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How to Roll-out A Successful Internal Knowledge Base

Why Is an Internal Knowledge Base Fundamental for Business?

An internal knowledge base is essentially a company’s central library of knowledge, packaged in an agent-friendly interface. It contains all the fundamental information that employees and other stakeholders require to work effectively. This includes anything from returns policies to product specifications and troubleshooting videos to decision trees.

Access to this sort of information is vital for agents whose roles are to facilitate customer support. With customers expecting fast answers to questions and quick fixes to their issues it is important that agents can find the correct knowledge articles efficiently in order to satisfy customers.

The internal knowledge base interface that agents utilise everyday works by with your company’s wider knowledge base to retrieve relevant and accurate knowledge articles that help to solve customer issues. Powered by AI and by harnessing Natural Language Processing (NLP), agents benefit from quick access to results regardless of how a query may have been phrased.

An image showing the knowledge interface

Once an agent types the customer query into the system, NLP unpicks the sentence using sophisticated algorithms, analysing components such as keywords, grammar, intent and popularity to understand context and produce relevant results.

Because this is handled using AI, the problem-solving process takes place automatically and within the same window. The results of which is a large accumulation of time saved that would otherwise be spent searching for answers or transferring customers to supervisors. By reducing Average Handling Times (AHT), contact centre costs are significantly reduced and agents can deal with more queries, impacting positively on CSAT.

According to a report by Gartnersupport costs can be reduced by 25% when a knowledge management discipline is in place.

When an internal knowledge base is effectively deployed companies benefit from:

  • Significantly reduced contact centre costs
  • Greater agent productivity
  • Improved CSAT and NPS ratings
  • Enhanced CX
  • Empowered agents

Choosing Effective Internal Knowledge Base Software

The success of the roll-out, including user adoption and buy-in, will be heavily determined by the software that is selected. The software selection process for your internal knowledge base is crucial and requires time and careful consideration.

To ensure a smooth and successful roll-out of your internal knowledge base, start with the software, ensuring it includes:

  • Ease of access through AI
  • Real-time article updates
  • Integrations that help serve customers
  • Features that promote productivity

Ease of Access Through AI

Choose internal knowledge base software that is built on AI and that utilises NLP. With these forces as work, agents have access to a rich library of knowledge articles at their fingertips using a simple search function. As NLP takes care of identifying, retrieving and producing relevant results rather than the agent doing this manually, significant time is saved and efficiency is boosted. For some contact centres the result of which is up to 25% reduction in Average Handling Times.

Without an AI-powered tool in place, First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates suffer. Without a tool that helps agents quickly find that critical piece of information that will satisfy a customer’s issue, often customers are transferred or a call back is arranged for when the information has been found. However, internal knowledge bases that utilise NLP’s intent-based search features increase FCR rates considerably. This is due to its capabilities to understand what is being asked and matching queries with their most relevant results.

Real-Time Article Updates

When it comes to the distribution of information, whether that is internally to agents or externally to customers and other stakeholders, consistency is key. Distributing inconsistent, inaccurate or outdated information can prove detrimental to companies, damaging reputation and worse in some cases. Ensure you choose internal knowledge base software that enables the straightforward editing and updating of knowledge articles in real-time. This means that once an article has been amended, the changes will instantly be reflected through whichever channel your knowledge base connects to.

With circumstances frequently changing and therefore the way many businesses operate, changes must be quickly made available to those who have direct contact with your customers.

A simple knowledge base editor allows those with permission to easily add, edit and update knowledge article whilst agents can make article suggestions and flag those they suspect require updating.

An imaging showing how agents can flag articles in Synthetix Knowledge for your Team

Integrations That Help Serve Customers

Including an agent-facing knowledge base is hugely beneficial to your business operations. However, what happens when you introduce a customer-facing knowledge base, or in other words, an online FAQ or self-service tool is of significant value.

By choosing knowledge base software that powers both an internal interface for agents and an external interface for customers, not only are you providing consistent information across channels, but also contact reduction. By including a self-service option on your website, the level of contact that would otherwise reach the contact centre – most of which including routine queries – is significantly reduced. This not only improves CX but allows agents greater bandwidth to effectively deal with customers’ more complex issues – resulting in higher CSAT scores.

Internal Knowledge

An image showing how Knowledge for your Team works

Customer Facing Knowledge

An image showing an example of a self service tool for Lexus

Features That Promote Productivity

Some internal knowledge base tools. offer additional features designed to further promote agent productivity.

For instance, AI-predictive suggestions use AI to recommend relevant knowledge articles on every agent keypress. These suggestions are displayed within the internal knowledge base and can easily be opened, then copied and pasted over to the customer to further reduce AHT.

