How Customer Self-Service Can Help Your Business & Your Customers

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Mar 30, 2022

What is customer self-service?

“The best support ticket is the one that’s never created,” noted 1 Zendesk’s Elaine Atwell. There are times when help is needed, yet some things are easier to simply do by oneself, on one’s own terms. Plus, there also comes the self-satisfaction of striking a complex task off a list (I managed to fill out my tax forms)!

Customer self-service relates to exactly this – whereby customers are resolving their own issues, without assistance from support agents. Using the self-service options that are available to them, they can then research and troubleshoot 2 issues by themselves. Today, many want this degree of autonomy – 70% of respondents said they expect a company to have a self-service portal or content available to them, according to the CX Trends 2022 report. 3

Why is customer self-service important?

As mentioned above, many favor the ‘do-it-yourself’ option – people like to get instant help without waiting. Beneficial for all sides, customer self-service helps both:

  • Customers, by providing faster resolution times. Consider two scenarios: a customer waiting on hold for several hours to inquire about a cereal versus being directed to a detailed and comprehensive blog article about the product’s ingredients, which can be reviewed within minutes. Which is likely to be resolved more quickly? The presence of self-service can also foster a strong sense of community 4 – one in which customers answer one another’s questions and share tips, tricks, and best practices related to a company’s product offerings. Self-service options are also readily available day and night, so if a customer is suddenly locked out of their account during a late-night Netflix binge, no problem!
  • Businesses, by reducing support costs and ticket volume, freeing up agents and allowing them to concentrate on resolving more complex customer issues. Customer service teams benefit from not needing to handle cases that are similar and repetitive. With access and the ability to contribute to company-wide platforms such as knowledge bases (more on that to come later!), agents are empowered to keep information and knowledge fresh, updated and helpful.

Highlighting categorical shifts in customer service, such as the shift to remote work, research from Gartner revealed 5 that 59% of customers prefer to resolve their issues without contacting a customer service rep. Only 13% of customers, however, are contained successfully within self-service, as their resolution journey breaks down, underscoring the need for businesses to enhance their self-service offerings.

The Customer Self-Service Journey  – Original Source: Gartner                                   

How can my business implement customer self-service?

It is incumbent upon business leaders to coordinate the self-service journey all the way from search through to resolution – making it as seamless as possible for customers. The key, then, becomes to create effective self-service channels, and also to guide customers to the optimal channel. Customers, separate research from Gartner pointed out 6, often select the wrong channel for their resolution, which leads to channel switching, increased effort on the part of the customer, and lower customer loyalty. That is, a customer may peruse a quick-start manual for help getting the timer for their new oven set up, but need to contact a service rep to have them walk them through the actual issue they are facing.

Designing a customer self-service portal or system can be accomplished, but it involves lots of moving parts, and various aspects that must be considered. A strategy can include questions such as:

  • Is information easily discoverable, such as a prominent link to a help center on a website’s homepage, or a search bar that directs customers to the most relevant resources? This may involve harnessing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, to create a clear pathway 5 to relevant customer service pages.
  • Is a company’s knowledge base or resources page proactively optimized, featuring the most relevant and helpful content? How often is the content refreshed?

Many businesses choose to work with trusted partners to implement customer self-service options.

How does customer self-service work & what are some essential tools for good customer self-service?

As the authors of Zendesk’s CX Trends Report noted 3, “Having a best-in-class customer service team isn’t possible without the right tools in place.” It is also essential for such tools to integrate – to work together in harmony, for one seamless customer experience.

A customer service chatbot

A critical component in the customer journey, an AI-powered customer service chatbot can:

  • Guide – guiding customers 7 to self-service resolution, throughout their journey on a website (Example: a chatbot that pops up on a website’s homepage upon a user’s first visit)
  • Anticipate – the chatbot can be pre-populated with common issues, which draws the customer’s attention and encourages them to engage in self-service
WestJet’s chatbot ‘Juliet’, powered by Netomi
  • Collect – gather key information about customer issues before routing them to assisted service (Example: gathering background information from the customer, such as the date of purchase and whether a return or a refund is being requested, and why)

Netomi’s AI-powered chatbot integrates with agent desks and other back-end systems, to personalize and contextualize responses to customers. With such native integration, businesses can fully automate repetitive customer queries (upwards of 80% of all tickets), and provide pertinent articles from a company’s knowledge base.

Escalation options

Some issues may carry more complexity or sensitivity, which is why it is always important to offer an escalation path to human agents, based on topic, customer profile, or instances when a customer asks to converse with one. A human agent may need to intervene if a customer is growing increasingly angry or frustrated, or if the AI is unable to comprehend a customer’s intent.

Knowledge bases

What if a system proactively detects what a user might enter into a search bar when they begin typing a query? Here lies the essence of knowledge bases. Serving as centralized hubs that house a company’s key resources all in one place, knowledge bases are ideal for customer self-service, as they allow customers to access information, such as how-to-articles and video tutorials.

Knowledge bases that are powered by AI, on the other hand, enable even faster service 8. Based on the context of an ongoing conversation, AI can also help with surfacing relevant knowledge to agents, information that is needed in that particular moment (if a customer is inquiring about sandal sizes, it is time to pull up the spring/summer catalog). AI can also ensure that a company’s knowledge base remains relevant – such as flagging content for review at regular intervals, leveraging machine learning to identify articles that require updated titles, fresh content, and better search labels, as well as suggest new content based on what customers are asking for in their support requests.

There are numerous knowledge base softwares on the market, tools specifically designed to help businesses create, organize, and manage their self-service content for their customers, as well as internal support teams (check out Netomi’s top 15 picks, as well as tips for selecting the right one)!

The customer self-service revolution

By deploying intelligent self-service that leverages machine learning to deliver the content that’s most relevant to the individual customer, businesses can help their customers become better and more efficient at resolving their own issues. When customers are empowered to help themselves, it leads to faster resolution times, and also reduces support costs and ticket volumes for companies.

Customer self service is not the future of customer service – it’s here now – it’s what customers desire and have come to expect. Businesses can benefit a lot from a system that works well for their team and their customers, but it must be carefully and thoughtfully deployed.


References 

  1. https://www.zendesk.com/blog/customer-self-service-guide-helping-customers-help/
  2. https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-self-service
  3. https://www.zendesk.com/customer-experience-trends/
  4. https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/customer-self-service-portals/?sfdc-redirect=519
  5. https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/sales-service/documents/trends/2022_css_leadership_vision_ebook.pdf
  6. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/customers-resolve-issues
  7. https://www.gartner.com/en/customer-service-support/trends/customer-service-experience
  8. https://www.zendesk.com/blog/three-ways-ai-powered-knowledge-base-changes-game/

CSAT Score: Everything You Need To Know About Customer Satisfaction Scores (Updated March 2022)

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Mar 27, 2022

Every company wants to grow. The easiest way to do that is to keep your existing customers. To retain customers, you need to make them happy. Happy customers turn into long-term and profitable loyalists. And in short, long-term and profitable loyalists go a long way toward improving your CSAT score.

How do companies actually know how happy their customers are with their products, services, and experiences? They measure their customer satisfaction score – or their rating for Customer Satisfaction.

Throughout the entire customer lifecycle, there are many moments that add up to a person’s relationship with and feelings towards a brand. This includes in-store and online shopping experiences, customer care interactions and learning to use a product itself. Without a doubt, every one of these standalone touchpoints are important.

That’s why customer experience and support professionals hyper-focus on customer satisfaction score (CSAT). CSAT measures how well your company is delivering against your customers’ expectations in these independent moments.

In this post, we will dive into everything you have ever wanted to know about your scores. Jump to specific sections or scroll down to read the entire post.

  1. What is CSAT?
  2. Why is CSAT important?
  3. How do you calculate and measure CSAT?
  4. CSAT Scores: How do you use them?
  5. How to improve your CSAT score
  6. Comparing CSAT to other popular consumer metrics
    1. CSAT vs. NPS  
    2. CSAT vs. CES
    3. CSAT vs. DSAT
  7. Benchmarks for CSAT Scores By Industry

What Is a CSAT Score?

