How to Maximize Your Zendesk Knowledge Base with AI (Updated June 2022)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jun 10, 2022

The Power of a Zendesk Knowledge Base and Customer Self-Service

The modern customer wants self-service. That’s why, over the past few years, we’ve seen companies build out robust Knowledge Bases (or Help Centers) on Zendesk and other leading customer experience platforms. Zendesk Knowledge Base solutions are team publishing libraries covering recurring topics and questions on products and services.

Another way that companies provide self-serve support options is by launching customer service chatbots. These can resolve issues without customers having to engage a live customer service agent.

In this post, we explore the benefits of using AI chatbots in parallel with the best knowledge base software platforms like Zendesk Guide, the Zendesk internal knowledge base application. We’ll discuss how this powerful combination creates a more comprehensive self-serve experience that resolves even more tickets and increases customer satisfaction (CSAT).


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Why having a knowledge base is so critical for excellent customer service 

The cornerstone of good customer service is respecting customers’ time. Forrester reports that two-thirds of customers say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service1. Committing to creating knowledge base content is a great way that companies can provide information quickly, no matter when a person needs it.

Furthermore, people have a desire to help themselves. We’ve seen this in banking. People now often deposit checks on their phone using a customer portal instead of visiting a bank branch, or use a banking chatbot to look for a quick solution. Another common example is when travelers opt to check bags via a kiosk rather than engage with the gate agent at the airport. The same holds true for customer service: 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative2.

This do-it-yourself attitude is even more prevalent with millennials. Before sending an email or picking up the phone to call customer support, 89% of millennials use a search engine to find answers. When there’s a knowledge base available, people will access it to find the information they need. In fact,  Zendesk found that 91% of people would use online knowledge base articles if they were available3


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What is Zendesk Knowledge Base?

So now that we know why knowledge bases are important, let’s look closely at one of the most popular tools among both internal and external users. As one of the most popular agent desk platforms, Zendesk Guide, is the choice of over 150,000 companies. It offers robust product features, including:

  • Customizable themes
  • Rich text editor for the easy creation of articles including media like images and video
  • Content history which shows a list of edits and changes
  • The ability to restore deleted content so if something is deleted by accident, it can be recovered
  • Content cues that combine machine learning and usage data to improve the overall health of your knowledge base

Zendesk Guide integrates seamlessly with Zendesk Support and offers an easy way for support teams to address knowledge management concerns. Therefore, they can update their internal and external knowledge bases using Zendesk products without needing IT support. Zendesk Guide has a Web Widget and a Mobile SDK, so customers can access self-help articles whether on a website or in a relevant knowledge capture app.

Why every user needs to use an AI Chatbot in parallel 

As mentioned above, another way companies are helping customers help themselves, and cutting back on support tickets, is by deploying AI chatbots. In fact, 1.4 billion people are using chatbots today. As more companies using chatbots for customer service can meet customers’ demand for convenient resolutions, let’s consider how integrating an AI chatbot with Zendesk’s knowledge base provides an added safety net and improves the user experience.

Unlike first-generation bots that relied on buttons, keywords and rigid decision trees to pull up information, newer AI chatbots use Natural Language Understanding and semantics to understand context. These bots can engage more naturally in conversations with customers. Additionally, they respond to more inputs without being explicitly trained on every single way a person might phrase a question.

Even so, there will be circumstances in which the AI chatbot cannot confidently understand what a person has said. This is especially true when an AI chatbot has just been launched and is still learning from real-world scenarios.

There are also times when an AI chatbot has not ever been directly trained on a topic. In these scenarios, if an AI chatbot has been integrated with a knowledge base like Zendesk Guide, it can recommend relevant articles to a specific user segment. This can help customers resolve a wider number of tickets on their own without human agent intervention by directing people to the relevant article with the sought-after information.

Unlock Netomi’s powerful AI with an integration to the Knowledge Base from Zendesk

Netomi’s powerful self-serve option integrates Zendesk’s Knowledge Base with its most native AI chatbot. The result: an amazing customer experience and the highest resolution rate when it comes to customer service tickets.

When you use Netomi’s low-cost, Knowledge Base service, you can launch an AI chatbot on Zendesk in minutes. More than just an answer bot, this allows you to harness the rich information in your Zendesk Guide and Netomi’s advanced AI platform to accurately provide your customers with information in the exact moment-of-need.

This results in higher deflection of everyday questions from live agents, therefore reducing costs as human agents focus solely on complex tickets.

Netomi’s Knowledge Base Service uses AI to search and identify the best answers to your customer questions right within your chat window. You’ll simply connect your knowledge base via a URL into Netomi’s Knowledge Base Service to enable each user segment to access relevant articles from your knowledge base. Instantly, your knowledge base will be automated, enabling customers to find relevant information via a chat window.


Looking for an AI platform that works beautifully with Zendesk products? Let us show you how it works.


Every Zendesk Guide User Should Adopt an AI chatbot 

As consumers continue to seek out self-serve options for support, companies need to integrate AI chatbots with an external or internal knowledge base. These will allow them to cover more use cases and resolve more tickets without getting human agents involved. This helps to satisfy the desire to do-it-yourself, while also eliminating even more mundane tickets from human agents. 

Can we show you how you can immediately bring a powerful AI chatbot together with your Zendesk KB to delight customers? Schedule a demo today

References

  1. Forrester: https://go.forrester.com/blogs/your-customers-want-to-self-serve-its-good-for-them-and-good-for-you/
  2. HBR: https://hbr.org/2017/01/kick-ass-customer-service
  3. Zendesk: https://www.zendesk.com/blog/searching-for-self-service/ 

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!