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Creating and Maintaining a Knowledge Base — What, Why & How

Customer service19 MIN READJun 14, 2023

customer service knowledge base


Think about the last time you faced an issue with a product you own. 

Before you tried reaching out to support, you hopped online to try and find a solution on your own, right? 

Your customers are no different. 

In fact, studies show that almost half of surveyed customers actually prefer to solve problems independently instead of reaching out for support. This is what makes a knowledge base such a popular self-serve support channel! 

However, creating one from scratch can be intimidating, which is probably a big reason why only a third of companies have a knowledge base

We wouldn’t want you to be on the wrong side of that statistic. So in this article, we’ll take you through the five steps you need to follow to create and maintain your very own knowledge base, look at what a knowledge base is and the impact it can have on your business. 

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is a collection of documentation that makes it easy for your customer to find solutions to problems independently. 

Klaus Knowledge Base

Knowledge base articles typically include:

  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • A glossary and/or a definition list
  • Troubleshooting instructions
  • How-to guides
  • Video demos

Klaus handling documentation.

Why is a knowledge base important?

Creating a knowledge base comes with a ton of benefits for both you and your customers. Let’s look at them with some numbers:

  • Improved customer experience 
  • Higher customer satisfaction 
  • Faster resolutions
  • More first-contact resolutions
  • Reduced number of support tickets
  • Lower support costs
  • 24/7 availability
  • More accessibility 
  • Deeper insights about your customer
  • Highly scalable 

Klaus encouraging you to read the next paragraph.

Improved customer experience and higher satisfaction

Customers appreciate being knowledgeable and having the freedom to find information on their own. 89% of customers expect companies to have an online self-service support portal like a knowledge base. Meet, or ideally exceed expectations, and you’ll have a higher CSAT.

It reduces the number of support tickets your team has to deal with

Implementing self-service options can significantly reduce customer effort. When you give customers an easy way to resolve issues on their own, it reduces the need to reach out to you. Which then equals fewer tickets in your inbox.

Klaus receiving a lot of letters.

Faster resolution rates

Self-service options like a knowledge base can help eliminate the waiting time associated with support tickets or calls, as customers can find answers instantly. Even in cases where customers still reach out with common questions, sharing a relevant knowledge base article will result in more first-contact resolutions and faster resolution rates than long-drawn-out back-and-forths. Plus, once you pair knowledge bases with customer service automation, it can save (a lot of) time and effort for both your customers and the entire company.

Lower support costs

Giving customers the power to help themselves is a great way to cut down on support tickets — and support costs. According to Gartner, the average cost of an interaction on a live channel (phone, live chat, email, etc.) is $8.01 per contact. Which seems astronomical compared to the $0.10 per contact on a self-serve channel like a knowledge base. 

Klaus making complex calculations.

24/7 availability 

One of the biggest benefits of a knowledge base is giving your customers access to your support, even when your team is not around. This is especially useful if you’re serving customers across multiple time zones. A knowledge base is accessible round the clock and doesn’t need any “supervision”. Provided that you keep it updated, that is.

Greater accessibility

A knowledge base allows you to support various learning styles since you can present information using a combination of text, images, audio, or video, just to name a few. This allows your customers to digest data in their preferred format, which further improves their ability to resolve issues independently. 

Klaus opening a self-service back rub salon for felines.

Consistency across your customer support team

A knowledge base can help with training, getting all your agents on the same page, and empowering them with the information they need to deliver exceptional service. It provides a single source of truth, ensuring the information given to customers is consistent and accurate. 

It helps you gain valuable insights about your customers

With proper knowledge base tools, you can gain insights into valuable, embedded analytics. Take a closer look at it to learn more about your customers — what they are looking for, the search terms they’re using, and the answers they’re getting.  

Self-service options are highly scalable

Another no-brainer. It’s much easier to create knowledge base articles that serve multiple customers than respond to every query individually. 

Klaus saying that knowledge is power.

There’s one thing to mention, though. Self-service options like knowledge bases have multiple benefits — but there’s still something special about having a personal touch, especially when it comes to customer interactions

Even though we have done a lot of work to automate things and lead our customers to our help center, they still prefer personalized interactions. We want things to be automated. We want our answers right away. And yet, we really want to make sure that we’re talking to a human. I don’t think that’s either good or bad, I just find it very interesting given the world that we live in right now. 
Arielle Yoder
Arielle Yoder
Customer Experience Quality Manager, Fi

5 simple steps to help you build a knowledge base

Great! Now that you’re clear about the numerous advantages, let’s go through the step-by-step process of creating a knowledge base.

Identify what you need to cover 

The first step in creating your knowledge base is determining what it will cover. 

An easy starting point is to first go through: 

  • the basic setup process customers go through when they first start using your product, 
  • and common questions that every single customer will have about your product and business.

From here, you can go deeper into specific features or issues that your customers face.

Going through your support tickets and other customer interactions will help you identify other commonly asked questions, misunderstandings, and challenges, among others.  

Once you have a list of topics, which could range from a handful to over a hundred, organize them based on how critical they are for your users to be successful with your product. 

