- What is a knowledge base?
- Key benefits of a knowledge base
- Why is a knowledge base important for your business?
- How to create an effective knowledge base
- What topics to choose for the knowledge base
- Best practices for knowledge base management
- Examples of Knowledge base
- Sprinklr’s knowledge base software skyrockets your customer satisfaction and agent experience
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a centralized database of knowledge about a specific domain or topic. A comprehensive resource where information, documentation, articles, guides and other relevant content are stored and easily accessible to users.
It is designed to help users self-serve into finding answers, troubleshooting or learning about a particular subject. When direct human assistance isn’t accessible or available, knowledge bases can guide your customers towards the right solution.
A knowledge base is organized in a way that helps even first-time users navigate through different categories easily, search for specific information and find answers to their questions at ease. Frequently asked questions (FAQs),troubleshooting guides, step-by-step instructions, images, videos and best practices are the common elements of a well-structured knowledge base.
Overall, a knowledge base is a powerful resource to:
Facilitate knowledge sharing
Improve user experience
Aid agents with delivering quick resolutions by providing them with a centralized and accessible repository of relevant information.
Types of knowledge bases
With a strong knowledge base software in place, companies can create a well-organized knowledge base that is useful in customer support, technical documentation and organizational knowledge management. The accessibility of a knowledge base determines if it’s an internal or external knowledge base. If a knowledge base is accessible only to employees, it’s an internal knowledge base. If it could be accessed by employees and customers alike, it’s an external knowledge base.
Let’s discuss them in detail.
Internal knowledge base
An internal knowledge base is used by organizations to store and share internal knowledge among employees. It consists of information like company policies, procedures, project documentation and employee onboarding best practices.
External knowledge base
External knowledge base can be accessed by customers and employees alike. It constitutes information about products and services, which is shared with users through frequently asked questions (FAQs), troubleshooting guides and self-help resources.
External and internal knowledge bases can be further divided into different types based on their functionality.
External knowledge base
External knowledge bases are customer-facing documentation sites and a part of the self-serve arsenal. They are further classified into five types:
A user manual is a customer helping handbook. It is structured like a book where users can navigate back and forth as needed. The objective of a user manual is to ensure users are able to use the concerned company's products/services. If a customer finds themselves in a problem while operating the product, they could use the user manual and resolve their queries themselves.
Every customer care department around the globe will always get a set of frequently asked questions. These questions take the form of FAQ pages and are served on the company’s website. Customers can visit these pages and get an answer to their common questions instantly without involving an agent.
Software documentation is essential for users learning how to use the software in a system. It’s a written piece of text often accompanied by a software program. It consists of API documentation, build notes, troubleshooting guides, installation guides and every other content asset to make the life of users more manageable.
An installation guide is a technical document to help users install a specific program on their system. It consists of requirements for the systems and takes the user through different steps of the installation process.
A troubleshooting guide is a technical document with structured guidelines to resolve problems commonly faced while using a product or service. The guide highlights different symptoms, eliminates the potential cause and gets confirmation that the solution restores the product or service to the working state.
Unlike FAQs that cover common questions with concise answers, troubleshooting guides provide detailed step-by-step process to resolve a technical problem.
Internal knowledge base
Next, we come to internal knowledge bases aimed at employees of a company. There are four types of them.
An employee handbook is a valuable communication resource for the employer and the employee. It is an accessible guide that overviews the company's history, mission, values, policies and practices. Whenever an employee has a doubt regarding their role, responsibilities, leaves, compensation etc., they can refer to the employee handbook.
Standard operating procedure
A standard operating procedure contains all the functions and processes employees are required to carry out their jobs perfectly. The objective is to achieve efficiency and maximum productivity as well as reduce miscommunication. The SOP takes the employees through different processes, requirements and desired outcomes.
Process documentation is a compilation of of steps on how to complete a process from start to end. Companies need to document their process to make sure it gets standardized. It ensures work doesn’t get interrupted during an employee's absence.
Project documentation is the process of documenting key project details and procedures required to implement it successfully. From meeting notes, goals and objectives to the project schedule, it covers everything that key stakeholders would need in order to stay on track.
Key benefits of a knowledge base
Having a well-structured and organized knowledge base has a lot of benefits. It acts as a central repository for information and empowers users to search for answers to their problems independently. Additionally, it saves resources and time by providing accurate and consistent content. Here are some other benefits.
A knowledge base helps customers find answers to their queries without any help from an external agent. It reduces the workload on your contact center agents, freeing them to do more cognitive tasks. Additionally, your customers can resolve their queries by going through relevant articles, guides, FAQs and troubleshooting instructions themselves.
With a robust knowledge base, you reduce your ticket volume, which eliminates the need to hire more agents, bringing down your operational costs in a big way. Moreover, agents have helpful information at their fingertips, which reduces your average handling time and contact center bills.
Standardized information and consistent branding
A knowledge base allows organizations to centralize and maintain a repository of accurate and up-to-date information. This is about all agents following the standardized guidelines and SOPs and speaking in the same voice, which avoids miscommunication and branding inconsistency.
With the right knowledge base in place, customers won’t be frustrated or confused while searching for relevant information.
