What this post is about
- A knowledge base serves to share knowledge within an organization
- Start by creating topic areas based on customer groups and their questions
- The most common formats are guides, checklists, tips, FAQs, glossaries, and resource lists
- The quality of your knowledge base is defined by how well you manage to structure existing knowledge
What is a Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base (KB) is a collection of reusable knowledge. In contrast to other information collections, it aims to process the know-how of an organization in such a way that the various teams and departments can benefit from it in the future.
With the approach of classification and applicability of knowledge, the Knowledge Base clearly stands out from other sorted data collections. Wikis, for example, serve to structure and version knowledge. Cloud storage and tools for real-time editing of documents, on the other hand, are used for data exchange and collaboration.
Basic Structure of Your Knowledge Base
Building a knowledge base feels like an all-encompassing and nearly impossible task at the outset. Where does your organization's knowledge start and where does it end? One thought helps break free of this initial roadblock: knowledge is never finished. It is always evolving and, in the same way, your knowledge base will always be in flux.
Start with a clear strategy: who are the users of your knowledge base and on which topics do you need to acquire the same knowledge over and over again? Group topics and create a logical structure of instances, categories, and keywords. Always keep the retrievability of entries in mind and ask yourself what keywords users would most likely search for.
Within Zammad - your smart support inbox - we recommend setting up a knowledge base that specifically focuses on your support users (agents as well as customers) as users and thus prepares information that is relevant for products and services as well as for working with them.
Formats for Knowledge Transfer
Use a selection of the following formats in your knowledge base to make knowledge reusable. At the outset, create templates that work for your organization's needs. These can later be duplicated with one click and empower team members to add new entries themselves.
Or also called How-to: This format helps you to solve common problems step-by-step or to recommend workflows that help users get where they want to go quickly. Here you have to explain one problem per entry, its background, and various solution paths with successive steps. Onboardings and best practices are also part of the instructions as recommendations for action.
Have you defined clear standards, steps within tasks and workflows, or to-do's that are to be processed? Then enable colleagues to follow them and check recurring processes and results for completeness.
Implicit knowledge around workflows, application examples, and customers often arises over time among employees in different teams. This needs to be written down and summarized so that it can be transferred into explicit knowledge of the organization and made available to all employees as tips, recommendations, insights, or "lessons learned".
It's an abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions and lists - you guessed it - the most frequently asked questions along with answers for the main topic, product, or service. It is recommended to enrich FAQs regularly with new aspects so that over time a comprehensive library of anticipated and real questions is created.
In organizations, all sorts of technical terms and abbreviations accumulate over time, which can be difficult for new employees to understand at first. A glossary helps to explain these and also serves as an overview of relevant terminology at the product and service level.
Are there materials that can help users complete tasks faster? Or tools and methods that enable them to complete them in a structured way? Compile references and recommended uses for the necessary resources so that it is clear at a glance where they are located and how to use them.
The quality of your knowledge base is defined by how well you manage to structure existing knowledge and make it accessible within your organization. How-to guides, checklists, tips, FAQs, glossaries, and resource lists are the perfect formats to bundle know-how once generated and enable your teams to gain a real knowledge edge. Clear editorial responsibilities for the regular monitoring and expansion of content ensure long-term relevance and effectiveness.
By the way: if you are looking for a more comprehensive tool for your wiki, we would like to recommend BlueSpice! Just like Zammad, it is open-source and offers numerous possibilities to record and share your internal knowledge in a structured way.