CSAT scores are the most popular and straightforward way to measure customer satisfaction. The metric measures sentiment towards your product, service or a specific interaction.

Companies often take a pulse after key milestones in the customer lifecycle. For example, after a first purchase, prior to the renewal or following customer support interactions.

It’s important to realize that CSAT differs from Net Promoter Score (NPS), another popular metric. NPS measures loyalty, the probability that someone will buy again and recommend your company to other people.

So what exactly drives satisfaction?

In short, people are satisfied when their expectations are met. Like many things, expectations are fluid and change based on situational context and stage of the customer journey. For example, if you spring for a first-class ticket on a flight, you are going to expect more personal and proactive service from flight attendants. On the other hand, when you purchase a basic economy seat, you expect attendants to simply ask what you need during their food and drink service. In Economy airline travel, there’s no expectation for a glass of champagne before takeoff.


Circumstances change expectations. When measuring CSAT, it’s important to understand the different circumstances of your individual customers to glean actionable insights.


Why Is CSAT Score Important?

Customer retention is fundamental to a thriving business.

This is because it’s cheaper to keep your current customers than attract new ones. Studies report that 70% of companies say this is true.

CSAT can provide insight into where and when your company is at risk of losing customers. In the same vein, it can uncover opportunities to optimize experiences. If used regularly, it gives businesses a pulse for how your company is performing and helps you understand your customer. Of course, you need to look at and measure the entire journey, not solely flashpoints along the way. It can help you realize where your processes are working and where you need to make changes.

Think about this with customer service. In the last year, 78% of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with at least 1 company or scrapped a planned purchase based on poor customer service. Moreover, 31% reported doing this multiple times. That is to say, only one instance of poor support can lead to immediate customer attrition. And so, understanding what makes people unsatisfied with customer support can identify a few things. Firstly, where more training needs to be done. Secondly, where there’s an opportunity to be proactive. And lastly, where processes need to change.

Impact of Low Customer Satisfaction: Almost half of the consumers have stopped doing business with at least one company in 2019 due to poor customer service.

In essence, a person’s short-term happiness or unhappiness with your company following their customer interaction is indicative of future spend and lifetime value.

Learn how to automatically resolve customer service inquiries at the industry’s highest rate over messaging, chat, email, and voice with our helpdesk AI solutions.

How Do You Calculate And Measure CSAT Scores?

CSAT is often measured by completing customer satisfaction surveys. Surveys are completed through a brief, single question form asking how a customer feels following their most recent experience. This can be done through an email, chat, phone follow-up question, or through traditional paper or postcard satisfaction surveys. It’s typically immediately following an interaction when the experience is top-of-mind.

Customer satisfaction survey questions often look like the one we offer below: 

How satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service?

  • Extremely Satisfied 
  • Somewhat Satisfied 
  • Satisfied 
  • Not Satisfied 
  • Very Dissatisfied 

On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with your recent purchase/support interaction/service?

  • <Very Unsatisfied> 1 2 3 4 5 <Very Satisfied>

To calculate your CSAT, take the number of positive responses (i.e. Extremely and Somewhat Satisfied) and divide by the total number of responses. Then, multiply by 100.

For example, say you gather data from 200 customers. If 160 customers scored satisfaction a 4 or a 5, here’s what you would do.

                     160/200=0.8 (80%)

In this example, the company’s score is 80%.

Additionally, companies will often leave a place for people to add specifics as to why they scored the way they did. This unconstrained feedback in particular can provide invaluable insight into things that can be improved.

How Do You Use Your CSAT Score          

For customers who reported being unsatisfied or dissatisfied, carefully review their entire interaction. You’ll first want to identify what happened. Next, see if there was an opportunity where your company could have been proactive. Finally, determine what information could have provided a more pleasant experience. For example, did someone reach out with questions while setting up your product? Or, is there additional information you could have preemptively provided to ensure a smooth, successful set-up?

For dissatisfied customers, identify ways to court them to try and maintain a positive relationship with them. Can you offer free shipping on their next order if this one was delivered late?

Equally important, you’ll also want to learn from your satisfied customers. What are the key components that led to expectations being met? Did you offer the right tools at the right time? Did you quickly resolve an issue within 2 minutes on social media?

In summary, don’t just look at your percentage. Make sure you dissect the outliers to learn how to exceed customer expectations in the future.

How to improve my CSAT Score?

Customer service is one of the micro-moments that dictate customer loyalty and future spend. As mentioned earlier, one instance of poor service is enough to deter a major portion of your customers to move their business elsewhere. As customer service continues to establish its foothold as a business driver, companies need to meet expectations for customer support. Satisfaction, as you may remember, comes from expectations being met.

 So what do people expect today? In short, quick, convenient resolutions on their channels of choice. For example, in our recent study, we found that: 

  • Nearly Half: Expect not to wait for a resolution
  • 47%: Expect convenience
  • 61%: Expect quick resolution

While that may sound simple, companies are finding it harder to meet these quick-rising demands. And even more, scale personal interactions across customer support email, chat, social and voice channels. In fact, more than 50% of U.S. consumers have not seen any improvement in customer service over the last 12 months.


Improve your customer satisfaction. Discover the best help desk software solutions today.


Another way to improve the results of your surveys? Work on improving the response rates of your surveys. According to research done in 2015 by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, “response rates for paper-based surveys were around 10% and the response rates for e-surveys (web, wap and e-mail) were averaging between 5% and 15% – which can only provide a straw poll of the customers’ opinions.”4

Improve CSAT Score with AI

Bringing AI customer service into the workforce enables companies to automatically resolve over 50% of incoming tickets immediately, within seconds, according to our customers. These repeatable, everyday tickets are not routed to human agents. Instead, agents focus exclusively on more complex and subjective issues. All tickets – the simple and complex – are resolved faster. Logically, bringing speed to support will increase CSAT.

One of our clients, the Canadian airline WestJet, has seen an increase of 24% with its virtual agent Juliet resolving issues immediately on Facebook Messenger. Juliet is helping people understand how they can fly with skis, how much it costs for a checked bag and flight status within seconds. Customers, all-too-often packing last-minute or stuck in traffic to the airport, are thrilled to get their pressing questions answered without a long hold time or desperate website search.

Comparing CSAT to other popular consumer grading measures

CSAT differs from other popular customer service metrics that are used by companies. When companies use all of these metrics together, they will have a very rich understanding of how your customer support organization is functioning and delivering against customer expectations.


Click here for more information on customer support.


CSAT vs. NPS

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is used as a way to capture customer feedback. It measures loyalty and the probability that someone will recommend your company to other people. 

NPS looks at overall, long-term brand perception, whereas CSAT measures short-term happiness with a specific incident. NPS can be an indicator of growth potential for a company because peer recommendations carry so much weight in our society that is social media-obsessed. Nielsen actually found that “more than eight-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.1

On NPS surveys, customers are asked a simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend/colleague? Your customers will fall into one of these categories: 

  • Promoters are people who rate your company with a score of 9 or 10. Promoters are your enthusiasts and loyalists.

    • Advice for how to treat promoters:
      • Keep these customers happy as they are the ones that will be recommending your brand to their friends and family.
      • Give them referral codes or links that they can send to their friends to let them earn points or discounts for the new business that they bring in.
      • If it makes sense, involve promoters in product research and selection, for instance, a meal kit company could ask them which recipes they’d like to see on the menu.   
  • Passive customers are people who rate your company a 7 or 8.

    • Advice for how to treat passive customers:
      • Push passive customers to promoter status by asking for a feedback survey on what could be improved and acting on what they tell you.
      • Like promoters, companies can also provide passive customers incentives in the form of referral codes or links that they can send to their friends and family to encourage recommendations and endorsements.
             
  • Detractors are customers who rate your company with a score of 0-6.

