When a customer meets an issue while using your product, the first thing they interact with is often a knowledge base article rather than a helpful member of your team. Why?
Customers prefer to be autonomous and independent when solving their problems. This makes knowledge base articles their first destination to solve issues. Knowledge base articles empower your customers to self-serve and solve (most of) their own issues without needing to contact customer service.
But wait. How should you create your knowledge base articles?
The best way to create knowledge base articles is to use knowledge base articles templates.
So, we've put together this knowledge base template to help you create knowledge base articles that fit your customers' needs, including a(n):
- Tool description article template.
- Informational article template.
- Customer onboarding flow template.
- How-to article template.
- FAQ page template.
- Troubleshooting guide template.
What is a knowledge base?
A Knowledge base is a self-serve online database (library or repository) of a company's information about its products, topics, services and related industry topics in the form of articles. A knowledge base provides information to customers, industry researchers, prospects and even employees.
The data in a knowledge base is either manually uploaded by staff and expert contributors or collected through artificial intelligence.
Contents of a knowledge base can include important facts about a product (service), each department, FAQs, directions for product/service usage, FAQs and expert content that provide in-depth solutions. Knowledge bases can also include interactive videos and walkthroughs for customers.
For example, Scribe's knowledge base serves staff and customers by helping them access the resources, information and solutions they need 24/7/365.
Scribe is a process documentation tool that lets you create, store and share knowledge base guides in seconds. Here's how it works.
Store your Scribes in platform, embed in any of your favorite tools, or use Scribe Pages to build visual process docs and templates — like the ones in this article.
Types of knowledge bases
Knowledge bases can be:
- Internal knowledge bases.
- External knowledge bases.
Internal knowledge bases
An internal knowledge base (Internal wiki) is used by employees or within the company to facilitate collaboration and knowledge gain. It stores a company's private/confidential information, accessible only by employees. It can also serve two purposes.
- An internal hub for staff and customer care and assistance.
- Supports staff to do their job well.
External knowledge bases
An external knowledge base, or customer service knowledge base, stores information accessible to users outside the organization — customers, clients, prospects and visitors. It usually stores information external users can use, such as guides, FAQs, manuals, company history/background and other customer service-related content. In some companies, an external knowledge base is called a help center.
What is a knowledge base article?
Knowledge bases contain knowledge in the form of knowledge base articles.
A knowledge base article is an online document in a company's knowledge base that provides information about the company, its product/service, product/service use or in-depth analysis. Most knowledge base articles solve common customer problems and information needs.
Here is an example of a knowledge base article from Scribe: How to create a new channel in Slack.
Knowledge base articles are often described as customer service documents that help customers in all stages of their lifecycle, especially at their "help me help myself" stage.
Common knowledge base article types are How-to guides, Informational articles, Tool descriptions, Operating manuals and step-by-step user guides, Troubleshooting guides and FAQs.
Knowledge base articles templates
Knowledge base article templates differ based on the type of information they want to relay. This is usually seen in the title. Here are descriptions of some common KB article templates in organizations.
#1. Tool description articles (product/service description)
Tool description articles or product/service overviews describe a specific tool or function of a product/service. Rather than laying out steps for answering questions, it tells you exactly how the tool works — short and direct.
Product/service descriptions are typically tailored to prospects looking to better know your tool. These often answer the "what" questions, focusing on how your tool or function works. Product description articles are often optimized to appear in search engines for prospects to see.
Tool description articles template
Here's a tool description article template made with Scribe that you can duplicate and use today.
With this template, you can create comprehensive and clear articles that provide valuable information about the features, benefits, and use cases of the tool in question. The template helps ensure that all essential information is included, making it easy to understand and reference for anyone who needs it.
#2. Informational articles
Informational articles help inform or review a specific use case, system, feature and function within your product. They don't describe problem-solving steps or the technical nitty-gritty of features. Instead, informational articles educate and inform users and add them knowledge on a feature, product, company and industry.
Here's an example of an informational article from our support knowledge base: Use a Knowledge Base to Transform Customer Service.
Informational article template
With this informational article template, authors have a clear outline to follow, ensuring that the information is presented in a logical and organized manner. You can use it for a wide range of topics, from science and technology to business and finance, making it a versatile tool for writers and content creators.
Want to build your own? Read how to create effective knowledge base documents with Scribe.
#3. Customer onboarding flows or guide (User Guide)
A key step to retaining customers is giving them a good first impression with a strong onboarding flow or user guide. Onboarding flow articles are comprehensive guides covering a full product/service or function. Onboarding flows can include articles, manuals, guides (including how-to guides), walkthroughs or longer-form tutorials like Scribe's "Getting Started With Scribe."
They help new customers get up to speed quickly through information on using features to educate them on the tool or function. Marketing teams usually send out onboarding flows or in-product walkthroughs as part of onboarding emails.
Customer onboarding flows template.
With a customer onboarding flows template, you can streamline the onboarding process, ensure consistency in customer interactions, and improve overall customer satisfaction.
