Knowledge Base Article Management in CRM – MB2-714 Notes

This post is part of my MB2-714 exam series of articles and contains my notes relating to knowledge base article management in CRM 2016 which is an important element of the MB2-714 exam for CRM.

This post covers the following required areas –

  • Search for articles
  • Associate an article with a case
  • Use knowledge base articles to help resolve cases
  • Create, manage and maintain knowledge base article templates
  • Create, modify and publish knowledge base articles
  • Format articles
  • Attach knowledge base articles to email messages

CRM 2016 comes with two different versions of the Knowledge Base, a classic version which is seemingly identical to the CRM 2013 knowledge base and then there is an ‘Engagement Hub’ which is more along the lines of a service desk.

Search for articles

The quickest way to search articles appears to be by using the search bar in the Articles section of CRM, by default all searches will only return published articles.

The search bar contains several different methods of searching which I’ve outlined below –

  • Full-Text Search – Searches all articles’ content text. (According to resource, this can have performance issues if there are a lot of published articles.
  • Keyword Search – Searches only the keywords defined in the keywords field when an article is created or updated.
  • Title Search – Searches using only the title of articles.
  • Subject Search – Searches based on a list of predefined subjects, once selected open the filters menu again and select “Subject: ‘None’” to define what subjects to search. Limited to a single subject per search.
  • Article Number Search – Searches based on the unique article number.

Articles can also be searched from within a case form when finding a relevant article to a case.

Associate an article with a case

Knowledge base articles can be associated with cases using the “Knowledge Base Article” field found in the Research step of the case business process flow or by expanding the “Articles and Contract Information” tab and selecting the “Knowledge base article” field.

Use knowledge base articles to help resolve cases

Once a selection of knowledge base articles has been created, which cover most issues, they can then be selected for use by attaching them to an active case as I’ve described above or they can be sent directly to the customer using one of the following methods –

In Case Form

  1. Scroll down in the cases form and expand the “Articles and Contract Information” tab.
  2. Check “Show article”.
  3. User can then select Email Article to send the article to the customer.
  4. This method did seem buggy in our online test environment however with it often not attaching anything at all.

As an Activity

  1. Create a new activity email.
  2. Select INSERT TEMPLATE in the command bar or the ‘insert template’ button found above the activity contents.
  3. Search for the article to attach then once selected click Add.
  4. The article will be inserted into the activity contents ready to be sent.

From Outlook

This relies on the CRM for Outlook plugin.

  1. When creating an email or replying select Track so that the email will be tracked in CRM.
  2. Optionally set the regarding so that email is linked to the correct record.
  3. Click Insert Article and then select the relevant article.
  4. Click Add and the article will be inserted into the email contents.

The benefits to using knowledge base articles are that they can be used as a basis for reports to find what the biggest issues for customers are and also to indicate which articles are the most use to customers.

Create, manage and maintain knowledge base article templates

Knowledge base articles templates are created and configured from within Settings > Templates > Article Templates and are used to define the formatting and available contents of a knowledge base article.

By default, there are 4 preconfigured templates for articles –

  • Procedure – contains the sections ‘Purpose & Scope’, ‘Procedure’, and ‘Additional Comments’
  • Question & Answer – contains the sections ‘Question’, ‘Answer’, and ‘Additional Comments’
  • Solution to a Problem – contains ‘Problem’, ‘Solution’, ‘Additional Comments’
  • Standard KB Article – contains ‘Summary’ and ‘Additional Comments’

Create, modify and publish knowledge base articles

Knowledge base articles go through a life-cycle very similar to most corporate documents –

Create (Draft) > Review (Unapproved) > Approval (Published)

Articles may only be changed when they are in draft status, if any changes are required on an unapproved or published article then the article must first be unpublished and then published again once modified.

All articles must be connected to a subject in the subject tree, as such it is sensible to configure relevant subjects before creating articles.

Format articles

All article formatting comes from the Article Templates and as such the only way to modify the formatting of an article is to modify the original template found in Settings.

Once any changes are made to the relevant template all articles which inherit styles from that template will be updated with any style changes, however this does not affect the articles otherwise.

Image - Alberto G.

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