    • Advice for how to treat detractors:
      • Analyze your interactions with detractors to see if you can identify why they are unsatisfied.
      • Are there any trends that you can identify? If there are particular instances that occurred throughout someone’s life cycle, say consistently late deliveries, technical issues or wrong items delivered? If so, address the issues, apologize and communicate how the company is making changes so issues don’t happen again.
      • It’s important to remember that you’re not going to have a fan in every customer, so you also need to realize when you’re not going to change someone’s mind and walk away.

CSAT vs. CES

Customer Effort Score, or CES, measures how much effort a customer puts into completing a task, including resolving a support ticket, making a return, etc. CES measures a specific instance.

Measuring CES is important because customers expect effortless, convenient experiences. Customers are more likely to churn if the experience is difficult. In fact, research has shown that “96% of customers with a high-effort service interaction become more disloyal compared to just 9% who have a low-effort experience.2” 

You can reduce effort in a variety of ways. Such as minimizing time spent to get a resolution, the number of times a person has to reach out or total back-and-forth interactions.

To determine CES, you’ll ask your customers, On a scale from “Very Easy” to “Very Difficult”, how was your experience? If you find that you have a low CES score, identify how to remove obstacles and friction from the interaction.

CSAT vs. DSAT

The exact opposite of CSAT is Customer dissatisfaction (DSAT). DSAT measures whether your customers are dissatisfied with an experience. Companies often don’t think about DSAT, but it’s important. This is because the damage a dissatisfied customer could have goes well beyond the individual not ever purchasing from you again. People talk to their friends and post on their social media channels about poor experiences. In fact, Americans are telling an average of 15 people about poor service3.

To track DSAT, you’ll analyze the data from the same question in which you ask how satisfied a person is with experience. On a scale from 1-10, your dissatisfied customers are the ones who responded 1-5. Once you identify your dissatisfied customers, you can analyze their entire experience to identify what went wrong and address the issues.

Don’t waste your resources by giving detractors referral codes or links. Because at this point in time, they are not going to recommend your business.

CSAT Score Benchmarks for 2020 

Companies are putting more focus on the customer experience as a part of the usual market research. Benchmarking CSAT scores against industry averages is a good way to see if your efforts are enough. But how do you know what a  good score is?

Benchmarks depend on many factors, primarily your industry. Some industries have notoriously low scores due to the nature of their business. For instance, airlines have a lot of aspects of their service outside of their control, such as weather events and other delays. Even longer lines at TSA security checks can negatively impact a person’s perception of flight experience. The airline, though, had nothing to do with security delays.

The same holds true for your home internet and cable provider. Service might become interrupted by things outside of the company’s control (for instance weather or downed utility lines). In short, customers don’t always look at the full picture, but rather zero in on the company that they are paying.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index has outlined benchmarks by industry. It also looks at how they change year-over-year. According to the organization, breweries have the highest CSAT at 84%. On the other hand, internet service providers and subscription television services have the lowest at 62%.

A few other industry CSAT score benchmarks include: 

  • Personal care and cleaning products: 83% 
  • eCommerce: 81% 
  • Banks: 80% 
  • Internet Travel Services: 79% 
  • Supermarkets: 78% 
  • Apparel: 77% 
  • Hotels: 75% 
  • Airlines: 74% 

To summarize, keeping track of how your score is performing against industry benchmarks is something you should be closely tracking.

While this is not the only way to measure your customer service performance, it does offer valuable insight into an important dimension of your customer support. Before you can improve your support organization, however, you need to know your baseline and set a goal for the next 3 months, 6 months, etc. Create an actionable plan on how you’re going to reach these goals and improve CSAT, such as reducing resolution time, implementing more self-service options, offering proactive support and being available on more channels.

CSAT is a valuable tool. And we can boost it an average of 20% in 6 months. Interested? Let’s chat.

References

  1. Neilsen: https://www.nielsen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/04/global-trust-in-advertising-report-sept-2015-1.pdf
  2. Qualtrics.com: https://www.qualtrics.com/experience-management/customer/customer-effort-score/
  3. American Express: https://about.americanexpress.com/press-release/wellactually-americans-say-customer-service-better-ever
  4. Customer Think: https://customerthink.com/customer-satisfaction-survey-response-rates-update/ 

Essential Customer Service Skills that Can’t Be Replicated by AI

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Mar 25, 2022

Today, many companies worldwide are doubling down 1 on their reskilling and upskilling efforts, and equipping employees with the crucial skills that they need to thrive in the world of work today. 

Here, we review the key skills that customer service agents need to hone, in today’s ever-evolving landscape of work.

How Technologies are Changing the Game, when it Comes to Essential Customer Service Skills

As businesses adopt AI across their organizations, the skill set of the human workforce will also need to evolve 2 alongside it, as their focus and scope of work will shift.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 3, as adoption of technology increases, 50% of all employees will require reskilling by 2025. Among the top skills of 2025 include critical thinking and analysis, complex problem-solving, as well as creativity, originality and initiative. Several skills related to self-management are also emerging, such as resilience, active learning, flexibility, and stress tolerance. Moreover, a study 4 from Korn Ferry found that, by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people (which is roughly equivalent to the population of Germany)!

During discussions that took place at the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, various experts agreed: 5 hospitality, management and creativity constitute three advanced abilities that cannot be substituted by AI. While rapidly advancing AI technologies will eventually replace these abilities at rudimentary levels, it will become essential to develop and refine more sophisticated abilities in these areas so that AI cannot replace them. In the hospitality industry, for instance, AI can take over standardized services such as information services, booking and concierge-services. Yet, for this reason, human workers in hospitality will need to acquire more advanced skills that AI can’t replicate.

Several key skills for 2025
Image adapted from the original source: World Economic Forum

So, it is time for customer service agents to focus on building out skill sets that AI cannot, and should not, perform. With this in mind, what are some essential customer service skills that cannot be replicated by AI?

How can you seamlessly integrate AI into your workforce, to give your customer service agents superpowers, allowing their skills related to resilience, creativity, and problem-solving to flourish? Explore our ROI calculator to discover how much increase in tickets your team can handle with your current headcount by adding Netomi’s AI to your support team!

Essential customer service skills unique to humans

Strategizing

Setting an overall customer support strategy, such as identifying KPIs to monitor, mapping the customer journey by identifying all key touchpoints, and investing in a robust customer service toolkit are all tasks that humans can do. While AIs can be trained to execute various tasks and knowledge work, such as sending a prompt to a customer that it is time to install the latest software update on their laptop or immediately resolving a query like order status, humans can excel at looking at the big picture, problem solving, and using data to make informed decisions.

Creativity

While AI has helped with 6 composing songs and mimicking the styles of great painters, for now, it stays relegated to the role of assistant and master orchestrator. While it can observe and learn from 7 data to gain creative skills in areas such as drawing, musical composition, and writing, it will not be able to truly replicate a human’s ability to inspire, create, and invent. There are times when customer service agents will need to flex their creative skills, such as sending a well-written holiday card to long-term customers.

Empathy

As humans, we are all unique and bring to the table our own strengths and keen observations. We can actively listen intently to, and build rapport with customers. Sometimes a human touch is essential, such as when dealing with an exhausted and angry customer who is frantically trying to cancel an airline ticket, and in such situations, conversing with a machine will not suffice. For instance, a customer may be struggling to file a tax return for her elderly mother. Having a parent with dementia, the customer agent assisting with the claim may be more apt to understand her situation, and the two can connect on a deeper level. This level of empathy is nearly impossible for an AI to replicate (read more about synthetic empathy 8, and how it often slows down the completion of a task).

When designing dialogue for chatbots, we can show empathy by showing that a user’s situation is understood (i.e. ‘I’m sorry that you’re having trouble streaming the game. Let’s look into this!), however, there should never be an attempt at displaying empathy beyond that.