⭐ Slow and steady: Don’t think that your knowledge base needs to cover every single question right from the get-go. Start with the most pressing topics and build this list out gradually based on your customers’ needs.  

knowledge base tips

Decide where you’ll document the information

Your internal knowledge base can be any place where you store and share information. This could technically even be a Word document, a PDF, or a shared folder on Google Drive. 

But if you’re already using a customer service help desk, chances are it has a knowledge base feature or at the very least an integration with one. 

Using knowledge base software can help ensure that your content is easy to access, find and share. It also makes knowledge management so much easier.

Consider investing in knowledge base software

If you’re looking for a dedicated knowledge base solution, consider the following:


Empower your customers and enhance your support scalability using Intercom’s integrated knowledge base. It provides quick solutions for customers, reducing inquiries for your team. With Messenger included in each article, customers can immediately initiate a conversation for additional assistance when necessary.

Intercom knowledge base screenshot.


HelpCrunch is an all-in-one customer service tool in its purest form. It offers live chat, ticketing, email marketing, pop-ups, and, of course, self-service options. The knowledge base aspect of HelpCrunch is an easy-to-use, sleek, and contemporary tool specifically designed for maximum convenience. It enables your customer support representatives to craft knowledge base articles using a user-friendly ‘What You See Is What You Get’ text editor.

HelpCrunch knowledge base screenshot.


This knowledge base software is tailored to build a structured help center, marked by its simplistic and user-friendly interface for managing both internal company knowledge and external knowledge bases. It likely stands out as the top knowledge base software for larger support teams, given its superior assortment of collaborative features.

Document360 Screenshot.


Helpjuice is purpose-built to assist in scaling your customer support and fostering improved team collaboration. Its text editor is modern and intuitive, packed with rich features. Notably, it includes essential collaboration capabilities, allowing multiple authors to concurrently work on a single article without interfering with each other’s work.

Helpjuice knowledge base screenshot.


The software features a multitude of tools, such as live chat, brain games, a training creator, and knowledge base management functionalities. It offers a text editor that is akin to Microsoft Word, along with editing instruments for customizing the look and feel of your knowledge base. ProProfs provides templates suitable for a variety of uses, including user manuals, wikis, technical documentation, or internal knowledge base software.

ProProfs screenshot.

Zendesk Guide

Zendesk Guide is an intelligent knowledge base designed to improve and share self-service content, as well as enable more efficient agents. It’s crafted to assist you and your customer service team in constantly refining your content, maintaining its relevance, and delivering it to customers promptly, even faster than saying ‘FAQ.’ Plus, customer service reps will surely appreciate the Google Docs importer feature provided by Zendesk.

Zendesk guide screenshot.

Whatever you choose, here are some features you’ll ideally want from your knowledge base software:

  • Advanced search capability 
  • An easy-to-use editor that supports different types of media
  • Collaborative authoring and version history 
  • Customizable design 
  • In-depth analytics 

The right knowledge base software is one you enjoy using regularly. And this can be different for different support teams.

Understand what it is that makes some tools work for people in your customer support team. There’ll always be some amount of compromising between different preferences because these are all subjective. If you pick something that meets the needs of the largest number of people, then adoption will happen organically.
Nouran Smogluk
Nouran Smogluk
Director, User & Partner Success, komoot

You can do this by signing up for trials of different tools to go through yourself and by also actively involving agents, who’ll be using the knowledge base software the most, in the decision-making process. Go ahead, sign up for free trials, and explore them to understand which knowledge base tool might work best for your customer service team!

Klaus with the necessary tools.

Make a structure for your knowledge base and individual articles

No matter how big or small your knowledge base is, it needs to be organized into different sections with individual articles. You can create categories based on the stage of the user journey, purpose, tasks, product area, or some combination of these.

For example:

  • Getting Started
  • Using [software]
  • Professional Features
  • Integration Userguides
  • FAQs
  • Pro Tips
  • Webinar Recordings

Klaus needs answers.

You need to remember that no matter how good your knowledge base is, customers will still reach out to you. So make sure the contact support option and information are easy to find on every page. 

Just like the overall structure, individual knowledge base articles will also need to follow a consistent format. Create writing guidelines that cover how titles will be written, the use of images and videos, how to tag articles, etc. 

⭐ Establish clear systems: At this stage, you’ll also want to define how you’ll identify new article opportunities, the process to follow while updating and publishing articles, etc. Remove bottlenecks and assign roles for each of these areas. Also, give non-support folks like the product and marketing team a seat at the table. 

Klaus drowning in documents.

Create content and publish your articles

If the person writing the article is not a subject matter expert, they simply need to collect the answer from the best-informed support team members and use that to outline the document.

⭐ Repurpose content: You don’t need to write all your knowledge base articles from scratch. You can use many of the same answers from your past customer interactions and your canned responses.  

You want your articles to be short, simple, and easy to scan without technical jargon or advanced terms. Go through your support interactions to ensure the voice and tone you use are consistent and as close as possible to the language used by your customer. 

