A knowledge base helps you, onboard employees, effectively and at the same time improve customer service and support. Managing a knowledge base is a work-in-progress. But first, you need to understand how to create one. Watch this video to know how to create a knowledge base for your business.
While there are many steps involved in creating a knowledge base, this article looks at it from two broad perspectives:
- Understanding your requirement: What are you looking to create?
- Creating the knowledge base: How to nail the process!
Let’s look at these points in more detail-
#1 Understanding Your Requirement: What are You Looking to Create?
Before you even begin to build a knowledge base, you need to know what kind of knowledge base you require. There are different kinds of knowledge base such as wikis, user manuals and more, and knowing what you want to create is the first step towards finding the best way to build one.
Some common types of knowledge base you can create are:
# Personal Knowledge Base
Creating a personal knowledge base is an excellent way to organize your learning and make research or revision easy. You could store any information in the knowledge base from an initial draft of a book you’re writing, rough notes on your topic of research or even as general as a to-do-list for a project you're working on.
# Internal Knowledge Base
This works like a knowledge repository for your company. Employees can use it to access information such as meeting agendas, strategy documents, company charters, forms, policies, and procedural help. Since the knowledge base is a secure platform, employees can use it to share crucial information, documentation of new products or simply an idea or experience they think will help other employees.
Our Knowledge Management Software is carefully built to help you establish a culture of knowledge sharing among your employees.
# Online Wikis
Web-based wikis are great for sharing all kinds of information. The wikis can be shared publicly or only with a few authorized members. One of the best examples of a public wiki is, of course, Wikipedia but there are many out there in the form of FAQs, encyclopedia, community forum wiki, etc. that help millions of people learn about a new topic, every day. A private wiki, on the other hand, is for corporates who want to share company-related information with employees on a centralized platform.
# Online Manuals or Guides
Every piece of hardware you buy, be it a washing machine or a smartphone, is accompanied by a user manual. Instead of a paper-based manual, you can create an online product manual which your customers can conveniently access to resolve questions.
The difference is that a paper manual can be used only by one person or a few people at a time. With a web-based manual or guide, millions of people can access it from anywhere, at any time and on any device.
Learn more about how you can create online user manuals and document software features more efficiently. So, now that we have looked at some of the most common types of knowledge bases, what you have to decide is which of these are you looking to create?
Is it a product manual? Or are you looking to create an internal knowledge base to facilitate knowledge sharing among employees? Once you have taken the decision, it’s time to go ahead and create one.
Still, not sure?
Give us a call at (855) 776-7763 or schedule a demo and we will be happy to answer all your questions around creating a knowledge base for your company.
For now, it’s time to move on to our second point that focuses on the nitty-gritty of “creating a knowledge base”.
#2 Creating the Knowledge Base: How to Nail the Process?
Behind creating a perfect knowledge base, lies a thoughtful strategy and an actionable approach.
This is a simple, yet effective guide to creating a knowledge base. Just take a look at the steps on how to build a knowledge base for your business.
- Know and understand your target audience
- Decide the knowledge base you wish to create
- Get an in-depth understanding of the tool you are using
- Keep the content crisp and easy to understand
- Structure the information smartly
- Package it beautifully
- Use advanced features for better user experience
We will discuss each step on how to create a knowledge base in great detail in this blog.
A powerful knowledge base can literally transform your business by giving your customers exceptional experiences. But, it’s only possible if you take the right route that has the right steps to take you to your desired destination.
Create a knowledge base in the right way, and you will increase your customer count in no time.
Do it wrong and you will have to bear the brunt in the form of unhappy customers and business growth that moves downwards.
You, for sure, do not want this to happen. Do you?
Did you know that 89% of millennials use Google to find answers before they call the customer service?
Have you recognized the sea change that has come in the way customers wish to solve their queries?
Talking as a customer myself, I prefer browsing through documents to answer the questions instead of making a call. This is because it’s time-savvy and provides instant results. Imagine for yourself.
Would you like having the same conversations with representatives? Or would you prefer solving queries on your own, at least till the time you can?
Fact Check: According to Social Media Today, 70% millennials prefer using a company’s website to solve their queries.
Why would anyone want to be guided by a recorded message to get in touch with humans?
A full-fledged knowledge base software is the only solution for your business if you want to keep your customers (especially, the millennials) happy.
Hence, I would recommend you to prioritize building one to streamline processes.
Time to dive deep into these steps that will give you a gist of how to build a knowledge base.
Step #1 Know Your Audience
Understanding the profile of your audience is key to the success of your documentation. By profile, we mean understanding the nature of the problems faced by your audience.
For instance, let’s say you are creating an online guide for a new software launched by your company. The first thing to do would be to analyze the profile of your potential customer.
Some key questions to ask while doing this are:
- What does the typical day of my audience look like?
- What do they mostly use the internet for?
- What kind of language do they use daily (formal, informal)?
- What problems/challenges would they solve by using your software?
Step #2 Decide Which Type of KB You Want to Create
Once you know the kind of audience you have, it is now time to create a knowledge base. A knowledge base can be of various kinds like FAQs, manuals, wikis, user guides, etc.
The next step here is to understand the type of knowledge base which would suit best for your organization as well as your customers.
You can either take a net educated guess on the basis of customer profiling or if you have enough resources, you can create a survey. Once, you are clear which type of knowledge base you are going to create, it is time to move on.
