Have you ever Googled "How to delete my [Company Name] account" and ended up on a page about how to do precisely that?
Two minutes later, the job was done.
That page was probably from the company's knowledge base. A knowledge base is a fantastic way for your customers to save time and effort when they need help. A thoughtful and comprehensive knowledge base should be the basis of any support team's strategy because almost 70% of customers try to resolve their issues on their own before contacting support.
Before we jump into some great knowledge base examples, let's quickly look at what they are and how they can benefit your business.
What is a knowledge base?
A knowledge base is a public collection of information about a product, service, or company.
Knowledge bases make it easier for people to find solutions to their problems independently. They're a way of empowering customers to find answers or overcome challenges without relying on contacting your support team.
Knowledge bases combine relevant information in a single place for easy access, and they usually include different types of content:
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Articles with information related to the business
- Troubleshooting guides
- User guides and manuals
A basic knowledge base typically starts with articles to help customers with simple requests, such as how to change your account's email address, recover a password, or manage payments.
The information published in a knowledge base can come from across a company, but usually, the customer experience (CX) team is in charge of building and maintaining it.
This process of managing a knowledge base is known as knowledge management. Most companies use a dedicated knowledge base tool to make knowledge management an easy and effective process.
Pro tip: Looking to make knowledge management a little easier? HubSpot's free Guide Creator can help you create how-to guides and step-by-step instructions in just a few clicks!
Why Having a Knowledge Base Is Important
Pop quiz: Which of the below would you prefer?
- Spending one minute reading an article to find out how to change your password
- Emailing the company, waiting for a reply, getting an answer, then still having to change your password yourself?
You'd probably choose the first option and just do it yourself, right?
Your customers probably feel the same way, and a great knowledge base is how you make that happen. The more complete and well-structured your knowledge base is, the more actions customers will be able to accomplish on their own.
That's great for them and for you. Every time a customer can help themselves, it also means fewer tickets for your support team, freeing them up to focus on more complex issues.
Benefits of a Knowledge Base
We've already hit on a few reasons why every company should have a knowledge base, but here are a few additional ways in which a knowledge base can benefit your organization:
- Around-the-clock support: Your knowledge base will be available 24/7. No matter what time of the day or night, your customers will be able to get the information they need.
- Faster resolution: When your customers can help themselves, there's no need to wait on hold or for a response from support.
- It can boost your SEO: A well-written SEO can organically help get visits to your site. Since knowledge bases also rank in search results, they can contribute to attracting potential customers.
- More time for the support team to focus on complex issues: If basic issues get solved through the knowledge base, that means more time for your team to work on higher-impact tickets. Plus, a knowledge base works as a resource for agents to share with customers.
- It can offer powerful insights: Most knowledge base software includes reporting. Using the insights you collect from the knowledge base, you can spot gaps in the content available or even areas of your product or service that confuse people.
7 Great Knowledge Base Examples for Inspiration
We've rounded up some examples of companies that offer effective knowledge bases. They're easy to use, well-organized, and consistent.
While there's no one-size-fits-all knowledge base — as every company has users with different needs — there's something to learn from each one.
As soon as you sign up for the product analytics tool Amplitude, you receive an email from the Customer Success Team. It contains three crucial links: introductory videos, live workshops, and the knowledge base.
Knowing they have a complex tool, Amplitude tries to anticipate the potential questions that new users might have. Their knowledge center has a "Get started" section that guides you, step by step, through the critical things you need to know to get rolling.
Another handy feature of Amplitude's knowledge center is the Follow button. If you choose to follow, you'll get a notification whenever there is a new article or comment. This can be a great way to keep users up-to-date on key areas, such as product releases.
Slack's known for having great branding, and this carries through to their really attractive knowledge base. Since they used the company's patterns, a quick glance is enough to know it belongs to Slack.
Their knowledge base has a prominent search bar as well as a direct link to common troubleshooting topics. By making these popular articles prominent, they help customers save time and effort.
The structure is what makes this knowledge base example shine. Slack's knowledge base puts the most significant bits first (like those mentioned above), followed by topic clusters and other featured articles. The "Slack tips" section is a nice addition, providing short tips to help users use Slack effectively.
Confluence is a remote-friendly workspace that allows teams to collaborate and share knowledge. As you'd expect from a tool that helps you create knowledge bases, they've got a really solid knowledge base for their customers.
Confluence's knowledge base shows three sections:
- Popular articles
- New articles
- Recently modified articles
This works well because it enables new users to find popular items quickly. Returning users, who are probably already familiar with the basic articles, can quickly see recently published or updated content.
One of Confluence's knowledge base's strong suits is how easy it is to navigate.
Inside each page, critical information is organized in a way that makes it easy to understand where you are, which section it belongs to, and where to find the precise bit of information you might be looking for.
Confluence also lets users provide feedback about their articles, turning their knowledge base into more of a two-way conversation with their users.
The only thing better than finding an explanation for something confusing is a GIF detailing the solution. HubSpot's knowledge center has plenty of images to help users navigate through the tool.
HubSpot uses a search bar that's always easily accessible. Regardless of what page or article you're on, you'll always have the bar visible on the top of your screen to help you navigate around quickly.
Speaking of navigation, another great aspect of HubSpot's knowledge base is that all topics are clustered around a handy menu.
HubSpot makes sure that info is digestible by avoiding long blocks of text in their knowledge articles. They achieve this through using short paragraphs, bullet points, and plenty of illustrations and GIFs. Each of these makes it easier for users to quickly scan and find the info they need most.
Apple is known for outstanding support, and they've got a knowledge base that delivers.
With so many different products, their support center asks users to choose the relevant product upfront. This acts as a filtering mechanism, helping ensure users only see relevant content.
Once a user selects their product, they display articles that are relevant to the user's device:
The main lesson here is that you should always try to find ways to avoid confusion and save time for your users. If you have a complex product, find intuitive ways to guide your users to appropriate content in your knowledge base.
Personalization can make a huge difference on in-page navigation, and Airbnb's Help Center is a beautiful example of that in practice. If you've booked a stay through Airbnb, personalized info is displayed right away for you.
Everyone loves hearing or seeing their own name, and showing the user's name at the top of the page is a really nice touch.
Users that are not logged in will still see a similar page, but with a more generic section about getting started with Airbnb.
Since Airbnb has multiple customers — guests, hosts, experience hosts, and corporate travel admins — another great feature of their knowledge base is the easy filtering for each type of user.
Stellar organization and design are what make 1Password's knowledge base stand out. Similar to others we've seen, they include a helpful search bar and a "Start Here" section. New users will always appreciate guidance on how to get started with your product.
1Password can be used in different operating systems and browsers, and they use their knowledge base to educate users on how to use their product in each system.
From there, it breaks down questions into navigable buckets with hot links to specific topics within them. 1Password knows its customers, and it uses this to ensure a knowledge center that fits their needs.
Help Customers Help Themselves
Customers want fast answers to their basic questions, so why keep them waiting?
Offer a knowledge base that is organized and easy to use, and you'll be empowering customers to quickly solve problems on their own. An effective knowledge base will also benefit your organization through lower support ticket volume and reduced costs.
Your knowledge base can be a great multiplier. Spend some time to build it and keep it maintained, and it will help you serve as many customers as your sales and marketing teams can bring in.
We've seen some great examples of knowledge bases. Each one has its own flavor and unique components, but they also follow general best practices like displaying a prominent search bar and clean organization.
There are no hard and fast rules about how to build your knowledge base, but you should always keep one thing in focus: it's all about making customers' lives easier.