As entrepreneur Evrim Oralkan writes in the Washington Post, it's not at all productive for your small business' employees to simply pick up the phone all day answering the same five questions:

"If your business is spending too much time fielding customer questions, you aren’t just losing efficiency — you’re losing business. More than half of online customers say they’re very likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their questions, according to a recent poll by eMarketer. That means for every customer who takes the time to pick up the phone and call, another customer simply leaves your Web site."

So what's Oralkan's solution? He explains that his business, Travertine Mart, refused to write off all these time-wasting phone calls as an operating expense and instead invested in a knowledge base not unlike the one featured on Apple's website. He found that this new addition to the company website reduced the volume of over-the-phone inquiries by 23% after the first year. More importantly, total sales rose as more customers became able to obtain the answers they desired without having to pick up the phone. You can visit Oralkan's knowledge base here

The way a knowledge base works is that every time an employee answers a question, he or she adds it to the online platform. The next time a curious customer searches using the terms found in the question or answer, all the relevant, already-answered information pops up. Not only is this a convenient way for customers to gather knowledge without having to pick up the phone, the process by which questions are answered is empowering and makes it more likely they'll do business with you. 

A knowledge base's growth over time depends on dedicated employee maintenance, editorial oversight, and a keen observance of your site's metrics. If built and operated correctly, the positive effects will be felt almost immediately. Take a look at Oralkan's full article (linked below) and let us know what you think.

Read more at The Washington Post

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