Learn about the importance of a comprehensive self-service knowledge base and how to create one with LiveAgent's knowledge base templates including guides, FAQs, and tutorials.
As today’s digital-savvy, connected consumers expect and demand easy access to accurate information about the products and services they use, having a comprehensive self-service knowledge base is no longer ‘nice-to-have’ but a must-have. In fact, revealed that 90% of global consumers expect brands and organizations to offer an online portal for self-service. Moreover, according to Forrester’s survey, customers prefer knowledge bases over all other self-service channels. Below is a simple guide to writing various types of knowledge base articles along with some basic knowledge base article templates you can use to get started.
A knowledge base is an online self-service library containing articles and detailed information about a specific company, its products, or services. It can include a FAQ section, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips, user guides, and video tutorials – anything that helps customers and prospects find answers to their questions and resolve product or service issues on their own (without involving customer service).
A knowledge base can provide valuable data for customers, prospects, and even employees. When used externally, a knowledge base is where customers and prospects can go to learn everything they’d ever need to know about a company’s products or services. Building knowledge base internally helps distribute all company information among its employees.
To ensure your knowledge base is straight to the point, easily readable, informative, and highly relevant, each knowledge base article should be:
Follow these simple steps for writing effective articles for your knowledge base:
It’s critical to create a title that clearly states what task or problem the article deals with. It’s best to use titles based on actions or user expectations. So, keep them short and search-friendly by including specific keywords, and avoid using technical terms that aren’t necessary. Here are some of the most common knowledge base article titles you can use:
“Getting Started with …”
“New User Guide”
“A Guide to …”
“Intro to …”
“How to Set up Your …”
“How to Fix …”
“Managing Your Account”
“Installing Your …”
Though the structure may vary based on the article type, a typical knowledge base article would include a short intro, description of the problem (if applicable), outlining the steps to accomplish the task, summarizing the outcome and listing related links. Longer articles may have a table of contents to help readers find the sections they are interested in and skip any unnecessary information.
When it comes to formatting your knowledge base articles, simplicity is key. To make your text easily scannable, you may consider:
If you are walking your users through a step by step guide, you can make your instructions more clear by including screenshots, GIFs, videos, or whatever else may help your readers digest the content easier. In fact, when writing task-oriented copy, visuals are a must as they enrich your support content and help to keep users engaged.
Offer related links for further reading at the end of the article to help readers discover more helpful information. This is especially important when users are likely to want to learn more about a related topic, or when your article covers only one aspect of a larger set of tasks.
“You may also like”
Still unsure? No worries, we have created a couple of knowledge base article templates to help you out right away!
Title: Frequently Asked Questions
Table of contents:
Section 1 (e.g. General Questions)
Question 1 (e.g. What is Company’s Product X?)
Question 2 (e.g. What are the benefits of Product X?)
Section 2 (e.g. Features)
Question 1 (e.g. What features are included in the BASIC, PREMIUM, and PRO plans?)
Question 2 (e.g. What features does the trial include?)
Section 3 (e.g. Billing Questions)
Question 1 (e.g. What is the monthly fee?)
Question 2 (e.g. How do I upgrade/ downgrade my subscription plan?)
How-to articles help users solve problems they have with your products or services. The articles are typically brief but very specific and provide a simple step-by-step guide to performing a certain task.
How to [Name of Task]
Task: [Brief description of a task to be completed]
(e.g. “By following the instructions, you’ll be able to …”
“This article will help you set up your …”
“The following guide will provide you with instructions on how to install …”)
Prerequisites (if applicable): [Brief description of which products/features/customers the task does/doesn’t apply to]
Outcome: [Brief description of what should be possible once the task is completed]
Related articles with links
Troubleshooting articles are supposed to help users resolve more complex issues they may have with your products or services. They’re very similar to how-to articles, however, they focus on providing solutions when things go wrong, as opposed to educating users on how to complete a task or how to get the most out of a particular product feature.
