Knowledge Base is a way of sharing, organizing, and managing common knowledge. In reality, majority of online websites, blogs, and news outlets could be transformed into individual knowledge bases, which would give everyone a slightly more organized view of how online news, and articles work.
Commonly used by companies that work within the hosting, software, and tools industry – knowledge base can provide a way of transmitting essential information to the customer. It’s less messy than having to manage a blog, and modern knowledge base software will provide you with more tailored tools for building educational content.
The Advantages of Using a Knowledge Base System
I think it’s more than just the ability to organize information in a nice and accessible way, here are a few reasons to – perhaps – inspire you to set one up and explore:
- Less Support Tickets — By giving your users all of the information they need to get going, you’re avoiding unnecessary support tickets. And, even if people do still email, you can just quote the links to your knowledge base.
- More Time — Kind of self-explanatory, by investing a bit of time in producing high-quality guides and tutorials for your customers, you’re setting yourself up for some extra free time when things begin to roll.
- Ideas — Yes! By having written one article for your knowledge base, you’ll have better understand of what is missing, what could be added, and what might be interesting to your customers.
- Data — Monitor what people are clicking on, see what kind of questions are your customers asking, and then try to answer them; either through products, or direct-help.
- Happy Customers — Instead of making your customers wait for answers, pack them all up in your knowledge base, and you’ll instantly notice how much more happy your customers are! And, I’m pretty sure that happy customers mean more business!
It can cost as low as one dollar a month to purchase a professional knowledge base system, or you can grab one for free from open-source communities, I’ll make sure to include at least one project that’s free. Just like I said in my post about live chat software, it’s important to remember about the needs of the customer, the easier we make it for customers to find information, the less time we have to spend answering support tickets!
You probably have seen this knowledge base system before, nearly ever other support email that I send out to companies – all of them get handled by Zendesk, which as led me to believing that these guys happen to be doing something right. Tailored to your customers. Easy for you to manage. Zendesk Help Center is a knowledge base, community, and customer portal—all in one. Serve up a customized support experience for your customers.
The plans begin at one dollar per month per agent, and while you won’t be getting access to the full list of features, you do get to integrate your Zendesk platform with more than 150 unique applications, think: Twitter, Salesforce, Business Apps, etc,.
Safeharbor has been a leading developer of knowledge base software applications and knowledge management solutions for over 15 years. Determined to help enterprises and public sector companies deliver the most comprehensive web self-help service, Safeharbor leverages knowledge to improve customer service.
It’s almost a three-in-one type of service. You get access to the general product, which is the knowledge base, but you also get to access an integrated forum system (great for customer feedback), and also a few tools and tips on how to optimize your content, which means that Safeharbor is aware of the search engine optimization benefits that can be had from using such a system!
I love that Freshdesk is offering their starter plan for free, for up to three agents. Basically, it’s not a unique knowledge base system, rather – Freshdesk is a full-scale online support system that incorporates many tools and apps, such as: Helpdesk, Live Chat, Phone Support, and a lot more!
I’m pretty happy with how Freshdesk looks as a final product, and if you’ve been looking to try something new (in regards to customer support), then maybe this is the company to work with.
The guys (literally) behind Helpjuice have been actively working on the site since 2011, and over time, the knowledge base has gained enough reputation and attention to become a household name in the knowledge base market. Helpjuice has been (and is) used by many large and corporate online companies, including: Indeed, Walmart, Stanford University, and many more.
Helpjuice is a simple and easy-to-use knowledge base that will answer your customers questions, without them having to email support. We’ll also help you keep your knowledge base up-to-date and better understand customers using our powerful analytics. Also, I personally like the fact that Helpjuice lets customers leave feedback, on things they’d like to see covered in the knowledge base.
ProProfs Knowledge Base is a web-based knowledge management software which helps businesses to centrally access and manage organizational knowledge as well as enhance employee collaboration and coordination. Additionally, businesses use the knowledgebase to create a highly-searchable online FAQ to improve customer service and reduce tickets. Organizations can also easily transfer employee knowledge through the knowledgebase to train their sales, customer service, support teams as well as introduce new hires to company policies and procedures.
I did say that I would try to include at least one free (open-source) knowledge base system in this list, so here we are. Although the iPanelThemes website might say that these guys are a premium WordPress theme business, their knowledge base theme is released under the GPL license on GitHub. What’s more, this is only going to work for those webmasters who’re using the WordPress content management system.
But, if you’re desperate for a decent solution, it shouldn’t be a problem to install WordPress and then use this theme. I actually think it’s a great combo, given the fact that you can heavily modify WordPress to your own needs, and after taking a quick look inside this themes code – it shouldn’t be very hard to maintain and modify.
Examples of Sites using a Knowledge Base
Okay, now that we’ve covered the software that helps businesses build knowledge bases, we can take a look at some real-life examples of what a knowledge base looks like, and how it actually works. I’ll not be commenting a lot on each of the sites, as they use creative and unique designs, but click on the images to explore the sites in more detail.
• Media Temple
Media Temple is a professional hosting company that’s home to millions of websites, many of which you probably visit every day. Their knowledge base consists of hundreds of answers and tutorials on how to manage either your Media Temple account, or how to get most out of your hosting packages.
CloudFlare is doing the same thing, it’s providing users with valuable and resourceful information regarding their services, the design of this particular knowledge base is very minimal, but it’s also pleasantly comforting to the eyes – so it does work. You don’t need to write 500 word answers to all questions, simple two or three sentence answers seem to work for some!
Envato Marketplace is known for being one of the most popular freelance websites in the world, it’s no surprise to see a separate knowledge base developed by the Envato developers. There is so much information covered on this particular site, it’s important that everything is easily readable. Take a look at the sites structure if you’ve got to build something of similar size.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms in the World, it also has to deal with hundreds of user queries every day, so having a knowledge base can really help to minimize time spent repeating the same answers. Out of all four examples, this one is probably my favorite. Take a look at all the styling for each section of site, it’s flawless – especially the knowledge base articles themselves, such a great choice of colors and widgets.
Vendors of Knowledge Base Software
Yes, I probably left out some favorites along the way, but sacrifices had to be made, as I don’t believe that anyone would bother with trying out every option out there – it simply takes too much time to install, configure, and test even one platform. Was your favorite left out? Sorry for that, and please recommend it to the community in the comment section!
There are many uses for this wonderful software, and perhaps more than just showing vital information to your customers – you could easily turn your knowledge bases in full-fledged archives of history, tools, resources, etc,. etc,. It’s something I’d consider doing myself, and perhaps you’ve done already?