When integrated with your live chat solution, features such as the live keypress feed help agents deal with chats with optimal efficiency. It lets agents see what customers are typing with every keypress, often allowing them time to solve and prepare a resolution before the customer has hit “send”.

Ensuring Successful User Adoption

Once knowledge has been harvested from sources such as employee insights and reports, it can be contextualised and transformed into bitesize knowledge articles that make up the knowledge base’s content.

The next step of the roll-out includes user adoption. Ensuring that the internal knowledge base is well received and accepted by its users and stakeholder that are involved is critical to the roll-out’s success. The aim is having employees fully on board with an understanding as to how the initiative will benefit them and the overall business. This can be achieved through a number of methods.

Embed into Culture

Introduce employees to the idea of knowledge sharing and the internal knowledge base well in advanced to prepare them for the roll-out. This might involve weekly company meetings or even tasks that help them become familiar with the initiative. When practised over time, this will become engrained in your company culture.

Assigning Advocates

Before the roll-out takes place, assign several advocates whose responsibility will be to coach others on the upcoming internal knowledge base deployment. Have them act as other employees’ first port of call if they have any questions regarding the roll-out.

By having people of influence within your company advocate the internal knowledge base, it encourages the wider team to get excited about change. If employees are prepared and championing new technology it is likely that other stakeholders will also buy-in.

Employee Involvement

Involve everyone in the initiative as much as possible, as early as possible. This not only helps employees get used to the idea of any changes, but it’s also an opportunity for any employee input.

Organise company-wide surveys and smaller in-depth meetings for those directly involved, for example, agents. This will help with the internal knowledge base’s effectiveness by enriching the content from those with first-hand experience but also helps with user adoption. By familiarising agents with how it will work and having them contribute to the roll-out, the more likely they are to support the new initiative once it is deployed.

Rolling Out and Maintaining Your Internal Knowledge Base

Once the content is finalised and your employees are prepared, the roll-out itself shouldn’t be a complicated or long process. Once contracts are agreed, the deployment of your internal knowledge base, depending on your requirements is completed in days or weeks, providing your software vendor uses low-code deployment methods.

When it comes to maintaining your internal knowledge base, how can you ensure that it continues to be utilised, optimised and proves effective?

Encourage Engagement Through Gamification

To keep agents motivated and engaged, gamified visuals are available to champion user wins and encourage healthy competition in the contact centre. User scoreboard metrics such as most queries solved and top searches are visible to all and displayed in graphics to incentivise and create transparency.

An image that shows Knowledge Base analytics

Measure Effectiveness Against Objectives

To make sure that your internal knowledge base is proving effective in its intended areas, it is good practice to have its core goals and objectives always in mind. This way you can easily measure the system’s metrics against objectives to assess whether you remain on track or not. From this, appropriate changes can be made if necessary.

Measure metrics that reside in the tool’s analytics suite, such as search result metrics which reveal how many queries were successfully dealt with using the internal knowledge base and how many are optimisable.

An image that shows Knowledge Base analytics

Optimise Your Internal Knowledge Base with Analytics

Keep your knowledge articles up to date and your internal knowledge base accurate by assessing top query analytics that identifies any gaps in your existing content. This is also an opportunity to discover trends as they emerge.

To optimise your content, you can also carry out regular employee surveys and agent interviews to capture new insights and information, continuing to develop your internal library of knowledge.

An image that shows Knowledge Base analytics

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about knowledge management, you can read our guide here, or for advice on software selection, please

An image for an articles based on Knowledge Management Strategy

Executing a Knowledge Management Strategy

What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is a key business discipline that is utilised by a multitude of businesses to optimise knowledge, transforming the way it is perceived and dealt with. When executed effectively, knowledge management alters company culture so that it is centred around knowledge. Businesses that achieve this share the understanding that knowledge is a powerful asset which is everywhere and should be harnessed should they wish for growth, efficiency and improvement.

Operationally, knowledge management involves the harvesting, analysis, conversion, organisation and sharing of knowledge with the relevant audiences. This could be:

  • Internally for employees to use as a central library of information
  • Externally for customers to access knowledge through self-service tools
  • In contact centres for agents to use when helping customers

By embedding knowledge sharing into the company culture, the capture and collection of knowledge becomes an everyday practice for employees. This helps to remove knowledge silos within your business, promoting transparency and collaboration.

Companies that execute a successful knowledge management strategy also benefit from:

  • Operational efficiency
  • Agent productivity
  • Reduced support costs
  • Empowered employees
  • Better decision making
  • Improved CSAT / NPS ratings
  • Growth and innovation

Knowledge Management Objectives

Like with any new initiative, your knowledge management goals and objectives must be carefully considered and finalised before anything else.