Title: [Problem name]
Problem: [Brief description of the problem to be addressed]
Overview of possible solutions
Outcome: [Brief description of how to confirm the problem is solved]
Alternatives: [Explaining the next steps if the problem isn’t solved]
(e.g. “If none of these actions work, please call our customer support at (number) or start a live chat.”
“If none of the described steps helped, please send us an email at (email) or call our tech support at (number).”)
Related articles with links
Tool description articles give a short description of what a specific product/ service is. Rather than answering questions or laying out step-by-step instructions, they tell readers exactly how the product/ service works. Furthermore, they may also include some information about the features and benefits of the tool and explain why it’s worth purchasing.
Title: [Product/ Service]
[Brief introduction of tool]
[Description of tool]
[Final tips/Additional information to note about the tool]
Further Reading: Related articles with links
User guides or user manuals are typically long, detailed, comprehensive articles that provide an entire product or service description. They include complete information on using every single feature to give users a well-rounded education on the product or service. Most user guides contain both a written guide and associated images (screenshots, diagrams, etc.).
Tutorials are very similar to how-to articles with step-by-step instructions, however, they provide more in-depth information and don’t always contain steps in chronological order. Moreover, the tutorial can include a structured, complete explanation of what users can do with a specific product, service, or feature along with related visuals (screenshots, videos, etc.)
Use case 1
Tips to use it this way:
Use case 2
Tips to use it this way:
Related articles with links
Ready to put our knowledge base article templates to use?
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A knowledge base is an essential tool for customer service and support. It provides customers with searchable knowledge/information of solutions to common problems.
Determine your knowledge base's purpose and audience. Choose a structure, often beginning with a clear title, followed by an introduction, main content, and conclusion. Incorporate essential elements like links, images, or diagrams for clarity. Maintain consistent branding and language for a cohesive look and feel. Utilize tools suitable for your organization, such as word processors or content management systems, to design the template. After creating, test your template by drafting a few articles, refine based on feedback, and then share with your team along with guidelines on its usage.
A knowledge base article should be accurate, informative, and easy to understand. To achieve this, you need to identify the specific topic that will be address, conduct research, gather relevant information, and consult with experts if needed. Next, outline the structure, consider the main points, and organize the information for easy navigation. Use clear and concise language, avoid jargon or technical terms, and provide examples or visuals to clarify complex concepts.
There are several ways to categorize knowledge base articles, including by topic, type of content, audience, and level of expertise. For example, articles can be categorized based on the specific subject matter, such as "technology," "finance," or "healthcare." They can also be categorized based on the type of content, such as "how-to guides," "troubleshooting tips," or "video tutorials." Each categorization approach serves a specific purpose and helps users access the information they need.
A knowledge base is a storehouse of knowledge with the purpose of providing answers to questions and solving problems.
You can use the following types of articles in your knowledge base: FAQ articles help answer common customer service questions. Tip articles provide a quick tip for dealing with a frequent customer service issue. How-to articles provide step-by-step instructions for performing a specific task. Warning articles alert customers to potential dangers and problems.
Don't know how to start building your knowledge base? Our simple knowledge base guide and templates will point you in the right direction.
Create a user-friendly knowledge base by choosing the right software, preparing targeted content, and organizing it effectively. Avoid errors like lack of organization and poorly written content. Integrate with other tools and regularly update the content for maximum efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Customer service has evolved with the use of multiple communication channels. Speed, honesty, and accessibility are crucial. LiveAgent is a helpful tool for improving customer service, offering features like automated ticketing and real-time interactions. Knowledge bases help customers find information independently, reducing the need for constant customer support.
Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize business operations. 5 essential SOPs every business needs include consistent marketing and sales strategies. Agent reply templates and company announcement email templates are also important. Building an FAQ page is essential for businesses to offer self-service options to customers and reduce pressure on customer support. Creating an efficient FAQ page involves listing common questions, organizing and categorizing them, keeping answers concise, and updating content regularly. Common examples of FAQs cover general information, orders, accounts, payments, billing, shipping, returns/refunds, and security. Using FAQ software can help create a well-structured and visually appealing FAQ page.
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