ReadingA quick-start guide to building a knowledge base for customer support

A quick-start guide to building a knowledge base for customer support


When you are building a knowledge base for today’s tech-smart customers, you must focus on — accuracy, accessibility, and relevance.

And to incorporate these in your knowledge base, you must make three right choices —

  • A strategic process
  • A robust knowledge base software
  • Comprehensive and user-friendly templates

While customers can use a knowledge base to help themselves, the support team can use it to serve them better.

In this blog post, we provide a comprehensive guide on the essential factors and steps to consider when selecting the right tools and templates for your needs, ensuring an informed start.

Why is building a knowledge base important?

While knowledge bases are extremely beneficial for businesses, they are also the most preferred choice of customers.

  1. Customers prefer knowledge bases over all other self-service channels. (Source: Forrester)
  2. 70% of B2B decision-makers are willing to make new purchases over $50,000 through self-service or online channels. 27% of buyers will spend more than $500,000 online. (Source: McKinsey)
  3. 88 percent of respondents from the United States stated that they expect brands or organizations to have a self-service support portal. (Source: Statista)

How to create a knowledge base for customer support?

Creating a knowledge base is not rocket science. Simply put, it is a strategic process of bringing together product information, design, architecture, and even SEO together to essentially help your customers help themselves.

Let’s learn the seven-step process of knowledge base creation.

Steps to build a smart knowledge base

  1. Define your audience and goals
  2. Identify core elements as per your goals
  3. Create a knowledge base structure
  4. Collate information from all your sources
  5. Create, organize, and manage content
  6. Design and format your knowledge base
  7. Publish your knowledge base
  8. Promote your knowledge base

Define your audience and goals

Know your target audience, and learn their goals, requirements, challenges, and expectations. And accordingly, you can define your customer service objectives and support goals. It will help you understand the purpose and role of your knowledge base.

Here are a few questions to help you define your target audience.

For customer support and IT companies, a knowledge base is essential because it helps in serving their customers better. By gathering insights on demographics, behavior, objectives, challenges, and expectations, you can build a tailored knowledge base that aligns with customer needs, fostering support objectives.

You can perform an exercise with your customer support team to take an informed approach, ensuring a customer-centric platform that addresses concerns, and facilitates goal attainment within your support strategy.

Identify core elements as per your goals

Identifying core elements for your knowledge base involves an alignment of customer support and service objectives with content strategy to create a purpose-driven and comprehensive resource for users.

You can begin by understanding your support goals and the broader objectives of your knowledge base. Establish clear priorities—whether it's troubleshooting guides, product FAQs, instructional videos, or in-depth technical articles. Your priorities should directly correspond to resolving common customer queries, addressing pain points, and facilitating an intuitive user experience.

How do you provide real value? You can consider segmenting content based on user proficiency levels or the customer journey stages. For instance, introductory guides for beginners, advanced troubleshooting for experienced users, or FAQs categorized by product features can greatly enhance accessibility.

How do you provide an excellent customer experience? You can ascertain the media types suitable for conveying information effectively — visual aids like video tutorials for step-by-step processes, great knowledge base articles for the latest tips, and infographics for facts and impact.

How do you enhance brand impression? Strive for consistency in tone, style, and branding across all content to maintain coherence and reinforce brand identity. Additionally, establish a content maintenance plan to update and refine the information, ensuring relevance and accuracy regularly.

During the entire process, ensure collaboration between the customer support team, content creators, and subject matter. Further, considering that your audience is looking for the latest and relevant information, you can establish protocols for seamless information sharing and updates to ensure a dynamic and evolving knowledge base.

Create a knowledge base structure

A structured knowledge base involves organizing information systematically to optimize user accessibility and comprehension. The whole process can be divided into three phases:

Phase one: Begin by outlining a clear hierarchical structure that reflects the diverse content types identified earlier such as individual articles, tutorial videos, FAQs for common and basic questions, etc.

Create categories, subcategories, or sections within your knowledge base to streamline navigation. For instance, categorize content based on product features, troubleshooting, tutorials, and updates.

Phase two: Consider employing a taxonomy or tagging system to enhance searchability. Tags and keywords should align with user queries, aiding in efficient content retrieval. It will help you extend a user-friendly experience by allowing visitors to find relevant information swiftly.

Phase three: Prioritize intuitive navigation by employing clear and descriptive titles for each section or category. You can use a logical sequence that resonates with how your audience typically searches for information. A well-organized table of contents or index can further simplify the user journey within the knowledge base.

A pro tip: While structuring, emphasize the importance of content interlinking. Cross-referencing related articles or topics enhances content discoverability and ensures a comprehensive understanding of interconnected information.

Regularly review and refine the structure based on user feedback, analytics, and evolving customer needs. Continuously update and reorganize content to align with changing trends, user queries, and technological advancements.

Collate information from all your sources

Collating information for your knowledge base involves amalgamating data from diverse sources to ensure comprehensive coverage and accuracy.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): SMEs provide specialized technical knowledge, detailed insights on product functionalities, and industry-specific information, ensuring accuracy and depth in content creation.

