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.
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
- 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)
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
- 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
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
- 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
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.
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
- 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
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
- Basic: Starts at $25/month per user
- Enterprise: Contact for pricing details
“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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- Ticket: Starts at $15/month per user
- Ticket + Chat: Starts at $29/month per user
- All-Inclusive: Starts at $49/month per user
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
Pricing is tailored to individual needs, contact for pricing details.
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
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!