You can easily tailor the template to the specific needs of your organization and can be used as a guide for creating a customized onboarding flow that meets the unique needs of your customers.
#4. How-to articles
These are also called how-to guides or articles. They're similar to informational articles but brief and show users the exact steps to take to perform a function or complete a task. They're knowledge base articles designed to help visitors quickly solve problems with their products/services. They're often listicles that break down functions into step-by-step instructions about a single task/feature, like creating an account, adding a user or changing a password.
Here's an example of a how-to article in Scribe: How to Build an Effective Knowledge Base.
How-to articles template
This how-to article template helps you guide readers through a specific task or function. It includes several sections to help organize the article and make it easy to follow.
The template provides a structure for creating clear, easy-to-follow articles that help readers understand and complete specific tasks or functions.
#5. FAQ articles page or section
FAQ articles or pages include a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about a product, customer service question, feature or company. It can be a single article or a page. They are often general or tool-specific questions with simple answers and sometimes with links to detailed answers.
FAQs can be their own articles (e.g., "How to set up a new password?") or be incorporated into a longer series (e.g., "Getting started with your account").
FAQs can also be a part of any other knowledge base article, often at the tail end of the article, called quick answers.
FAQ articles template
There are different FAQ articles templates depending on the location of use of the FAQ. Here's one with some popular sample FAQs.
Looking for some support? Read more here about How to write an FAQ page.
#6. Troubleshooting articles or guides
Troubleshooting articles are like how-to articles but are inclined toward problems customers face and how to solve them. They're brief, precise instructions to solve frequent problems users face when using a tool. They give costumes quick ways to solve problems without needing customer support.
Troubleshooting guides' introduction often jumps to listing the problems the article will solve and possible error messages the customer may have encountered before describing the solution.
Typically, these articles contain:
- Description of the problem.
- Possible reasons for the problem.
- Step-by-step solutions/instructions, with screenshots.
- A video description (optional) of the instructions.
Troubleshooting articles' content often originates from customer advocacy teams or customer problems.
Troubleshooting articles or guides template
The general troubleshooting knowledge base article format is simple. It's a structured set of guidelines that shows all the usual occurring and rare problems with solutions to make the system function correctly.
When any uncertain problem occurs while working, troubleshooting is the best way to know what is the actual problem for the interruption. Use this troubleshooting guide template to get started.
Knowledge base article best practices
The best knowledge base content is informative, engaging, straightforward and customer search intent. This requires some best practices because there's no one-size-fits-all knowledge base document template.
Here are 5 best practices for knowledge base articles.
#1. Research user search intent
You need to write a KB article that answers the user search intent. This means you must begin by understanding the user's needs. The user search intent states which intention or goal an internet user has when searching a given term. You need to conduct proper keyword research and use them to write your knowledge base that meets the search intent.
#2. Use the simple, direct tiles with elaborate keywords
External Knowledge bases must use simple, clear and concise language from the title. When choosing titles, research the topics the costumes would search for, using the information from your keyword research on search intent. Understand your customer's expected difficulty level in using the product or service. Once you have that information, write titles based on the keyword and search intent information for your customers' consumption.
The most common KB article's titles start with:
- Getting started with [ topic].
- How to [insert topic].
- [number] Ways to [topic].
- Setting up [ topic].
- Using [ topic].
- And more.
#3. Describe the problem (if applicable)
Why're you writing the knowledge base article? Start the KB article by stating the problem you're solving, especially for how-tos and troubleshooting guides.
Also, not all knowledge base articles solve problems; some explain how to complete functions or tasks. You can skip this part if the KB article is of this nature.
Identifying and describing the problem sets the stage for the article and its solutions.
#4. Make the article/content easy to skim
Customers, and everyone in general, have short attention spans. If the content is too blocked, it becomes boring and the customer will bounce. If you're writing a significantly longer knowledge base article, a wall of text will intimidate readers. Also, when users need help finding solutions, their next step is to contact support. But this isn't what they want.
So, make the content easy to skim. How?
- Use subheadings and line breaks.
- Include a table of contents.
- Create callouts.
- Use bullet points.
- Add visuals to highlight important information.
- Use various types of formatting to attract attention.
- Add videos.
Make sure your readers will spend as much time on the page as possible.
#5. Categorize articles for easier browsing.
Knowledge base articles aren't just for searching; they should be easily found too. While customers often search specific questions/topics to solve their problems, they may also browse the knowledge base database to find related topics. How can they find them?
Your database's KB articles should be categorized by topics, sections or subsections.
For example, on Scribe's knowledge base, you can search by Knowledge management, case studies, productivity, technology, SOPs, documentation, screenshots, customer success or onboarding.
This allows easy navigation.
Conclusion: Ready to create your knowledge base article?
A knowledge base allows your customers to enjoy the convenience and satisfaction of solving product problems for themselves. A knowledge base article is a great contact with your customer or staff and can improve your customer support activities.
A knowledge base article template allows you to create great knowledge base articles with little effort while maintaining consistency.
Use Scribe to make great knowledge base article templates and share them with your teams and content management contractors.