Online platforms: Extract user experiences, FAQs, and common issues from community forums and social media platforms.

Customer support and help center: Analyze common support tickets, feedback, and queries from customer support interactions to identify recurring issues, and support questions, ensuring your knowledge base addresses real-time user needs. You can take the most frequently questioned challenges to solve problems proactively.

Thought leaders and industry experts: Engage with experts for cutting-edge insights, emerging trends, and best practices, ensuring your knowledge base aligns with industry advancements and provides forward-thinking guidance.

By synthesizing information from these varied sources, you can create a well-rounded knowledge base that caters to user queries, addresses pain points, and provides accurate and up-to-date information essential for effective customer support.

Create, organize, and manage content

While you are writing documentation, take a systematic approach to create, organize and manage content.

Create new knowledge base content to bridge gaps: Utilize insights and topic ideas gathered from diverse sources to craft clear, concise, and user-centric information that meets identified user needs. You can develop varied formats that make it easier for your audiences to find answers like articles, FAQs, videos, and infographics.

A pro tip: Create an ultimate guide for each of your major product features and a knowledge base article for each of your audiences’ goals or challenges.

Organize both old and new knowledge base content: Establish a logical structure with categorized sections, subtopics, and tags. This structure aids users in effortless content discovery and navigation. And add bullet points, screenshots, videos, etc. of your products so that your users can understand the information without any hassle.

Knowledge management for version control: Implement a system to consistently track and revise content, ensuring ongoing accuracy and relevance with each iteration. This process maintains the knowledge base's reliability and usefulness over time.

Design and format your knowledge base

Your knowledge base is a self-serve tool that assists customers in finding answers and the support agents in providing faster service. Therefore, it must be user-friendly and visually engaging, enhancing accessibility and comprehension.

Intuitive interface: Craft a user interface that is easy to navigate, with clear menus, a search bar, and a logical hierarchy for effortless content discovery.

Consistent branding: Maintain consistency in design elements, brand colors, and typography aligned with your brand identity, fostering familiarity and trust among users.

Mobile responsiveness: Ensure compatibility across devices, allowing seamless access and navigation whether users are on desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

Publish your knowledge base

Publishing your knowledge base involves deploying it in a way that maximizes accessibility and usefulness for your audience while ensuring ongoing maintenance and updates.

Choose the right platform: Select a reliable and user-friendly platform to host your knowledge base, ensuring it aligns with your organization's needs and supports the desired functionalities.

Accessibility: Make the knowledge base easily accessible to your audience by integrating it with your website, customer portals, or other relevant platforms. Ensure it's prominently featured and easily navigable.

User testing: Before launch, conduct thorough user testing to identify any usability issues or navigation hurdles, ensuring a smooth experience for users.

Regular updates: Establish a content maintenance plan, schedule regular reviews, and updates to keep information current and accurate. Encourage feedback mechanisms for users to contribute insights or report issues.

By carefully planning the publication, ensuring accessibility, conducting user testing, and implementing regular maintenance, you can deploy a knowledge base that serves as a valuable, reliable, and user-centric resource for your audience.

Once you know how to create a knowledge base, the next is choosing the right knowledge-base solution to ensure the seamless integration of your knowledge repository into your existing workflow.

Promote your knowledge base

Promoting your knowledge base is crucial because it ensures maximum visibility and utilization, driving user engagement, and effectively addressing customer needs while reducing support inquiries.

You can highlight its value and emphasize the benefits of using the knowledge base in customer communications, newsletters, or on your website. Further, you can integrate links to relevant articles or sections from your knowledge base within your website, product interfaces, or customer support channels.

You can also utilize social media and email campaigns to share informative snippets, FAQs, or success stories from your knowledge base to attract users' attention and encourage visits.

For example, a tech company can promote its knowledge base by incorporating links to relevant articles within its product interface, sending regular newsletters showcasing featured articles, improving user experience, and reducing support wait times.

How to choose the right knowledge base software?

Selecting the right knowledge base software requires a meticulous evaluation process that aligns your customer needs with the software's capabilities to ensure seamless integration and optimal functionality.

Considerations for a knowledge base software

  1. Requirements/goals alignment with software features
  2. Customization, branding, and integration capabilities
  3. Scalability in terms of volume and functionalities
  4. Search engine friendly and user engagement
  5. Data-based detailed reports and analytics
  6. Support and training

Software features as per your requirements

Prioritize software that aligns with your customer’s goals and requirements, and your customer support team’s service objectives. You can also consider additional functionalities that can help your marketing teams to attract more audiences.

For instance, a product company focused on enhancing customer satisfaction and providing comprehensive support solutions would prefer essential features like customizable templates, a robust search bar, multi-format content support, and seamless integration with existing systems.

Customization, branding, and integration capabilities

Choose a knowledge base software that allows customization to reflect your brand identity. This includes customizing templates, layouts, colors, and adding your logo to maintain brand consistency.