Critical thinking

An AI-powered chatbot can easily respond to repeatable queries, yet human agents can excel in analysis, prioritization, and troubleshooting, in taking a degree of ownership over the issue at hand. In fact, 29% of customers believe 9 that the ability to handle requests without the need for transfers or escalations is one of the most important skills for a representative. Perhaps a customer service agent may be handed a unique query, one in which there is no standard resolution procedure 10. In such situations, a little ingenuity and innovation might be required. Can the root cause behind a customer’s issue be identified? Does the agent foresee any related issues?

For instance, a customer may inquire whether a certain brand of swimwear is made from all-natural fibers, information that they are unable to find on the website. Rather than responding with the standard answer of ‘no’, upon further conversation the agent may discover that the customer has a skin allergy to spandex, a common swimwear fabric, and suggest an alternate product that solely makes organic, hypoallergenic swimwear.

Management

As pointed out in a World Economic Forum article 5, AI is set to supplant workers in tasks such as financial management, materials management, human resource management and project management, which will steer people towards more advanced management tasks that cannot be replaced by AI, including:

  • Growth management – referring to the ability of managers and leaders to support members of their workforce in developing their skills and growing professionally (related to coaching). An example of this may include training sessions for customer service agents to hone their tech skills and teach them about a company’s new software.
  • Mind management – referring to the ability to support members of an organization in distress when they suffer from issues arising from interpersonal relationships or other problems. For example, agents who actively listen to and support a colleague who dealt with a difficult situation.
  • Collective intelligence management – referring to the ability of leaders to manage employees by encouraging them to share their knowledge and expertise in a collaborative setting, and facilitating the emergence of new ideas that arise from such an activity. An example of this would be a manager holding a group brainstorming activity for agents to come up with new ideas for boosting customer loyalty.   

AI and the changing nature of customer service work, with humans at the center

Customer service is at a critical point. For decades, the job remained relatively unchanged. However, with new tools like email, agent desk platforms and, now AI, the job looks completely different than it did not too long ago. AI has the potential to make the job more fulfilling, as it will require higher-level thinking and training.

As Tyrone Smith, from a Harvard Business Review article 11 explains, “With the increasing support of technology and digital transformation, today’s most engaged employees are also constantly acquiring new skills and crossing previously well-defined lines to boost productivity and work quality….expanding beyond narrow job titles will be a critical aspect of the digital workplace as it’s streamlined by automated technology.” That is, conventional job titles will evolve to fit with the new business landscape of today, the title of “customer service agent” may morph into “Practical Director of the Customer Experience,” for instance.

While AI and other technologies will transform how we work, humans will remain firmly at the center of nearly every occupation. In order to expand beyond the narrow job titles of the past, it is up to leaders to encourage and invest in technologies that complement the work of employees, automate mundane tasks so the human workforce can leverage the skills that are uniquely human: creativity, complex problem solving, strategizing and empathy. Leaders need to implement more robust training to help the members of their workforce thrive and adapt to change.

With AI taking care of the mundane tasks, agents can concentrate on boosting their essential customer service skills in critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and resilience, and transcend those traditional job titles.

References 

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/companies-investing-retraining-upskilling-reskilling-2020-10
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/01/17/the-alleged-threat-of-ai-taking-away-human-jobs-is-not-what-we-think-it-is/?sh=1ddc9322384e
  3. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/top-10-work-skills-of-tomorrow-how-long-it-takes-to-learn-them/
  4. https://www.kornferry.com/insights/this-week-in-leadership/talent-crunch-future-of-work
  5. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/10/these-6-skills-cannot-be-replicated-by-artificial-intelligence/
  6. https://www.ibm.com/watson/advantage-reports/future-of-artificial-intelligence/ai-creativity.html
  7. https://www.akkio.com/post/can-artificial-intelligence-be-creative
  8. https://readwrite.com/is-synthetic-empathy-holding-your-ai-back/
  9. https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/important-customer-service-skills-list/?sfdc-redirect=517
  10. https://blog.capterra.com/best-customer-service-skills-you-cant-ignore/
  11. https://hbr.org/2021/12/its-time-to-rethink-job-descriptions-for-the-digital-era

The Opportunity for 3PL Providers to Transform Shipper and Carrier Partnerships with AI

Written by Puneet Mehta  on   Mar 23, 2022

As consumer behavior rapidly changed during the pandemic, accelerating the shift from in-person to online shopping and the expectation for speedy shipping, the Third-Party Logistics (3PL) industry has boomed. 63.5% of shippers now outsource their warehousing activities to 3PL providers1, 81% outsource domestic transportation2 (which is the most common services outsourced1), and 44% outsource freight forwarding3. 3PLs are an essential component of moving goods through the supply chain and ultimately, moving the economy forward. 

The 3PL market was valued at around USD 1trillion in 2020, and is expected to reach more than USD 1.75 trillion by 20264. In 2020, C. H. Robinson5 and  XPO Logistics generated over 16.2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue alone6, and this is on the rise. In February 2022, XPO Logistics reported its highest quarterly revenues ever7.

3PL is a large business, and with that, it has become an aggressive and highly competitive one. With 58% of shippers indicating that they are increasing their use of outsourced logistics services8, capturing this growing market and deepening partnerships with shippers and carriers are top-of-mind for both enterprise and small 3PLs. 

The evolving 3PL competitive landscape and the increasing role of customer experience

The domestic freight industry is complex. According to a description from one account, “Truck freight is also one of the least efficient industries: It’s chaotic, highly fragmented, regional, and, plainly, a logistical nightmare9.”

There are currently 1.6 million carriers, 95% of which operate 10 or fewer trucks, 3 million drivers, and an estimated 100K shippers9. Moving goods through the supply chain is only made more complex by factors such as an industry-wide driver shortage, global supply chain shortages, rising end-customer expectations for quick delivery, and different requirements for vehicles such as refrigeration or flatbed.

To power this industry, smaller, more specialized 3PLs are competing with the likes of FedEx Supply Chain Services, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Amazon Marketplace and Walmart Marketplace. And while getting costs down is crucial, customer experience is now becoming an important competitive differentiator.

Changing CX expectations of shippers and carriers

Expectations for good customer experiences are high across every industry, and shippers and carriers are no different. In addition to efficiency and lower rates, customers in this industry expect effortless, personalized interactions, proactive care, and 24/7 support, just like customers of an airline, meal-kit, grocery delivery or eCommerce company.

Research has shown that 73% of shippers interact with their 3PL on a daily or hourly basis8. Given that there are at least 100K shippers as mentioned previously, the number of contacts from customers 3PLs are getting is mindblowing. Couple this with the rising expectations and the workforce shortage in the wake of the great recession, and it’s clear that 3PLs can no longer rely on a human-only workforce. The need to adopt tools like conversational AI to scale personal 1:1 interactions will be the key to competing on customer experience.

The new standard for customer experience and the impact of AI

To capture the loyalty of in-house logistics personnel at fleet operators and the growing number of enterprise and small shippers, 3PLs can leverage AI to automate interactions across the entire journey. Some of the most promising applications of AI for 3PLs include:

  • Quote Automation: Historically matching carriers with shippers was a very inefficient process often conducted over the  phone or email and populating data including truck type, origin and destination, and seasonality in excel sheets. The process of providing quotes, though, is evolving. In fact, in its earnings release, XPO Logistics reported that “70% of its brokerage orders were created or covered digitally10.” 3PLs can leverage AI-powered assistants to provide immediate quotes on email, in-app or via chat and match shippers with carriers in seconds with zero human effort. These virtual agents can also answer questions that arise during the process to increase conversion rates.
  • Shipping visibility: AI-powered assistants can pull real-time status and location of shipments, 24/7, and identify any threats to promised delivery and pick-up times.
  • Proactive care: By tapping into back-end systems, conversational AI agents can anticipate issues and proactively communicate with both shippers and carriers before they even know an issue exists. If a shipment is delayed, for instance, 3PLs can automatically alert businesses which items failed to ship the previous day and why, which helps foster a partnership based on trust.
  • Driver assistance: AI agents can communicate with drivers in real-time to provide updated route information. If the driver experiences an issue, they can chat with an agent for roadside assistance, troubleshooting, and more.
  • Business planning and operations: AI agents can forecast future orders, manage deliveries and schedule pickup and drop offs. These agents can also send invoices, respond to questions and provide information on billing.