Without knowing why you are implementing knowledge management or what you aim to achieve through its impact and having everyone on the same page, the execution is likely to fail. With a clear view of the purpose and desired outcome, you ensure that everyone has the same vision and is working towards a common result. It also helps everyone involved measure their progress and question if they are on track as expected, if not, then appropriate changes can be made – but at least there will be transparency.

Ensure all the key people involved in the knowledge management strategy are present to discuss goals and objectives, they will have valid views – all of which must be considered.

Common knowledge management objectives involve:

  • Reducing operational overheads and support costs
  • Promoting contact centre efficiency
  • Improving CSAT and NPS scores
  • Optimising the customer journey online
  • Supporting business growth
  • Supporting new product/service innovation

Once overall goals have been agreed, bitesize objectives can be decided alongside a timeline.

Knowledge Management Auditing

Once your team has a shared understanding of the purpose and outcomes regarding the knowledge management strategy, it is good practice to conduct a knowledge audit. This involves the evaluation of the current knowledge within your company to highlight any strengths, gaps, existing attitudes, opportunities and roadblocks.

Conduct the audit by considering the following:

  • What are your company’s requirements surrounding knowledge?
  • What current knowledge assets or resources exist within your company?
    • What format do they exist in?
    • Are they mainly explicit or tacit types of knowledge?
  • What gaps exist within your current knowledge offering?
  • How is knowledge currently shared around your company?
  • What are the roadblocks that are preventing knowledge sharing?
    • Do you have a dedicated and accountable knowledge executive?
    • Are there any processes already in place?
    • Do you utilise any software that enables sharing?

Once the knowledge audit has been carried out, you will have a clear understanding of where your strengths and areas for improvement are. This helps to influence the way in which you execute knowledge management.

People and Processes

Dedicated Knowledge Executive

Whether its a Knowledge Manager or dedicated executive from a division such as Customer Service, Customer Experience or Marketing, it’s fundamental that you have someone that takes ownership and accountability over knowledge management.

Ensure that your knowledge executive has the skill and experience to deal with knowledge. This includes knowing how to collect, curate, and harvest knowledge, but also involves the translation of tacit data into consumable knowledge.

Without a Knowledge Manager or equivalent in place, your knowledge will become ineffective, inconsistent and redundant. Without a dedicated individual updating, editing and adding to your bank of knowledge then not only does knowledge management not work as a function but inaccurate and therefore potentially damaging information can circulate.

Knowledge Management Process

Process is imperative when it comes executing your knowledge management strategy. Whilst there is no cookie-cutter approach to this and steps will differ from business to business, it’s important to follow the knowledge management process at the least in its’s simplest form:Discovery:The first step concerns identifying and capturing any explicit knowledge that already exists within the company. This can be found in intranets, DMS and shared company documents, for example, HR policies and Sales processes.

Capture: This focuses on extracting any tacit, undocumented knowledge which generally resides within the brains of senior employees. Interviews and reflection exercises are used to harvest knowledge that would otherwise remain subconscious.

Organise: Once all data has been collected, it must be analysed, grouped and translated into digestible content that is familiar with its audiences. This means communicating data as knowledge articles that are written in the company’s tone of voice.

Share: Using knowledge management software such as an intelligent knowledge base, the sharing of knowledge amongst colleagues and with other stakeholders such as customers is seamless and secure. Knowledge bases that utilise AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) ensure knowledge is fully accessible.

Evaluate: This fundamental step focuses on the constant review and monitoring of knowledge to ensure it is always accurate, up-to-date and serving its audiences effectively. Such evaluation exercises can be carried out using analytics.

A diagram showing the process flow of knowledge management

This approach can be used time and time again for the effective flow of knowledge to a range of outlets. Ensure each step is given careful attention and that none are skipped or disregarded.

Knowledge Management Software

At the heart of your knowledge management strategy is knowledge management software. It is what essentially facilitates the discipline – which would fail without such systems in place.

Most commonly businesses utilise knowledge bases that are powered by AI to act as their centralised repository of companywide knowledge. It stores all knowledge articles surrounding your company, products and services and allows knowledge executives to add, edit and update in real-time to avoid any information inconsistencies.

With a knowledge base, knowledge sharing is simplified. Whether it’s your employees, agents or customers accessing knowledge, the utilisation Natural Language Processing (NLP) ensures that the right information is always delivered.

For instance, agents who are accessing the internal-facing knowledge base begin by typing a customer query into the search bar. NLP gets to work unpicking the query, analysing the keywords, intent, grammar used and popularity, so that no matter how a query is phrased, the best results are produced.

