What is a Help Desk Knowledge Base and Why is it Critical?


With companies and business getting more complex, responding to issues can become difficult when the necessary knowledge has to be tracked down – especially for IT technical issues with hardware and software. Implementing a help desk knowledge base provides a solution by collecting knowledge in one place and making it easy to find the answers needed.

What is a Help Desk Knowledge Base?

Broadly speaking, a knowledge base is a kind of knowledge management system that both stores media and enables easy retrieval and access of that media as needed. This goes beyond a simple database both in functionality and application.

A database collates information in a simple form, leaving interpretation up to users and other software. However, a knowledge base presents workable information in an easily interpreted form; such content can include step-by-step guides, video demonstrations, glossaries of terms, frequently asked questions, etc. This usually includes a system by which users can easily search for needed information. Think of it as the difference between a warehouse of documents filled with raw data and a library of indexed books that can be freely located and read.

Critical to knowledge bases, along with the interface presented, is the way in which they handle how information is associated. Traditional databases may require additional tables of data to indicate organizational links between entries. Such a table has to be separately edited as entities are added, removed or changed. However, a knowledge base assigns identifiers and attributes to entries—essentially metadata—that are useful not only for indexing purposes but also for creating relationships between these entries. This constructs an underlying knowledge graph that is more flexible to change and facilitates smarter responses to queries, including responses aided by machine-learning software.

Knowledge Bases for Help Desks

A help desk provides an interface between users and a support team to facilitate troubleshooting and responses to issues with their hardware or software. Users can submit issues to the team via email, phone, website or chat system, and these issues are organized for specialists to address as needed. Common queries can be grouped together, and high-priority issues can be highlighted for immediate response.

A knowledge base supplements a help desk and its support team by providing a library of information, instructions and guidelines on known issues. Frequently asked questions can be easily answered this way, and recurring problems are solved more quickly by using data from prior cases. The key difference between a help desk and a knowledge base is that the former depends on human response, while the latter can be designed to be entirely self-service.

Help Desk Knowledge Base Company Benefits

While help desks are valuable for connecting employees to technical support, they’re still limited in the time it takes for support to arrive. Complications arise when a limited number of workers can answer the question, as they may be preoccupied with other tasks. Additionally, for frequently occurring issues, the rote task of addressing them can take technicians away from other matters. A knowledge base allows quicker access to relevant information and guides, especially for frequently asked questions, and self-service interfaces mean that the user isn’t dependent on waiting for help to arrive.

Another major benefit to knowledge bases, for internal purposes, is that they facilitate communication between employees and departments. A centralized knowledge base keeps workers on the same page by allowing access to relevant documents. This is also invaluable for on-boarding, as it provides a way for new employees to learn what they need to know. Conversely, it allows for veteran employees to share their knowledge, creating documentation for procedures and systems that would be lost if those employees leave.

Using smart, interactive knowledge management tools to establish a knowledge base for your company is a strong way to streamline workflow, minimize interruptions caused by technical issues and transfer or preserve the knowledge that’s critical to performing key tasks within the company.

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