Improved user experience
A well-organized knowledge base helps users easily navigate through relevant categories, search for specific information and find answers to their questions quickly. The availability of organized user-friendly content makes for a satisfying user experience, promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Scalability and accessibility
Knowledge bases can store volumes of information making them scalable as organizations grow and evolve. Moreover, a knowledge base is accessible anytime and from anywhere providing users with 24/7 access to information and support.
In short, a well-organized knowledge base stores information, streamlines it, empowers users and increases organizational efficiency. It leads to better customer support, more productivity and precise decision-making.
Why is a knowledge base important for your business?
If you’re contemplating the idea of a knowledge base for your business, these reasons can help you make an informed decision.
Knowledge sharing and collaboration
A knowledge base facilitates the sharing of knowledge and expertise. Organizations can leverage it to enable employees to contribute their insights and best practices, fostering collaboration and promoting a learning culture.
Training and onboarding
Knowledge bases can be leveraged as a valuable resource for training new employees or onboarding customers. Your onboarding employess can get access to step by step instructions, training materials and resources through the knowledge base.
Analytics and insights
A lot of knowledge base platforms offer analytics features that provide insights into user behavior, popular search queries and blog performance. It will help organizations understand user needs, identify knowledge gaps and optimize the content to improve user satisfaction and engagement.
A knowledge base allows organizations to gather feedback from users, monitor usage patterns and identify areas for improvement. The feedback loop enables organizations to continuously update and refine their knowledge base to meet evolving user needs and preferences.
A knowledge base preserves information by documenting and organizing it. It ensures that critical information is not lost even when key employees leave the organization.
Enough has been said about the benefits of having a knowledge base. Now, let’s get down to designing a great resource center for your business. Read on.
How to create an effective knowledge base
Creating an effective knowledge base involves careful planning, content creation and ongoing maintenance. However, with this stepwise strategy, you will be able to create a successful knowledge base in no time.
Step 1: Define your objectives
Clearly define the goals and objectives of your knowledge base. Identify the target audience, the specific topics or areas you want to cover, and the problems or questions you aim to address.
Step 2: Understand user needs
Conduct research to understand the needs, preferences, and pain points of your target audience. Identify the most common customer inquiries, pain points and areas where self-service support can be beneficial.
Step 3: Organize and structure information
Create a logical and intuitive structure for your knowledge base. Divide the content into categories, subcategories, and tags that reflect the topics or themes you want to cover. Consider using a taxonomy that aligns with your users' mental models.
Step 4: Create clear and concise content
Develop well-written and easily understandable content. Use clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, and concise paragraphs. Break down complex information into digestible sections. Avoid jargon or technical terms unless your audience consists of experts.
Step 5: Use various formats
Incorporate different content formats such as text, images, videos, infographics and step-by-step tutorials. This caters to different learning styles and improves user engagement.
Step 6: Regularly update and maintain
Establish a process to regularly review and update the content in your knowledge base. Assign responsibility to subject matter experts or content owners to keep the information accurate and relevant. Encourage feedback from users to identify areas for improvement or latest content needs.
Step 7: Analyze usage and feedback
Monitor user behavior and engagement within your knowledge base. Analyze usage metrics, search queries and user feedback to gain insights into user needs, identify gaps in content and continuously improve the knowledge base.
Step 8: Provide support channels
Supplement your knowledge base with additional support channels like live chat, email or community forums. This ensures that users have alternative options if they can't find the information they need or require personalized assistance.
Building an effective knowledge base is an iterative process. Continuously collect user feedback, analyze usage patterns and update the content to meet evolving user needs and ensure its long-term success.
What topics to choose for the knowledge base
You can make a knowledge base the Wikipedia of your niche. Put every information required by your customers, employees and stakeholders in it. The usefulness of a knowledge base is determined by the topics it covers and whether they align with the needs and interests of the audience. Here are twelve content assets your knowledge base needs to have:
Identifying the most common questions or queries from your customers. Address them and put them in the FAQs to provide instant answers.
Identify issues that a large section of your customers encounter on a regular basis. Help your customers address it by creating a blog or guide with step-by-step instructions.
Provide detailed information about your products or services. Talk about topics such as features, specifications, pricing and usage guidelines.
Create step-by-step guides and tutorials to explain how to perform specific tasks or accomplish certain goals related to your products or services.
🔎Troubleshooting & problem-solving
Create content to address specific problems or errors customers may encounter. Provide troubleshooting steps, error code explanations and solutions to help customers resolve their issues.
Include documents that outline your company's policies, refund or return procedures, terms of service, privacy policies or any other relevant policies that customers should be aware of.
Share tips, tricks, and best practices related to your products or services. Offer guidance on how to maximize the value, efficiency and performance of your offerings.
Include a glossary that defines industry-specific or technical terms used in your knowledge base. It helps customers understand the terminology and aids comprehension.
Inform customers about product updates, new features, bug fixes or version releases. Include release notes and information about how these updates may impact their usage.
If your products or services integrate with other systems or platforms, provide information about compatibility, requirements, and integration guides.
