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How to Create a Customer-Facing Wiki in 7 Steps

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How to Create a Customer-Facing Wiki in 7 Steps

Aug 16, 2023
6 min read

Table of contents

The effectiveness of your customer service is the difference between customers flocking to your brand or fleeing toward the competition. But in the age of self-service, how can you ensure your customers get the help they need when they need it?

Enter the customer-facing wiki—a modern-day superhero for businesses looking to provide quick and easy support to their customers. 

With a well-designed knowledge base at their fingertips, customers can get the answers they need in seconds, leaving your support team free to tackle more complex issues. 

But building a customer-facing wiki can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to creating knowledge bases. Where do you start? What information do you include? How do you know whether it’s user-friendly?

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process step-by-step. Read on to learn the importance of a customer-facing wiki and how you can build one for your business.

Table of Contents

What Is a Customer-Facing Wiki

A customer-facing wiki is a knowledge management system designed to provide customers with easy access to information about a company’s product or service. Think of it as a collection of information in diverse formats, such as product documentation, user guides, troubleshooting tips, FAQs, and more that can be organized into specific categories and topics.  

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As the name suggests, a customer-facing wiki is created for customers and made accessible to them on the internet. It allows customers to easily find answers to their questions with little to no customer service intervention. 

Wiki vs. Knowledge Base: What’s the Difference

A wiki and a knowledge base are both tools for organizing and sharing information—but they have some key differences in terms of purpose, structure, and usage.

Screengrab of Hiver's Knowledge Base
Hiver’s Knowledge Base
  • A wiki is a collaborative website or platform that enables users to create and edit content pages. It’s an open and flexible system that community users can easily edit and update. Wikis are great for projects where many people contribute to a shared knowledge base, such as in software development or documentation.
  • A knowledge base is a structured database typically used to store and organize information like customer support or technical documentation about a specific topic or product. Unlike a wiki, which is more free-flowing, a knowledge base has a defined set of categories, tags, and other metadata, making finding and retrieving information easier.

Another important difference between a wiki and a knowledge base is their intended audience. A wiki is open to anyone to read and edit, whereas you create a knowledge base for a specific audience, such as employees or customers.

When it comes to organizing and sharing information, wikis and knowledge bases are two powerful tools at your disposal, each with its own strengths and purposes. 

If you’re seeking a flexible and collaborative self-service support solution, a wiki may be the best fit for your needs. On the other hand, if your goal is to make information easily accessible to a specific audience, a knowledge base may be the more suitable option. 

Ultimately, you must understand the unique benefits of each tool to determine which one will best serve your business and customers.

Why You Need a Customer-Facing Wiki

A customer-facing wiki aims to centralize all information that can help customers find quick solutions to their problems independently. This makes it an essential business tool for several reasons, including:

  • Time saved: Investing in a customer-facing wiki is a savvy move for improving time management across your business. Customers can find answers to their questions 24/7 without having to wait for support staff to become available. This not only saves your customers time and frustration but also enables your support team to make better use of their time and expertise. 
  • Greater customer satisfaction: Customers appreciate being able to find the information they need easily and fast. With a customer-facing wiki, you can improve their overall experience with your product or service.
  • Reduced support costs: By providing customers with a self-service platform, the number of support requests your customer service team receives is reduced, which lowers support costs in turn.
  • Improved company reputation: A customer-facing wiki demonstrates care for your customers and your commitment to providing the best service. This boosts your reputation as a knowledgeable and customer-centric organization.
  • Greater customer involvement: You can allow users to contribute content to your customer-facing wiki. This can be anything, from sharing tips or conveying their respective experiences with your product or service. 

How to Create a Customer-Facing Wiki

Creating a customer-facing wiki is easier than you think, especially when you have the right guidance and tools. Here’s how to make a customer-facing wiki for your users:

An example of a customer facing wiki made created on Notion
An example of a wiki created on Notion

Step 1: Identify the Purpose of the Wiki

The first step in creating a customer-facing wiki is identifying the purpose of the wiki. 

