Knowledge Base vs. FAQs – Why you should switch

Last Updated: April 23, 2023

Self-service is a sought-after customer support tool for a majority of customers. More specifically, well documented, accessible knowledge bases are gaining immense consumption, and with good reason!

A knowledge base helps customers self-serve, or find solutions to their problems and queries without having to ask for help from support agents. It is a digital troubleshooting archive that includes answers to FAQs, process guides, how-to guides, video tutorials, glossaries, and definition lists. A knowledge base is a first-aid kit for your customers when they encounter an issue or have a question. When well designed, it can decrease customer abandonment and churn. 

It is a common error to confuse an FAQ page with a knowledge base. However, not only do they look different, but they also have different purposes. An FAQ page is a non-exhaustive list of common questions that are asked by customers visiting your website. Its primary purpose is to clarify the basics of your business.

What makes a knowledge base better than an FAQ page

A knowledge base is in some ways an extension of your website, but with its own structure and unique purpose. In addition to answering questions and solving queries, it is a source of general user documentation targeted at long-term customers. Moreover, its function is not restricted to just addressing customer questions. It can be an internal or external knowledge base. In addition to being a tool to improve customer experience, a well-written internal knowledge base can also be a great asset for your support team, for onboarding new employees, and also for machine learning.

1. Information architecture

While an FAQ page consists of a humble list of answered questions, a knowledge base is a longer, more exhaustive collection of information. If an FAQ page starts growing in length and diversity of information, it will likely be straying into the knowledge base territory.

The constituents of a knowledge base are so expansive that it requires a knowledge management strategy including a navigation system, grouping, formatting, and categorization. It starts from broad-level topics and culminates in small sub-topics if need be. This entails a web-like structure with multiple levels of information, that is often presented in templates.

2. User Experience

Customers approach both these tools with different needs. An FAQ page gives your website visitors clarity and general information about your business. Its aim could be to sell your product, answer questions about pricing, or even data collection.

However, a knowledge base  is a form of self-service to answer queries. It gives your customer self-service efforts a hands-free touch. It can help your customer service team focus on more pressing cases that require their intervention by reducing ticket queue lengths and response times.

3. Searchability

A visible difference between a knowledge base and a FAQ section is a dynamic search bar. You can tag your knowledge base content with relevant keywords to make it accessible and optimized for search engines. This means that knowledge can be delivered contextually. Your new customers will not have to go through the entire contents of your KB, which is already foreign to them, to find what they are looking for. But an FAQ section  usually does not have much more than a heading to navigate the visitors.

This does mean that you can add a search bar to a FAQ section and expect it to be a knowledge base. Its content is often sparse and that doesn’t lend well to search functions.

4. Analytics and metrics

Any good knowledge base is equipped with analytics and reporting capabilities that allow you to ascertain how your customers interact with your content. It lets you know what customers search for, what they find, the keywords they are most likely to use, and where your content, and even your product or service, can improve. The FAQ section of a website is usually much more straightforward and not compatible with such tracking algorithms.

Simple steps to implement your own knowledge base

4 Steps to create a knowledge base

  1. Pick your knowledge base software
  2. Create content for your knowledge base
  3. Set a structure and consistent tone
  4. Publish your knowledge base

1. Pick your knowledge base software

An online support center such as HappyFox’s Knowledge Base software can organize and optimize your content into sections, categories, and sub-categories.

2. Create content for your knowledge base

Create useful knowledge base articles and supplement them with visual cues like screenshots, GIFs, and videos. You can also add other reference material like PDFs and ebooks. Do not forget to categorize and tag your content to improve functionality and searchability.

3. Set a structure and consistent tone

Ensure that your articles have an intuitive flow and are divided into sections and further into subsections if required. Also, follow a consistent tone of voice and written structure throughout your articles—the more consistent you are, the more likely your customers will get accustomed to your knowledge base. HappyFox’s knowledge base builder portal allows appearance customization by using your brand colors, logos, header images, and much more.

4. Publish your knowledge base

Now that you have your knowledge base set, embed it into your website to publish articles for easier customer access. Remember to use the analytical tools to further improve your knowledge base based on customer feedback and also routinely add new articles. 

Create Great Knowledge Bases and Promote Self-Service with HappyFox

A knowledge base is a cornerstone of your business’ self-service strategy. It gives your customers an added option for acquiring help and also reduces your incoming support ticket volume. Additionally, integrating it with a Live Chat or artificial intelligence Chatbot product can give faster and better results and often, higher customer satisfaction.

Sign up for a demo to know more about how you can upgrade your FAQ section to a fully functioning knowledge base with HappyFox.