AI Agents will drive the 3PL industry forward

The burgeoning eCommerce market is becoming more diverse. Each company has its own needs and requirements, offers personalization to their customers, and expects the same type of treatment from the businesses that it does business with.

Simply coordinating shipments over phone and email is no longer a viable option. It will be the 3PLs that have an advanced technology stack, including AI-powered virtual agents, that will build those all-important long-term, profitable relationships with both shippers and carriers. With AI-powered agents streamlining processes and automating mundane tasks, the human workforce will be able to manage more complex issues and tasks, providing the best possible customer experience.

Discover the return on investing in AI for customer service for your 3PL business! We’ve crunched the numbers for you – check out our ROI calculator to learn more.

References

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/660142/transportation-and-logistics-most-outsourced-services/
  2. https://www.3plworldwide.com/statistics-for-3rd-party-logistics-companies
  3. https://www.plslogistics.com/blog/8-fascinating-statistics-from-shippers-about-3pls
  4. https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/global-3pl-market
  5. https://www.statista.com/statistics/690326/c-h-robinson-total-revenue/
  6. https://www.statista.com/statistics/693130/xpo-logistics-total-revenue/
  7. https://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2022/02/09/xpo-4q-2021.html
  8. https://www.plslogistics.com/blog/8-fascinating-statistics-from-shippers-about-3pls
  9. https://www.ycombinator.com/blog/convoy-the-future-of-truck-freight/ 
  10. https://investors.xpo.com/news-releases/news-release-details/xpo-logistics-announces-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2021 

Top Takeaways from CX Sheroes: Women CX Leaders Shaping the Future of Customer Service

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Mar 14, 2022

In honor of International Women’s Day, we at Netomi are celebrating CX ‘Sheroes’ who are leading from the front in the world of customer support and CX. From our Women of Influence list to our CX Sheroes webinar, we are shining a spotlight on inspiring female leaders who are doing their part to #BreakTheBias.

Here, we revisit some of the highlights from this special edition of our Support Superheroes virtual series, held on International Women’s Day, March 8. During the live event, Rupal Nishar, Netomi’s VP of Customer Success, chatted with Anastasia Zdoroviak, Charlotte Ward, Tania Hoque and Laura Lakhwara about emerging CX industry trends, bolstering tech skills and the importance of carving out time for oneself. For customer service, what does the future look like?

Bridging the gap

“The gender gap is not just a salary gap, it’s an opportunity and growth gap,” Charlotte said, pointing out that the gap is affected by several things, one of which is transparency. “Women, particularly younger women, are great at being authentic and transparent with one another in a safe space, but we don’t really get that authentic and transparent in the presence of men,” she said. “Transparency across the divide is needed.”

Tania pointed out that, in the tech industry, women are the minority, especially in positions of leadership. How can companies create space, and support growth for their female employees? This may include setting DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) targets, or having awareness of unconscious bias that may be occurring during a meeting. Having male mentors (or champions) is also important, others who can help to pave the path. “It is important to have someone say ‘she has something to say, let’s give her an opportunity,” she said.

Making time for yourself & committing to your own learning

“Make sure you’re investing in yourself and are putting yourself out there to have that opportunity,” said Laura, who works in the AI space at automation platform UiPath. “This could involve getting the technical acumen that you need, you don’t need to be doing the technical development or execution but just need to have the acumen in order to be able to speak to it,” she continued, noting that she may pull aside an engineer in the room for a whiteboard brainstorming session.

Aside from investing in your personal development, it is also important to make those important financial investments that will make an impact in your career journey. “Pay for things that you need, whether that may be tips to enhance a resume, or help with interviewing or public speaking,” Laura urged. “The top CEOs have executive coaches to help them..investing that money will mean a lot in terms of how you grow.”

Essential skills for women in customer service

“Analytical skills are a necessity because experience, the way I think about it, is all about understanding what is important to customers, and in order to understand what is important, you need qualitative feedback,” Anastasia pointed out. “You need to be able to interpret the feedback you are receiving, rather than relying on your analytics team to prepare a report and then tell you what it means.”

Having such skills, she continued, can also prove useful during a meeting, as, rather than simply rephrasing their own thoughts and referencing their own opinions, women can easily refer to data. Tangible and difficult to argue with logically, stats and figures can be a good base for women to use in challenging situations in which they may not feel that their opinion or experience is heard or valued.

For those working in CX in the tech industry, Tania pointed to the importance of understanding the technology that you are working with, at least at a high-level, so you are able to have informed and educational discussions with colleagues (no need to dive too deep into the specifics of coding). “Try to get your hands a little dirty, and you’ll be surprised with how much you can grasp through that process,” she said.

The future of women in customer service

As technology and automation advance, it becomes incumbent upon customer support agents to become educated and well-versed on what is happening on the back-end, Laura noted. Agents can then form their own points-of-view and recommendations and ask the big questions such as: what data do I want to see to make my job better? How could this process be improved? What does a better customer experience look like? “The jobs of the future will still have in-person agents, but more importantly, there will also be roles involved in managing these processes and putting in that customer journey, which is not linear, it is a web of pathways that people are following to get the help they need,” she said. “Learning about that is going to be the most important thing in having a voice, and you are the people to do it.”

“Rather than being confined to call centers, service reps will have more tools that they can use to work remotely,” said Tania. “There will be more and more automation that will happen in the customer service space where service reps will be more focused on doing things that require more intellectual power, rather than mundane tasks…there will be more elements that are automated so that humans can do what they’re good at, which is empathizing and bringing new products and services to life.”

In the future, Charlotte sees more of a collaborative partnership occurring between service reps and their customers. “We are going to extend much more into a space where we will find solutions for [customers] that exist outside of the box that we are currently operating in, in which we are presented with a problem and deliver the answer,” she emphasized. “We are going to get to a place in which we are delivering whole solutions in a much more collaborative way with our customers, this is where we can relate to them as human beings, solve bigger problems for them than they originally came to us for, and also preempt problems.”

For more engaging discussions from leaders in the CX world, check out our library of past Netomi webinars!

38 Incredible Chatbot Statistics (2023)

Written by  on   Mar 3, 2022

Chatbot statistics are more than obscure numbers and percentages from a standalone study. In fact, they are a tangible barometer for understanding the current status of consumer behavior. By learning key chatbot statistics, leaders can make informed decisions on the best ways to invest time and money to benefit their business and contribute to lead generation. This article will highlight the most important statistics every customer service and support leader needs to know in 2023.

It’s the customers’ world, and companies are just living in it. Customers today expect more: this means outcomes, not interactions. That is personalization, not generalization. They want immediate, not delayed. They need an Omnichannel experience, not a single channel method of communication.

Chatbots burst onto the scene in 2009 to little fanfare. According to Google Trends search data, “chatbot statistics” have never been more searched at any other time in the last decade. Moreover, you can see that the curiosity is no flash in the pan. Customer service chatbots are here to stay.

There are now palpable expectations for quick, convenient and effortless customer support. Consequently, a company’s ability to provide this directly correlates to revenue and loyalty. To meet these expectations and compete on customer service, companies are turning to chatbots and conversational AI. These can help offload work from human agents, decrease resolution time and provide omnichannel, real-time support.

Chatbots have been around for quite a few years now. Adoption of AI is now well beyond early adopters, trial and error, or limited pilot programs designed to test drive the technology. Conversational chatbots are being widely adopted to perform knowledge work, and become the new interface for consumer engagement. With all that being said, we wanted to understand the adoption of AI, trends in customer support automation, and the outlook of AI in customer service over the next few years.

We’ve pulled together the most telling chatbot statistics every customer experience leader needs to know in 2023.