When it comes to formatting, make liberal use of headings, sub-headings, highlighting with bold and italics, bullet points, and white space to improve readability. 

Furthermore, avoid making assumptions about your user’s level of knowledge. Take them through every single step, no matter how simple it seems to you. If your articles are well-formatted, more advanced users will simply jump to the parts that interest them. 

To prevent articles from getting too long, share links to other resources where customers can get more information. 

Lastly, support your explanations with visuals such as screenshots, images, videos, and GIFs, to provide more context and keep users engaged. Visual media leave a lot less room for ambiguity than text and is especially useful for articles that require users to execute a sequence of steps. 

⭐ Optimize for SEOAudit your content and include the keywords that your customers use when they search for information so that they can even find your articles directly on search engines like Google. 

Klaus being 100 percent perfect.

Analyze and improve your knowledge base 

Once you’ve hit publish, the foundation of your knowledge base is set. But the work doesn’t end there.

⭐ Promote your knowledge base: If you want customers to use your knowledge base, they need to know it exists. So make sure you encourage your support team to link out to these articles in customer conversations and blog posts. Plus, add it to your site’s main navigation so that your customers can easily access it whenever they need it.  

You’ll now want to learn about how customers are using your knowledge base so that you can identify gaps and further optimize it. 

Keep an eye on knowledge base metrics like

  • what they are searching for
  • terms they’re using
  • top visited pages
  • failed searches

Additionally, you’ll want to measure the impact of your knowledge base on your other customer service metrics like CSAT, Ticket Volume, and FCR. If you’re using knowledge base software, this task should be much easier.

Klaus offering a one-way ticket to a better place.

⭐ Collect feedback: Besides keeping a close eye on metrics, ask your customers how useful they find your content with a quick survey as a pop-up or at the end of the article. 

Audit your customer service resources regularly to ensure it’s always up to date. This includes adding content when you release new features or products, removing outdated information, and creating an article when you receive numerous tickets with a question that hasn’t been covered yet. 

Remember, knowledge management is key! Even though almost half of surveyed customers actually prefer to solve problems independently instead of reaching out for support, an equal number of customers have faced challenges with self-service options because the information provided was not sufficient.

Klaus giving Gavin a feed-back.

Building a helpful knowledge base — checklist

🎁 Here’s a free checklist you can use to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the steps we’ve mentioned. Create a copy and use it as you please. 

#1 Identify areas to cover 📋 

👉 Go through your support tickets and other customer interactions to identify commonly asked questions, misunderstandings, challenges, etc. Create a list of questions related to:

  • Pricing, policies, etc., and things every single customer will want to know
  • Basic setup process
  • Specific product areas or features 

#2 Pick a knowledge base software 🧰

👉  If you’re already using a customer service help desk, chances are it has a knowledge base feature or at the very least an integration with one. Regardless, these are the key features you should be looking for in an external knowledge base software: 

  • Advanced search capability 
  • An easy-to-use editor that supports different types of media
  • Collaborative authoring and version history 
  • Customizable design 
  • In-depth analytics 

#3 Create a structure 🌐

👉 Decide how you will categorize your knowledge base content, establish guidelines and assign roles. This will make knowledge management much easier.

  • Categorize the list of topics you’ve created (based on the stage of the user journey, purpose, tasks, product area, or some combination of these)
  • Make sure the knowledge base menu is clear to understand and easy to navigate
  • Ensure that the search bar and contact support options are prominently displayed 
  • Create writing guidelines that cover tone, writing style, use of images, etc. 
  • Assign roles to specific members for writing, creating media, publishing, etc. 

#4 Write knowledge base articles ✍️

👉 If the people writing the articles are not subject matter experts themselves, they simply need to collect the answer from the best-informed support team members and use that to outline the document. You want your articles to contain: 

  • Clear titles
  • Step-by-step explanations (no matter how simple a step seems to you)
  • Links to other relevant articles/content
  • Supporting images and videos 
  • Headings, sub-headings, highlighting with bold and italics, bullet points, and white space to improve readability

#5 Measure performance 📏

👉 Understand how customers are using your knowledge base by keeping an eye on: 

  • Search terms they’re using
  • Top pages
  • Failed searches 
  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate 
  • Impact on other metrics like CSAT, ticket volume, and FCR

Klaus following up on feedback.

And we’re done!

Hopefully, we’ve given you a solid base of insights to create and maintain your very own knowledge base. 

If you’ve followed our guide while also considering the unique set of needs of your customers, it won’t be long before you start seeing the impact it has on your support metrics. 

However, a good knowledge base is never complete. Proper knowledge management is key! Keep an eye on metrics and usage to constantly adapt, improve and update your knowledge base content. 

If you’re looking for suggestions on knowledge base software or need more guidance on creating and maintaining your knowledge base, head over to the Quality Tribe to get answers from a-meow-zing support folks just like you.

Originally published in July 2022; last updated in June 2023.

Written by

Jayanth Padmakumar
Jay loves all things mindfulness, sports, and craft beer. Sometimes, he also writes.

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