Review and update your knowledge base content based on user feedback, emerging topics and changes in your products or services. Continuously assess the needs and preferences of your target audience to ensure your knowledge base remains relevant and valuable.
Best practices for knowledge base management
Managing a knowledge base effectively is crucial to ensure its usefulness and relevance over time. Here are some best practices for knowledge base management:
Clear ownership and accountability
Have a dedicated team or an individual responsible for managing and maintaining a knowledge base. This includes content creation, updates and overall knowledge base administration.
Regular content review and updates
Review the content in your knowledge base. Remove outdated or irrelevant information and ensure that the content remains accurate, up-to-date, and aligned with the latest products, services or processes.
Content curation and quality assurance
Implement quality control to maintain the accuracy and consistency of the content. Ensure that all articles are well-written, easy to understand and free from errors. Use consistent formatting, style and tone of voice to provide a cohesive user experience.
User feedback and process optimization
Ask users to provide feedback on the knowledge base content and usability. Collect feedback through surveys, ratings or feedback forms. Analyze the feedback and use it to identify areas for improvement, address gaps and enhance the knowledge base.
Effective search functionality
Implement a powerful search feature within the knowledge base. Optimize it to provide relevant search results. Analyze search patterns and user queries constantly to improve search algorithms and make the search experience better over time.
The knowledge base should be well-organized and easy to navigate. Classify your content assets into clear and concise categories, subcategories and tags to help users locate the information they need quickly. Implement breadcrumbs, menus, or links to enable seamless navigation between articles.
Training and onboarding
Train knowledge base administrators and contributors so that they understand the purpose, best practices and guidelines for content creation. Train employees on how to effectively use the knowledge base and encourage them to incorporate it into their workflows.
Optimize your knowledge base for mobile devices since an increasing number of users access information through smartphones and tablets. Ensure that the content layout, font sizes, and images are mobile-responsive and provide a seamless experience.
Market the knowledge base to your target audience. Ensure it is easily accessible through various channels, such as your website, customer support interactions, email communications or social media. Remind users of its availability and benefits regularly.
By implementing these best practices, you can ensure that your knowledge base remains relevant, reliable, and valuable to users, resulting in improved customer support, increased productivity, and enhanced user satisfaction.
Examples of Knowledge base
Now it's time to go through some examples of knowledge-base implementations that stand out for their design, functionality and content. Let’s dive in.
Google Help Center: Google provides a thorough and in-depth knowledge base covering various topics like Google products, troubleshooting guides and frequently asked questions.
USP: One of the biggest USP’s of Google Help Center is its multilingual support catering to users from different regions and language backgrounds. It in turn promotes inclusivity and accessibility through diverse content formats, including step-by-step guides, video tutorials and troubleshooting articles.
Microsoft Docs: Microsoft helps its end users with an extensive knowledge base consisting of product documentation, tutorials and resources on its products and services.
USP: One of the biggest USPs of Microsoft Docs is the learning resources it provides to users for acquiring new skills and getting a better understanding of Microsoft products. Also, it seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft tools such as Visual Studio and Azure Portal enhancing user experience by providing contextual documentation and guidance within the relevant tools.
Atlassian's Confluence: Confluence is an incredible knowledge base that allows different teams to create, organize and collaborate on documentation, project plans and knowledge articles.
USP: Confluence helps users with customization through macros, plugins, and themes. It enhances teams to tailor the platform to their specific needs and better functionality.
GitHub Docs: GitHub's knowledge base helps its users with comprehensive documentation and guides on software development, version control and collaboration.
USP: GitHub Docs covers all the topics relevant to developers, including APIs, workflows, best practices and specific tools and technologies. It provides comprehensive resources for various software development aspects.
The key to a successful knowledge base is to continuously update and improve it based on user feedback and evolving needs, ensuring it remains a valuable resource for your audience.
Sprinklr’s knowledge base software skyrockets your customer satisfaction and agent experience
Modern customers expect instant, contextual answers without having to wait in a response queue or manually sift through irrelevant help articles. Support agents also need a knowledge base that is powerful enough to keep pace with demanding, discerning customers. Sprinklr’s Knowledge Base software — powered by the world’s only unified customer experience (Unified-CXM) platform and AI — is purpose-built to keep your customers happy with its three disruptive features.
You can create extensive help articles crawlable by search engines that are directly searchable and accessible. Apart from that, you can add your Google Analytics ID for in-depth analytics on your Knowledge Base portal.
Use categories, tags and subcategories to organize articles. You can nest the articles as much or as little as you want for navigation.
Integration with conversational bots
Sprinklr allows you to integrate conversational bots with the Knowledge Base. These bots will be able to access your content and use a knowledge base for standard questions from customers (and free up your agents' queue).
On top of that, it enables your agents to find relevant information painlessly.
With AI-powered features like Smart Comprehend, your team gets to see content recommendations based on the context of the conversation they are having in real time.
Last but not least, you get insights into your content’s performance with Sprinklr’s smart reporting and customizable dashboards.
Expanding beyond the functionalities of a conventional knowledge base, Sprinklr’s Sprinklr Service solution delights customers and support agents with a frictionless, unified experience across 30+ digital channels.
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