What is Knowledge Base Documentation?
Knowledge base documentation is unstructured and structured information in a digital system similar to that of a library or repository. The information stored in a knowledge base is either binary datum for the use of developers, and sometimes the data can vary. For some businesses, knowledge bases are not complex data structures, instead, these carry articles and how-to blogs to assist the customers with their issues.
A conventional knowledge base supports multiple users logging the data at the same time. So, you want your knowledge base to be friendlier and more welcoming for users of all ages and races.
In addition, the content stored in a user-centered knowledge base is engaging. The main reason is that whenever a user comes over, a good customer experiences results.
Customers prefer to use a knowledge base than to directly contact the help support teams. According to a study, 81% of users feel frustrated when they can’t find directions to overcome a situation or perform a task.
These statistics elaborate the need for a knowledge base. A knowledge base doesn’t need to provide information only. The documentation is goal-oriented, which means the customers can find the information they need.
This article carries information about the knowledge base documentation templates that you can use for creating knowledge base documents. We have also provided some software platforms that you can use to develop KBs.
But first, let’s dive into the proper definition of a knowledge base.
What Exactly is Knowledge Base Documentation?
A knowledge base is a library that stores a published collection of helpful information for the customers. The information means helpful articles, how-to guides, answers to frequently asked questions, and instructions for troubleshooting the issues.
A knowledge base is designed in a way to assist people with their issues online. Through these helpful documentations, a customer doesn’t need to contact the customer support team. Knowledge base enables users to solve their queries on their own.
A knowledge base does not only help the customers, but also the business. When customers use the documentation for help, the burden of phone calls and emails is reduced for the customer support team. This way, both your customers and the support team benefit, and they work efficiently with a greater focus on their responsibilities.
What are Knowledge Base Documentation Templates?
Creating a knowledge base is a trickier task. There are different knowledge base documentation tools, templates, and their types. Here are provided some template types and ideas for you to consider when creating a knowledge base. We have also provided some examples along with ideas for a better understanding:
1. A Video-Text Hybrid
As clear from the name, a video-text hybrid knowledge base style mixed an explanatory video along with the written text. The video either repeats the written information or elaborates a specific part on how to do a process.
Keep in mind that, the video is not replicable with written information. It is just a privilege for customers to either take help from the explanatory videos instead of texts.
There are two groups of customers. One prefers reading over watching and the other group prefers watching over reading. So, this type of knowledge base helps people with different learning styles and preferences.
A hybrid style KB increases the chances of customers finding solutions to their issues. In addition to that, the knowledge base reduces the need for customers to contact the support team directly.
Here’s the structure of a text-video hybrid style knowledge base template:
- Title of Query
- Explanatory Videos
Here's some information on the contents of the structure:
Title of Query
This section includes the title and the keywords that customers target to search for the solution.
The overview includes 2-4 sentences of introduction to the title and the possible query of the customer. This is a fundamental part of a knowledge template. The overview section decides whether the user will find the exact answer to their query or not.
The body section includes the answers to customer queries. This section is embedded with explanatory videos along with a step-by-step user guide. Users take information from this section for solving their issues.
Sometimes, an overall explanatory video is carried on after the overview section. It can be a single video and sometimes multiple videos.
You can also embed these videos inside of the information.
2. How-to Illustration
A how-to-style knowledge base template is one that carries a step-by-step written guide. The text includes pictures and illustrations to elaborate the process.
This style of the knowledge base is the most common and is adapted by almost every organization.
Such KBs include articles and how-to guides. This style resembles the most with customer support emails, which include pictures and illustrations as well.
If you are looking to develop a knowledge base for your business, you can start with the most common customer support email. For example, take an email that answers the frequently asked question from your customers. Edit it and shape it like a general article, include some pictures and illustrations in it for elaboration. Then you can post it in the help center of your website so that anyone can find it easily.
Here’s the structure of a how-to illustration style knowledge base template:
- Title of Query
Detail on the contents of the structure is provided below:
Title of Query
In this section, mention the title and keywords.
Write a 2–3-line short paragraph that explains the overview of the customer’s query. Include an illustration or a picture that points towards the issue.
Provide solutions to the problem along with pictures, and illustrations like flowcharts and infographics. Include the step-by-step images, so that a customer knows what to do to solve the issue.
3. Product Overview
Sometimes, the knowledge base carries information other than the content for customer issues. There are such knowledge bases that are designed for people who look to know more about a product or service.
A product overview knowledge base contains articles that talk about the features of a product, and information about the services.
In addition to that, some articles highlight the advantages and features of a product.
If you are in customer support, you might have received emails from potential customers who want to know more about a product. So, such knowledge base templates include articles that enhance the use of a product.
To get started with designing a similar knowledge base, take a customer email you’ve sent in support of your product. Shape the contents in the form of an article. Highlight the article with various sections and sub-sections. You can also include appealing product images to convince the customer.
Keep in mind that, these knowledge bases target the sales, hence are drafted with the help of the marketing team.
A usual product overview type knowledge has this structure:
- Title of Product
- Overview of the Product
- Detailed guide to Product's Feature, and Uses
Here's an insight into the content's structure for this knowledge base template:
Title of the Product
In this section, write the title of the product. You can also include some pictures of your product if it is a hard product, and screenshots if it is a soft-form product.