To help your customer support and marketing teams use knowledge bases to serve better and also save time, you can ensure seamless integration with your existing systems including — customer relationship management (CRM) software, helpdesk tools, or other communication platforms used within your organization.

Scalability in terms of volume and functionalities

Ensure the software can scale alongside your business growth. It should accommodate an increasing volume of content and users while offering flexibility to adapt and add functionalities as your needs evolve.

Search engine friendly and user engagement

Opt for a platform that emphasizes search engine optimization (SEO) settings, enabling users to easily discover content through various search engines like Google. You can add meta titles and meta descriptions to all your content to enhance visibility.

Additionally, prioritize user engagement tools such as interactive elements, multimedia support, and personalized recommendations.

Data-based detailed reports and analytics

Look for software that provides comprehensive knowledge base reports. It should offer detailed insights into user behavior, content performance, popular search queries, and trends. This data-driven approach aids in optimizing content and user experience continuously.

Support and training

Consider the level of support and training provided by the software provider. You can ensure they offer comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and responsive customer support to assist with implementation, troubleshooting, and ongoing training needs.

To make sure that you choose the right knowledge base solution, you can engage in product demos, request trials, and gather feedback from potential users or relevant stakeholders within your organization to make an informed decision.

How can AI-powered software level up your knowledge base?

While you are looking for suitable knowledge base tools, you can consider utilizing the strengths of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Integrating AI into your knowledge base software can significantly enhance its functionality, making it more intelligent, responsive, and capable of meeting the dynamic needs of tech-savvy customers. When evaluating software options, consider the extent to which AI capabilities align with your customer support goals and user experience requirements.

Build an AI-powered knowledge base

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants
  • Content personalization
  • Predictive analytics
  • Automation and self-learning
  • Sentiment analysis
  1. Natural Language Processing (NLP): Look for software that incorporates NLP to understand and process natural language. It helps in improving search accuracy, allowing users to find relevant information even if they use conversational or non-standard queries. For example, a product company can implement sentiment analysis using NLP to gauge customer feedback and enhance their product development based on consumer insights.
  2. Chatbots and virtual assistants: Integration of AI-driven chatbots or virtual assistants within the knowledge base software can provide immediate, automated responses to user queries. These AI-powered tools can offer real-time assistance, guide users through troubleshooting steps, and provide instant resolutions.
  3. Content personalization: AI algorithms can analyze user behavior and preferences to personalize content recommendations within the knowledge base. This personalization improves user experience by offering tailored suggestions based on individual needs.
  4. Predictive analytics: Utilize AI-driven predictive analytics to anticipate user needs and suggest relevant content preemptively. This capability helps in proactively addressing potential issues or questions before they arise, enhancing customer satisfaction.
  5. Automation and self-learning: AI-powered knowledge bases can continuously learn from user interactions, feedback, and content updates. They can automate content curation, update suggestions, and improve search relevance over time without constant manual intervention.
  6. Sentiment analysis: AI-driven sentiment analysis can gauge user sentiment from their interactions within the knowledge base. Understanding user emotions helps in improving responses, identifying areas for improvement, and addressing user concerns more effectively.

While AI is revolutionizing various business sectors and industries, its integration within knowledge bases is reshaping information management, and in this situation, knowledge base management. AI-native platforms such as DevRev are helping product companies build intelligent knowledge bases with smart imports of articles, QAs, online information, etc., along with their automated updates and management.

Three knowledge base templates

A knowledge base is a self-service tool, and therefore, it is extremely important to prepare documentation that is clear, comprehensive, and easily accessible.

To facilitate this process, employing structured templates can significantly enhance the efficiency and organization of content within a knowledge base. Hence, we have prepared three meticulously designed knowledge base templates for a troubleshooting guide, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and product knowledge base.

Each template serves as a strategic framework, offering a structured approach to categorize and present information, enabling businesses to efficiently address common issues, FAQs, and product-specific details.

Download templates to start building and updating your knowledge base.

For more inspiration and reference, you can also take DevRev’s intelligent knowledge base as an example. It is built using its AI-native platforms so customers and potential customers can find answers swiftly, improve customer support experiences, and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

Track knowledge base metrics to measure performance

To evaluate the effectiveness and performance of the knowledge base, you can track different metrics. It enables organizations to identify areas for improvement, understand user needs, and refine content strategies to ensure the knowledge base remains relevant and useful.

Here are the key metrics:

  • User engagement: Measure views, unique visitors, and session duration to understand how actively users are interacting with the knowledge base.
  • Content effectiveness: Assess the usefulness of articles by tracking ratings, feedback, and the resolution rates of user queries.
  • Search analytics: Analyze search terms, popular queries, and failed searches to enhance content discoverability and address gaps in information.
  • Self-service success: Monitor the percentage of issues resolved without human intervention, indicating the knowledge base's effectiveness in enabling self-service.

You can utilize customer service software or tools to track knowledge base metrics streamline the process and provide in-depth insights. Consider platforms such as DevRev that offer robust analytics, customizable reports, and real-time data visualization, empowering organizations to make data-driven decisions to optimize their knowledge base content and user experience.

Frequently Asked Questions