What kind of information do you want to provide for your customers? Do you want to encourage creative collaboration among your customers? Or do you want to provide them with a place to ask questions and share knowledge?

Once you’ve identified the wiki’s purpose, create a content strategy that aligns with your goals. This could include product specifications, pricing information, frequently asked questions, troubleshooting guides, and other relevant information.

Step 2: Choose a Wiki Platform

Choose from tons of available wiki platforms, both free and paid. 

How do you know which wiki platform is the best for your needs? Consider the following factors:

  • Ease of use: Is the platform easy for administrators and users? Does it provide an instant and reliable search function?
  • Customization: Can you customize the look and feel of the wiki to match your brand? A good wiki platform should be easily editable, even by non-technical users.
  • Features: Does the platform offer the features you need, such as user authentication, page linking, version control, and commenting? 
  • Integrations: Does the platform integrate with your existing systems, such as your CRM or helpdesk? You also want the tool to allow users quick access to productivity apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams without leaving the platform. 

A tool like Hiver is a great solution for both SMBs and large enterprises, thanks to its generous free plan and powerful collaboration and documentation features. The fact that it’s easy to use and integrates with other platforms makes it even better.

Step 3: Set Up the Wiki

Once you have chosen a wiki platform, you’ll then focus on setting it up. This typically involves the following steps: 

  • Installing the software on a server
  • Configuring the settings 
  • Customizing the design

You may also need to set up user authentication and permissions to control who can access and edit the wiki.

Also, consider the levels of security needed and whether you should set your own rules in place. To make certain your customer-facing wiki is safe, pay attention to data security and liaise with your IT department to ensure compliance with company policies and data laws.

Step 4: Develop a Content Strategy

With the wiki set up, it’s time to develop a content strategy. 

Identify the topics you want to cover in the wiki and create clear, concise, and easily digestible content. Choose the categories and subcategories to include in the wiki. This will help customers find the information they need faster. 

Also, consider using multimedia (think: infographics or video marketing for customer service) to enhance the content and make it more engaging to read. You can also create a marketing messaging framework to ensure consistency across your content assets.

Step 5: Write Content for the Wiki

Writing in wiki differs from other forms of communication, as it allows you to change and modify your work multiple times by many authors. 

As you start writing, determine the structure and style you want, but assume that your content will evolve. Make sure you express and organize your information clearly so others can understand and contribute effectively. 

After preparing your content, test the wiki to ensure it works properly. Then refine the content based on customer feedback. You can also use sentence rewriter tools to modify and update your content as necessary.

Step 6: Encourage User Participation

Once you’re satisfied with how your customer-facing wiki works and looks, it’s time to collaborate.

Encourage your customers to participate in the wiki by asking them to add their own content, such as FAQs, troubleshooting tips, and product reviews. They can also use document collaboration tools like ClickUp and Google Docs to add content directly.

Explain to them why it’s a good idea and emphasize the benefits of keeping the information relevant and accurate. You can also consider creating forums or discussion boards where users can ask questions and share knowledge.

Step 7: Promote the Wiki

Promote the wiki to your customers through your website, social media channels, and email newsletters. Ensure they know the wiki is available and encourage them to use it. You can also offer discounts or prizes to users who contribute to the wiki to serve as an added incentive.

Wrapping Up

A customer-facing wiki is an incredible tool that facilitates customer success operations for businesses and provides customers with self-service support and information. As a centralized knowledge base, it helps your customers find answers to questions quickly, troubleshoot issues, and learn how to use products and services effectively.

To create a successful customer-facing wiki and maintain a good knowledge base, use Hiver’s knowledge base software. Packed with incredible features like article templates, automatic article tagging, and article versioning—presented in an intuitive interface—it’s the easiest way to ensure consistency and accuracy in your wiki content.
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