Top 38 Chatbot Statistics and Facts (Editor’s Choice)

Chatbot Statistics On Adoption

  1. 1.4 billion people are using chatbots (Chatbot.Net)
  2. 60% of people have engaged with a chatbot in the last 12 months (GetVoip)
  3. By 2022, we’ll be talking to bots more than our own spouses (Deloitte)
  4. 77% of executives have already implemented and 60% plan to implement conversational bots for after-sales and customer service (Accenture)
  5. 53% of service organizations expect to use chatbots within 18 months — a 136% growth rate that foreshadows a big role for the technology in the near future (Salesforce 2)
  6. 56% of businesses that claim chatbots are driving disruption in their industry (Accenture)
  7. Nearly 6 in 10 executives said bots can improve their organization’s ability to handle customer queries by networking with other bots, and that they can deliver personalized attention to website visitors by being more conversational (Accenture)
  8. USA, India, Germany, the UK, and Brazil are the top 5 chatbot using countries. (Chatbots Life)

Interested in learning how to transform your customer service with AI?
Check out this eBook where we explain how AI can resolve over 50% of your service requests.


There are 7.8 billion people on the planet. That means 18% of the entire population use chatbots according to the first statistic on this list. As chatbot technology evolves, we expect more of the population to use bots for everyday communications with brands. The best live chat software already integrates chatbots into their first response strategy. Adoption of this technology will be seen across the internet, including mobile apps and messaging apps.

Chatbots Statistics About The Customer Experience (CX)

  1. 265 billion customer support requests made every year, costing $1.3 trillion (Chatbots Journal)
  2. 30% of customers will leave a brand and never come back because of a bad experience (OpenText)
  3. Failing to meet customer expectations is two times more destructive than exceeding them (KPMG)
  4. 1 in 5 live chats were ignored and not answered (SuperOffice)
  5. By 2022, banks should be able to automate up to 90% of their customer interaction using chatbots (Lauren Foye of Juniper Research, via Chatbots Magazine)

Need help understanding today’s customer service trends? Download our Pulse Report,
“The State of Customer Service,” for insights compiled by asking 700+ US consumers.


Customer service has never been more costly. Companies can no longer afford to tackle support in the same way they have done in the past. Will AI replace customer service agents altogether? That is highly unlikely. As you’ll see in the next section, there are elements of customer service that can only be handled by real people.

Chatbots and Human Agents

  1. 64% of agents with AI are able to spend most of their time solving complex problems (Salesforce 2)
  2. The ability to rationalize the company’s headcount was the least-often cited impact of bots (about one in 10) (Accenture)

AI is more of an enhancer than a replacer for real-time customer service teams. Think about other ways companies strengthen their customer service departments, like with BPOs. AI and virtual assistance are just more pillars that help stabilize an exceptional customer support operation and greatly reduce response time.

Take the retail space for example – companies, like Pier 1, could greatly benefit from a retail chatbot to answer simple questions. Unfortunately for Pier 1, they were the latest case of a major brick and mortar store to file for bankruptcy and letting go of most of their staff. The good news is that Pier 1 is shifting their efforts to a more online presence in the hope of reviving its brand. All this to say, retail customer service is crucial and those that do not adopt AI may be more likely to risk job loss, as the biggest risk for job loss lies in a business’s ability to adapt. 


Interested in learning about how to get started with a chatbot platform?
Check out the list of “Best AI Chatbots” by solution provider
s.


Chatbot Statistics About Consumer Preferences

  1. 54% of customers say companies need to transform how they engage with them (Salesforce)
  2. Only 38% of consumers actually want to talk with a human when engaging a brand (Drift)
  3. 77% of customers say chatbots will transform their expectations of companies in the next five years (Salesforce)
  4. 70% of millennials report positive chatbot experiences (Forbes)
  5. The number of consumers that use live chat over phone and email support have increased by 50% since 2012 (Forrester)
  6. More than 64% of Facebook users in Brazil, India, the UK, and the US say they like to send chats to a business over Facebook Messenger because it is the platform businesses are most likely to get back in touch with them (Facebook Business)
  7. Over 50% of customers expect a business to be available 24/7 (VentureBeat)
  8. 69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots for the speed at which they can communicate with a brand (Salesforce)
  9. 40% of shoppers don’t care if they’re helped by an AI tool or a human, as long as their question gets answered (HubSpot)
  10. 27% of consumers weren’t sure if the last customer support interaction they had was with a real person or a chatbot (PwC)
  11. 33% of consumers would use a chatbot to make a reservation at a hotel or restaurant (Drift)
  12. 87 % of users would interact with a travel chatbot if it could save them both time and money. (Humley)

Convinced customers like chatbots? Unsure how to get started? Watch our webinar on-demand
with Grundfos to learn five secrets every support leader needs to know.


It turns out customers really do want chatbots in 2023. The above five chatbot stats paint a really telling story that shows AI chat is here to stay. Consumers are frequently looking for better, faster experiences and quick answers. Customer support chatbots are emerging as the go-to technology to satisfy customers at scale.

Bots and Bottom-Line Business

  1. In 2020, organizations report a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a chatbot or virtual customer assistant (Gartner 2)
  2. Implementing chatbots can help a business to save up to 30% of their customer service cost (Chatbots Journal)
  3. Bots will save businesses $8 billion per year by 2022 (Deloitte)
  4. JP Morgan saved more than 360,000 hours of labor using its COIN chatbot to quickly analyze complex back-end contracts (The Financial Brand)
  5. Over 70% of chatbots accessed will be retail-based by 2023 (Juniper Research)

Want to turn your customer service into a revenue generator? Watch our webinar on-demand
with Gladly’s VP of Customers to learn how to drive profits with automation.


When it comes to the bottom line, businesses will save money by deploying bots. Statistics show that bots are a more efficient use of resources that can be allocated elsewhere. Therefore, businesses that choose to incorporate chatbots into their overall CX strategy will grow faster and hire more employees to handle complex tasks. 

Projecting Future Chatbot Usage in Customer Service

  1. The chatbot market size is projected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.7% (Business Insider)
  2. By 2023, 30% of customer service organizations will deliver proactive customer services by using AI-enabled process orchestration and continuous intelligence (Gartner)
  3. $13.9B was invested in CX-focused AI and $42.7B in CX-focused Big Data and analytics in 2019, with both expected to grow to $90B in 2022 (OpenText)
  4. Projected value of chatbot eCommerce transactions by 2023 is $112 billion. (Juniper Research)
  5. By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development. (Gartner)
  6. 75-90% of percentage of queries is projected to be handled by bots by 2022. (Juniper Research)

Ready for the future of AI in customer service? Watch our webinar on-demand
with Zendesk’s Platform Architects Manager to see how it improves CX.


Chatbots seem to have built an unstoppable momentum, especially now that COVID-19 has forever changed our world. Imagine life before credit cards, the internet, and Uber. In the not so distant future, chatbots will be in that same vein. If you liked this article, check out our list of 50 customer service statistics that business leaders should not underestimate.

Are you ready to transform your CX with AI-powered chatbots? Get on board. The ship is sailing! 

Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator today.

References

The 15 Best Knowledge Base Software Platforms & Tips for Selecting the Right One

Written by Amy Wallace  on   Mar 2, 2022

We are living in an information age, with instant access to information and knowledge available at the click of a button. Yet, many spend a large majority of their time combing through a cluttered market of content, as there is just so much out there. 

On the customer support front, customer preference for self-service is growing (we see this with online banking, or customers choosing self-serve baggage drop-off kiosks at airports). In fact, recent research from Gartner revealed that 59% of customers prefer to resolve their issues without contacting a customer service rep. Finding ways of providing options for customers to easily assist themselves will continue to be critical, and one of the primary ways that companies offer self-service is with online help centers, or knowledge bases. Here, we provide some tips on how to select the right knowledge base software for your needs, and key features to watch out for.

What Is a Knowledge Base?

They say that knowledge is power. And, there is power to be found in knowledge bases. 