Overview of the Product
Describe in 2-3 lines what your product is about, and what are its basic uses.
Detailed Guide to Product’s Features, and Uses
Elaborate on the features of the product. Write down the ways a product can be used. Do efficient writing to convince the readers. Sometimes, appealing illustrations can also be added in this section.
Another knowledge base template includes getting started with content for customers.
Consider a scenario where a customer buys a product for the first time. How do they use it for the first time? How do they set up the product?
For answers to such questions, they will likely explore the company’s website for help.
Getting started articles are lengthy articles. These include a detailed introduction to the product, and a list of bullet points to use the product. However, such knowledge base articles can include videos and illustrations to support the content.
The structure of getting-started-with content is the same as the above knowledge base templates’ structures.
Here’s the template for such documentation articles:
The content in an online knowledge base is generally up to date. In addition to that, such popular articles aim for a good customer experience. A technical writer is responsible for writing documentation with a great internal structure.
5. User Basics
User basic type content in a knowledge base provides an ultimate guide to users so they can have self-service.
Many software companies allow collaborative workspaces. So, when a new user joins, there’s a need for the new user’s guides.
Thus, these documentation guides provide enough information to new users, and they are aware of how they can make the best out of a product.
The documentation structure is also the same, except for the fact that they include basic information rather than detailed guides. Here’s the structure:
This documentation template can also include videos and illustrations.
Above, we have provided some knowledge base templates. Now, let’s quickly jump over to some knowledge base documentation software.
6. FAQs Style Guide
Frequently asked questions are a fundamental section of a knowledge base. Such sections provide answers to the most commonly asked queries from users. This is one of the most helpful style templates for a knowledge base for customer satisfaction.
An FAQs knowledge base includes a search engine for questions and provides compact answers in return to customers.
Customers can search questions like “How to set up my robot?”, “How to change my password?’” and more questions like these.
Sometimes, chatbots and AI assistants serve as great FAQs tools. With these bots, you can automate this knowledge base style guide.
Apart from these chatbots, you can also write articles on frequently asked questions. The product management team can assist the content writer while drafting these articles for your knowledge base.
It is daunting and tiring for users when they can’t troubleshoot the technical issues they are facing.
Troubleshooting type knowledge bases ensure good customer support with 100% user satisfaction.
Apart from the above features, a troubleshooting style knowledge base helps the customer service team and saves time. In addition to that, a CS team cannot operate 24/7 and there are definitely some off-hours. A troubleshooting knowledge base serves its purpose to the full in such times.
Customers don’t have to contact the live team and agents. With troubleshooting type knowledge bases, they can solve their queries on their own and have self-service.
To develop such knowledge bases, research on the most commonly encountered customer issues.
Once you find out the pinpoints from where the issues originate, try solving those issues, and draft help-guides customers to troubleshoot these issues.
Furthermore, these types of knowledge bases enable product users to fix bugs on their own. Thus, it assists the self-service opportunities.
A troubleshooting knowledge base has this structure:
- Step-by-step instruction guides
All these graphics assist customers in troubleshooting their issues.
Above we have provided some useful knowledge base templates. Not all knowledge bases are the same, and not all have the same structure. Go through the above-mentioned templates, and choose a template wisely.
How to Select a Knowledge Base Documentation Template?
The method is complicated yet clear. Picking the right knowledge base template can be tricky.
Ask your customer service team to assist in the development of a knowledge base through different knowledge base tools. Research about your audience and core segments. Then, based on this research, align the self-service content with the data obtained.
If your business offers a complex product, then choose the troubleshooting style template for your knowledge base with a search function.
Furthermore, if your support team notices a huge influx in queries from potential and new customers, then an FAQ-style knowledge base is a great choice for your needs. In addition to that, use a knowledge base management technique for content creation.
Apart from that, a knowledge base tool can develop a search function. This way, customers can not only access information but also open support tickets for their queries.
Similarly, research your audience, and find what they are looking for. Then design the content based on this user research. Choose the template keeping in view the customer needs.
The contents of a knowledge base should align with the customer’s needs. Sometimes, a customer visits the company’s knowledge base to troubleshoot technical issues. While sometimes a customer views a knowledge base to know more about the product’s features.
Thus, keep all of these facts in mind and then develop the templates that best suit your needs.
Apart from all these, the majority of the knowledge base includes articles. Thus, it is completely up to you whether a customer is content with the article’s content, or gets frustrated.
Above, we have provided some of the most used documentation templates. You can look to decide which one suits the best for your business.
The video-text hybrid style is the most suitable template to write knowledge base articles. Such articles are best suitable for visual learners.
When you want to address your product, try using the product overview writing style.
In addition to that, when you want to address customer queries, go with the FAQs style.
Creating a knowledge base is as difficult as responding to unlimited customer queries. But once you design the documentation, the customer support process becomes a lot easier. There are many knowledge base tools that you can use to develop a knowledge base with search functionality.
You can read this article on knowledge base software to choose the right knowledge base software for your organization.
Go through this article on introduction to the Knowledge base, and learn how to create a knowledge base. The article also provides some insights into knowledge management.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.