If you need to create a centralized platform that consists of vital company related information, go for internal knowledge base. If customers are your focus, you can create online documentation and manuals, or a help-center that is fully dedicated towards solving customer queries.
Step #3 Understand Your Tool (ProProfs Knowledge Base)
Now, you are at a point where you know what you want to create and who's going to read it. It is time to understand the tool that is going to help you create your documentation.
Any tool you choose should help you create and publish documentation in minutes. Some of the features you should look out for while selecting the right tool.
WYSIWYG editor - This helps you write your documentation. It also has some basic yet interesting features such as:
- Anchor text linking - You can use anchor text linking to link different parts of text on the same page.
- Url linking - You can use it either to interlink different KB articles or to an outside Url.
- Insert Options - Insert options include horizontal and pdf breaks. There are other options to insert tables, videos, special characters, code highlighter and much more.
- Embed media - You can embed media from outside sources with few simple clicks.
- Drag and drop - You don’t really need to click on upload every time, you can just drag and drop images to upload it in your documentation.
- Integrate - Connect it with Zendesk, Google analytics, etc. for a better experience
- Easy import - You can import various files and documents to your knowledge base
Templates - Check if the software provides templates. If yes, you can easily create a knowledge base using free templates, as the outline will be in place. You simply need to write content and upload files.
Contextual help - See knowledge base examples online and you will find most of them providing full information to readers. The tool you use should help you do the same more effectively. It should let you add tooltips, lightboxes, and popups to explain the content in a better way.
Roles and permissions - The software you choose should allow setting roles and permissions for different users. With all users having separate roles, managing a knowledge base will become extremely easy.
Trial period - Any software you go for should come with a trial period. You should be able to create a knowledge base for free at least for a period of 15 or 20 days just to get a gist of how the software works. This will help you make a better choice.
Step #4 Make Your Information Simple And Easy to Understand
Most of the help documentation is written in an inverted pyramid style where information is given to readers in a step-by-step manner.
Elements of Inverted Pyramid Writing Style
Readers can easily understand the content that comes in bite-size chunks and is written in clear language.
Here are the top ways in which you can make it easy for your customers to understand the content of your knowledge base
- Divide long topics with headings and subheads
- Explain concepts with images and charts
- Offer data and statistics to make content more engaging
- Add videos tutorials, GIFs, infographics and other visual content
- Break down a wall of words with bullet lists.
Ideal knowledge base software provides features like tooltips using which you can explain technical jargons to the readers. This will help you give a seamless browsing experience to your customers.
Step#5 Use Advanced Features to Maintain Reader’s Flow
Using a help authoring knowledge base software, you can create FAQs, wikis and online manuals and provide context-sensitive help in the form of tooltips, popups, and lightboxes.
Let’s look at each one of these in more detail:
- Tooltips - You can add tooltips to answer the questions of users instantly as they experience your product, website or mobile app. These tips can link out to your knowledge base so that users looking for more information can easily find it.
- Lightboxes - Just like tooltips, you can use lightboxes to offer instant help just when your customers need it. Lightboxes can contain more information than a tooltip and can also contain images, videos etc.
- Popups - As the name suggests, you can open the contextual help content as an embedded popup in your website or app. These are great as they provide information in an interactive and engaging way.
Step#6 Organize the Information in Your Knowledge Base
You can create a knowledge base to not only store information but also to add structure to it. By organizing information, you make it easy for anyone to find what they are looking for.
Here are some ways in which you can structure information in your knowledge base:
- List of popular articles - You can integrate your knowledge base with Google Analytics to get insights into what your customers are doing and list down the most searched articles on the home page.
- Table of Contents - A table of content gives structure to your knowledge base and helps users easily navigate from one topic to another. Even if readers accidentally land on the wrong topic, they can quickly scroll through the TOC to find any topic, easily.
- Provide a search box - Adding a search box is one of the best ways to help readers easily find any article they are looking for in your knowledge base.
Interlink related content & articles - Cross linking related articles is a great way to help readers easily find relevant content in your knowledge base.
Step 7. Package it beautifully
Next step in the process is to give the final touch to your knowledge base.
Make it visually-attractive in terms of its design so that users find it interesting and engaging to read. Use a suitable logo and color to give it a unique appearance.
Use the right fonts to package your content and choose a suitable theme that goes with your brand.
Your software should comprise features that allow you to design the content beautifully and also gives you innumerable font, color and logo choices.
A quick glance at the benefits of creating a knowledge base -
- Reduced customer tickets
- Higher productivity
- Instant gratification for your customers
- Context sensitive help for users
- Centralized knowledge platform
- 24*7 access for your customers
In this simple guide on creating a knowledge base, I have tried to list down the major steps prerequisites of building online documentation, wiki or any such platform for your employees or customers. Creating a knowledge base is not rocket science and it should not be one.
The knowledge base software we have engineered makes it really easy for you to create internal documentation, help centers, wikis, or user manuals for your customers.
By easy we not only mean our WYSIWYG editor, which makes creating documentation a breeze but also the fact that we are a cloud-based knowledge base software.
With these simple steps, you will be able to create a knowledge base for yourself but the key is to keep improving it from time to time to meet the changing demands of customers.
Also if you are a global firm and are focused on customers dwelling across geographies, the software will also help you translate the content in over 60 languages.
With our carefully designed knowledge base tool, you will also be able to keep track of vital customer-related data and formulate impactful business strategies. Also, your customers will be satisfied and happy with the seamless information-gathering experience