Serving as centralized hubs, these dedicated spaces house all of a company’s most essential resources – information around recurring topics, issues and themes. Not solely a collection of help center and how-to-articles, however, knowledge bases can also include case studies, video tutorials and user forums – essentially, any content that helps customers better understand and make use of a company’s products or services. A key allure of knowledge bases is that they save customer support agents time from repeatedly answering the same questions, while also catering to the modern customers’ desire for self-service. Additionally, their 24/7 availability enables users to source information at any time of day.

What Does Knowledge Base Software Do?

On the surface, the general concept of knowledge bases seems quite intuitive. Organizing content all in one place = productive and efficient employees, and satisfied customers. Yet when creating knowledge bases, there is a need to go about it in a strategic manner. That is, just filling a knowledge base with content is not enough. How can it be customized and configured, harnessing its full capabilities, to make the most impact to both your customers and internal team members? For instance, is content organization and categorization top of mind? Ensuring that all important company notices are received and read by employees? Scaling your customer support? Consider what your goals and priorities are, and structure your knowledge base around this.   

Before constructing your knowledge base, it is first necessary to invest in the right software tool for your specific needs. This is where knowledge base software, aka knowledge management software, comes into play). These are a set of tools that allow companies to compile, house and share all company and product-specific information, all in one place. 

Such tools support different forms of knowledge bases, which can either be external (customer facing), or internal (for employees). While the former provides self-service options, the latter makes all aspects of a business operate in an efficient manner – human resources departments can use the knowledge base to keep employees informed, while product development teams can use it to track feature requests. 

How Do You Select The Right Knowledge Base Software?

Knowledge is also power when it comes to selecting the right knowledge base software for your specific needs. Each tool has its own features, to provide seamless navigability and help teams get the most out of their knowledge bases. A few essential features to watch out for include content management, AI and machine learning, a self-service portal, as well as feedback and analytics. 

To guide you in the selection process, we break down the key features of our picks for the top 15 knowledge base software solutions on the market today.

1. Zendesk

Offering the option of either self-service or hands-on assistance, Zendesk is ideal for teams looking to expand their customer support efforts around one central knowledge base. One of the earliest but still popular customer service software solutions on the market, Zendesk boasts AI-powered search and chatbots that immediately and automatically deliver relevant information from knowledge bases, so employees and customers get the information they need in a snap. Arguably, its most attractive feature is its numerous integrations, as it integrates with 1000+ prebuilt apps through the Zendesk marketplace. 

Zendesk’s Key Features

  • Content management and administration tools 
  • Customizable branding
  • Customer feedback
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Support across email, voice and live chat

Zendesk Pricing

  • Suite Growth: Starts at $79/month per agent
  • Suite Professional: Starts at $99/month per agent

* both options include AI-powered knowledge management

  • Suite Enterprise: Starts at $150/month per agent (also includes Advanced Knowledge Management)

2. Gladly

Gladly, a comprehensive Zendesk alternative, offers a “single knowledge base that scales.” By proactively suggesting standardized answers to popular questions that are configurable for various responses and lengths, the platform is a time-saver for agents.  

Gladly’s Key Features 

  • Placeholders to ensure that important information is always added before it is sent, such as a customer’s name and confirmation number
  • Localized answers to display relevant answers to customers within public FAQs, based on their locality and presumed language preference 
  • ‘Author once, publish anywhere’ capability, allowing for information to be published across every channel, for increased productivity 

Gladly Pricing

  • Support Hero: Starts at $150/month per user (for support agents who communicate directly with customers​)

+

  • Task user: Starts at $38/month per user (for team members who execute on assigned tasks, only available with Support Hero subscription) 
  • Free user: $0 (for team members who manage teams and operations, only available with Support Hero subscription) 

*All options include access to a unified answers database for customer self service and help center


3. HubSpot Service Hub

With its all-in-one approach, cloud-based CRM HubSpot knows the ins-and-outs of customer support. Service Hub enables businesses to scale their customer support, unify their front-office teams and offer proactive customer service. A fully integrated CRM enables businesses to track user engagement, customer details and their interactions with a business. 

HubSpot Service Hub’s Key Features

  • A secure customer portal keeps conversations flowing between customers and their reps
  • A knowledge base to “help customers help themselves,” and reduce the volume of support requests 
  • Customer feedback surveys to gather feedback which can be used to enhance the customer experience 
  • Reporting dashboards to surface actionable data and enable better decision making 
  • Integration with thousands of third-party apps via HubSpot App Collections

HubSpot Service Hub Pricing

  • Professional: Starts at $360/month per user (5 paid users included, $72/month per additional user)
  • Enterprise: Starts at $1,200/month per user ​​(10 paid users included, $120/month per additional user)

*Knowledge base tool not included in Starter package


4. ServiceNow

ServiceNow offers three versions of its Knowledge Management software – Customer Service Management, IT Service Management and HR Service Delivery – and each tool is available as part of the platform’s larger software suite. For each version, strong emphasis is placed on capturing, structuring, reusing and improving knowledge. ServiceNow’s comprehensive solution enables knowledge managers and other team members to take new data and information as it becomes available, use it to enhance their current knowledge, and, in turn, make improvements to their overall operations. 

ServiceNow’s Key Features

  • Integration with Microsoft Word Online 
  • Machine learning-powered reporting to automatically detect and visualize any knowledge gaps 
  • Knowledge blocks allowing for all related knowledge to be closely tied together, while also reducing redundant content 
  • Knowledge harvesting to allow teams to convert solutions from conversations into knowledge articles
  • Feedback management to quickly and easily act on feedback from customers and internal users 
  • Knowledge subscription to disseminate relevant articles to both customers and employees

*As all software packages are priced on an individual basis, contact ServiceNow for information on pricing, and to get a custom quote.


5. Confluence by Atlasssian

With an emphasis on collaborative knowledge content creation, Confluence enables teams to work together in real-time using real-time editing, commenting, and notifications, ensuring that everyone is kept in the loop. 

Confluence’s Key Features

  • Best practice template libraries, where users can choose from over 75 customizable templates, or create their own 
  • Advanced search and hierarchical page trees, for content that is well-organized and easy to find
  • Page versioning to track and change page history, and compare different versions
  • Integration with Jira’s helpdesk software, Atlasssian’s software suite and dozens of other tools 

 Confluence Pricing

  • Free: Up to 10 users, 2GB of storage, and basic documentation features
  • Standard: Starts at $5.50/month per user, up to 20,000 users, 250GB of storage
  • Premium: Starts at $10.50/month per user, up to 20,000 users, unlimited storage
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing details

6. Bloomfire

In the remote and distributed world of work today, collaboration and maintaining connection between team members is more important than ever. Bloomfire is focused on keeping teams aligned and working towards the same goals, wherever they may be located. One of the platform’s key attributes is promoting self-sufficiency by removing information hierarchies, affording everyone access to the same knowledge, no matter their department, location or role. 

Bloomfire’s Key Features

  • Curation tools to identify duplicate content, schedule content reviews, and flag posts for review
  • AI-powered search engine that deep indexes each word in each file, and transcribes words spoken in videos
  • Integration with other apps such as Chrome, Slack, Dropbox, Salesforce and Microsoft Teams 

Bloomfire Pricing

  • Basic: Starts at $25/month per user
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing details

7. Document360

“Engineered for growing companies,” with its wide range of collaboration features, Document360 is ideal for larger teams. The platform offers both a knowledge base portal for editors and reviewers (content producers), as well as a knowledge base site for customers and employees (content consumers).  

