This is a question I've wrestled with for years, both in my own projects and also those of my clients (who are often tired and confused themselves with how to organize their content).
Ultimately, I think there are a few key factors:
- How big is your company? Don't emulate Fortune 500 strategies if you're a small agency, it can make you look tone deaf, and frustrate your customers too. More often than not, large corporations are doing things inefficiently, and you shouldn't be copying them per se.
- Passive vs. active support... are you simply providing info, or talking with them?
- Does the information pertain only to your products and services, or could it also be helpful to a wider audience i.e. possibly part of a lead generation or SEO strategy? As an SEO consultant I have seen so many small companies where 50% of their traffic is landing on Zendesk articles, when that could be optimized articles in their WordPress site used to convert new users, etc.
There are lingual concerns too, because some of the way we approach these concepts in the English world are not the same in other languages and cultures.
That said, here's my current conclusion:
- Generally speaking, anytime the word Support is used, most humans are going to expect that some form of active interaction is available whether via online chat, phone, or otherwise. A really great way to piss off your customers is to use this word, but not offer active interaction (bots don't count).
- FAQ is a more traditional and recognizable term, esp. for older generations or users who are not very tech-savvy. For many smaller websites and companies, I prefer using this approach, because having a dozen common questions with answers provides instant relief (and SEO).
- There's also Documentation or Docs, which are usually preferred by software-specific products or high-tech services with lots of detailed technical info.
- I understand the shift toward Knowledge Base approaches in recent years, but the term has always annoyed me. Is there a space? A dash? Should we write the entire word in our URL base, or use the abbreviation "kb" etc? It's kind of a gangly term when it comes to optimization. The ambiguity of the term itself is almost always matched by the ambiguity of content that companies have in it... every company uses the term differently, which often adds to the confusion and frustration of end users. I avoid this term whenever possible, but I think it can work in place of Documentation for certain high-tech or very large companies who simply have too much content to organize. But mixing FAQ, Docs, and Tutorials into a mess of child pages and calling the resulting shit storm a "Knowledge Base" is lazy stuff.
- Perhaps the only term more ambiguous than Knowledge Base is Help Center, which could just as easily be the name of the office at Disneyland where the security guards stay. Whenever possible, being SPECIFIC about the content you have on your site is going to be more helpful to users. Again, the reason large companies have these ambiguous terms is because they have too many teams and too much content, so they have to keep the names of their content portals vague... smaller companies should NOT copy them, and should be more specific whenever possible.
And remember, companies like Zendesk are in the business of taking your content away from you. At first, they offered support email and tickets, and then it was support chat, and now its support "articles" and knowledge bases and FAQ systems that are hosted on their subdomains instead of your own website (stealing your traffic). Their goal is expansion, they don't really care if it makes sense with the tone and structure of your website -- so again, not a good model to emulate. In fact, I would argue that this recent trend in ambiguous content (KBs and Help Centers) really only benefits such third-party companies.
For the vast majority of small and medium sized companies, I think a mix of FAQ, Tutorials, and perhaps Documentation (for tech stuff) makes sense, and Support can be a single page with active options like phone numbers, online chat or support tickets... also a Forum might be useful in some cases. Instead of having separate pages for your Videos, I think it's better to simply include a video in existing FAQ or other articles... it's better for SEO and avoids duplicate content, etc.
TLDR users don't care about buzzwords, and whatever fancy philosophy went into your site structure means nothing to them... they want easy, logical answers to their problems.