Document360’s Key Features

  • A category manager to create and organize categories and subcategories, and display similar groups of topics 
  • Two different editor styles: markdown and WYSIWYG, allowing creators to add images, links, videos and code blocks
  • Analytics, affording insights into where knowledge base traffic is coming from and how users are interacting with its content 
  • The ability to create a multilingual language base to support global customers 

Document360 Pricing

  • Startup: Starts at $119/month per project, billed monthly (Knowledge Base Version – $39/month per additional version)
  • Business: Starts at $359/month per project, billed monthly (2 Knowledge Base Versions – $99/month per additional version)
  • Enterprise: Starts at $599/month, billed monthly (2 Knowledge Base Versions – $199/mo per additional version)
  • Enterprise Plus: Contact for pricing details

8. Guru

A “work wiki that people actually love,” Guru captures knowledge from Slack and elsewhere on the internet via a browser extension, and then converts that information into “cards” that are easily accessible by all team members. A powerful tool for internal communications, perhaps the software’s most unique feature is an AI that proactively suggests experts from teams to verify any new and updated knowledge.  

Guru’s Key Features

  • Knowledge alerts that notify team members of a company’s most critical updates and ensure that they are received by all 
  • Intelligent duplicate detection to find and flag any duplicated content 
  • Collections, boards, groups and cards, allowing for smart organization of content 
  • Verification to ensure that product information is always kept up-to-date, and has been verified by the appropriate subject matter expert 
  • Knowledge triggers that allow for teams to intelligently push relevant knowledge to the rest of their team, at the right moments 

Guru Pricing

  • Starter: free for teams with up to 3 core users/ Starts at $6 month per user for teams that need more core users
  • Builder: Starts at $12/month per user, billed monthly
  • Expert: Starts at $24/month per user, billed monthly

9. HelpCrunch

For this top-rated customer communication platform, all emphasis is on customer support, and providing 24/7 customer self-service. Also offering live chat, a help desk, email marketing, and pop-ups, the knowledge base tool is included in all of HelpCrunch’s subscription plans. 

HelpCrunch’s Key Features

  • Powerful search capabilities that automatically suggest relevant articles based on the keywords that a user typed in 
  • Live chat widget integration, to provide all-around user support
  • A powerful visual editor tool, allowing customer support teams to easily create and edit help articles 
  • SEO-focused metadata editing that lets companies optimize their help content for social media and search engines 

HelpCrunch Pricing

  • Basic: Starts at $15/month per user, billed monthly 
  • Pro: Starts at $25/month per user, billed monthly

             *both options include knowledge base functionality  

  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing details  

10. Help Scout

A “knowledge base software built for discovery,” Help Scout is designed for customer self-service. Allowing for maximum visibility and “answers anywhere,” knowledge base articles can be embedded onto any web page, so they look and feel like part of a company’s website.  

Help Scout’s Key Features

  • A Docs Report that offers valuable insights, helping companies understand what their customers are searching for, and if they are finding answers to their questions 
  • Access to Beacon, allowing customers to view knowledge base articles from anywhere on a website 
  • The ability to create private collections that hold internal information for teams

Help Scout Pricing

  • Standard: Starts at $20/month per user, billed annually
  • Plus: Starts at $35/month per user, billed annually
  • Company: Starts at $60/month per user, billed annually

11. Helpjuice

Helpjuice is a popular choice for teams with limited developer support, as it offers numerous pre-made themes to choose from (as well as free expert customization). The cloud-based solution was designed to help businesses scale their customer support and collaborate more effectively with their teams. 

Helpjuice’s Key Features

  • Easy content and author formatting that allows creators to work with multiple versions of the same article, and easily switch between them
  • Intelligent analytics to measure the impact of articles, see what users are searching for, and increase the productivity of users/groups
  • AI-powered, Google-like search for easy search functionality   
  • Integrates directly with a number of other tools such as Slack, Google Chrome, Freshdesk, and Microsoft Teams 

Helpjuice Pricing

  • Starter: Starts at $120/month for up to 4 users
  • Run-Up: Starts at $200/month for up to 16 users
  • Premium Limited: Starts at $289/month for up to 60 users
  • Premium Unlimited: Starts at $499/month for unlimited users

12. KnowledgeOwl

This feature-rich knowledge base software is suited for internal and external usage, empowering both internal teams and their customers to find the answers they are looking for. The convenient tool includes a built-in contextual help widget, custom branding and robust search features. 

KnowledgeOwl’s Key Features

  • Feedback features such as comments and ratings (stars and thumbs), allowing companies to determine the usefulness of their articles 
  • A Glossary option that enables companies to create a glossary of all company-specific terms and insert on-hover definitions for the first-10 occurrences of a term 
  • A dedicated file library that includes global file management and file labeling 
  • Advanced user and reader management that grants specific permissions to different users and readers based on their individual tasks and needs

KnowledgeOwl Pricing

  • Flex: from $79/month
  • Business: from $299/month
  • Enterprise: from $999/month

*all plans include 1 knowledge base, additional knowledge bases can be added for $40/month


13. LiveAgent

With its combination of live chat, automation and ticketing, LiveAgent’s all-in-one help desk software enables teams to answer more tickets. Advantageous for companies that sell several products, brands or services, a single account gives them the opportunity to create unlimited knowledge bases, each of them with its own unique design, settings, and content.

LiveAgent’s Key Features 

  • Forums that serve as a space for knowledge sharing between customers, allowing them to interact and help each other troubleshoot their problems
  • Highly customizable and easy-to-use feedback buttons prompt visitors to provide feedback and suggestions
  • Customizable search widgets allow for customers to find information quickly and easily  

LiveAgent Pricing

  • Ticket: Starts at $15/month per user
  • Ticket + Chat: Starts at $29/month per user
  • All-Inclusive: Starts at $49/month per user

14. livepro

Although designed and built for the contact center, with livepro’s smart integrations and self-serve options, entire organizations can benefit from the solution (such as IT departments, marketing and compliance). The platform’s Knowledge Management Software has been designed to maximize customer experience, and empower workforces to boost customer service satisfaction ratings.

livepro’s Key Features 

  • The Rocket – an intuitive answer-bot that eliminates errors and ambiguity, while significantly reducing response and training times
  • Integration with other customer-facing channels such as Salesforce, WordPress, Genesys Pure Cloud, and Slack, so customer support systems can be managed from one portal
  • Custom reporting dashboards and analytics that enable companies to discover unique customer insights and trending searches 

livepro Pricing

Pricing is tailored to individual needs, contact for pricing details.


15. ProProfs

Featuring wikis, FAQs and a knowledge base, ProProfs enables companies to improve both their employee training and customer support. With its Microsoft Word-like editor, team collaboration, and powerful integrations, the platform takes a one-size-fits-all-approach to offer a user-friendly experience for all. 

ProProf’s Key Features

  • Reports and analytics, allowing teams to gain detailed reports on knowledge base performance, including broken links, content effectiveness and article health 
  • Integrations with G-Suite, CRMs and ProProfs in-house tools 
  • Full branding and customization, with the option to select from 25+ pre-designed page templates, and create a custom domain that is aligned with a company’s brand 

ProProfs Pricing 

Public help center (for customers)

  • Essentials: Starts at $40/month per author, billed monthly 
  • Premium: Starts at $50/month per author, billed monthly   
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing details 

Private knowledge base (secure access for employees and partners) 

  • Essentials: Starts at $3.50/month per user, billed monthly 
  • Premium: Starts at $4.50/month per user, billed monthly   
  • Enterprise: Contact for pricing details 

Knowledge Bases + AI-Powered Chatbots = The Ideal Combo

There are numerous knowledge base softwares available, each with their own lists of features. As your needs are unique to your team and your industry, it is important to select the one that best fits your organization.

The ultimate combination? AI-powered chatbots, used in parallel with knowledge base tools, resulting in a fully comprehensive self-service experience. This allows you to harness the extensive information in your knowledge base, along with the advanced capabilities of an AI-powered chatbot, to accurately provide your customers with the information that they need, exactly when they need it. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots help make knowledge bases even more useful, by automatically pulling in and summarizing articles that are most relevant to a customer’s question. The end result: a great customer experience, and a high resolution rate when it comes to customer service tickets. 

Now, that is power. 

To see how Netomi’s chatbot solution can integrate seamlessly with your knowledge base, get in touch to book a personalized demo!