An image showing the knowledge interface

From a customer’s perspective, a filtered version of your knowledge base can be accessed via a number of online self-service tools. When a customer requires support or needs to solve an issue, they can either navigate to a knowledge article by choosing a category or NLP will produce relevant answers based on what is entered.

For effective knowledge management software, consider:

  • Is it powered by AI and does it harness NLP?
  • Is it built with both contact centres and customers in mind?
  • Does it enable seamless integrations with other key systems?
  • Is it implemented using low-code?
  • Does it use open RESTful open APIs?

Implementation

The implementation of knowledge management software – that is from the SRS agreement to being fully up and running – does not need to be complicated or time-consuming. By choosing knowledge management software that utilises low code, depending on your business requirements, your employees and customers could be benefiting from knowledge within days or weeks. All it requires is a simple line of code that is installed on your website.

Your knowledge base seamlessly integrates with your fundamental customer service tools for the two-way sharing of knowledge. whether it’s self-service widgets , chatbots or live chat , all users can access consistent information fed from the same source.

Through its open RESTful API capabilities, an intelligent knowledge base can also connect to any key 3rd party applications that your company relies on, for example, your CRM.

An image showing how Self-Service, 3rd Party Tools and Contact Centres all integrate with Knowledge

Measurement and Maintenance

Your knowledge base’s analytical suite is how you will determine how effective your knowledge management strategy has proved in terms of achieving your overall objectives. Whether your objectives surrounded CSAT or agent efficiency, it is critical to the success of knowledge management that metrics are constantly analysed and reviewed.

Investing significant time and capital into the execution of your knowledge management strategy, only to fail at the final hurdle would be detrimental – and is why measurement is so important.

Just some knowledge analytics that are available to companies for analysis include:

  • Search results: helping you to determine the effectiveness of knowledge, revealing how many articles resolved queries and how many required further optimisation.
  • Top queries: providing an insight into customer behaviour, revealing what is being searched and whether knowledge articles were available to fulfil their requirements.
  • Triggers: demonstrating which tools have been triggered on your website and which have proved the most optimal at resolving issues.
An image that shows knowledge base and internal knowledge analytics

If you enjoyed this article and would like to more about knowledge management,t, you can read our guide here, or for advice on knowledge management software and implementation, please

Image on lady on laptop for knowledge management processes

What Is the Knowledge Management Process?

What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management, a key business function, is practised by a multitude of businesses to optimise knowledge, treating it an asset with significant monetary value attached. When implemented effectively, knowledge becomes embedded into a company’s culture so that the collection, analysis, sharing and evaluation of knowledge is second nature.

Companies that implement knowledge management understand the significant value knowledge holds when it comes to business. When we consider how fundamental intellectual property, processes and patents once stemmed from knowledge, it’s apparent why so many companies encourage the collection and sharing of knowledge.

When businesses have teams across multiple locations, knowledge becomes isolated and knowledge silos are formed. This can prove detrimental to business operations and innovation and only exacerbates as companies scale up. Knowledge management instead promotes a knowledge sharing culture which helps to tear down knowledge silos and retain important company knowledge. It also ensures that when an employee leaves a company, their tacit knowledge does not leave with them.

Further, knowledge management helps to bring new employees up to speed quickly, transforming them into experts through the knowledge that has been collected.

Businesses that implement and practice knowledge management benefit from:

  • A significant reduction to customer service support costs
  • Higher CSAT ratings
  • Efficient operations
  • Enhanced decision-making process
  • A cultural shift towards knowledge sharing
  • Empowered employees
  • Growth and innovation

What Is the Knowledge Management Process?

People, process and technology each play integral roles when it comes to implementing knowledge management. It’s crucial that your company not only has a dedicated knowledge executive, someone who manages knowledge as an asset and knowledge management as a working machine, but what is fundamental in executing the discipline is the process you follow.

Whilst every business is different and there is no cookie-cutter approach to the knowledge management process, most commonly the following structure is utilised:

  • Discovery: What existing knowledge can be collected?
  • Capture: What undocumented knowledge can be extracted
  • Organise: Is the knowledge consumable?
  • Share: Is the knowledge accessible?
  • Evaluate: How can the knowledge be optimised further?

It’s important that this process, or a variation of this process is followed for the successful deployment of knowledge management. Skipping or neglecting a step could prove detrimental to the final result.

Step 1: Discovery

Before Discovery, it is good practice to discuss knowledge management goals and objectives to provide your knowledge manager with clear direction as to what your company needs to know and what knowledge needs to be found.

Following this, the first step of the knowledge management process concerns the collection of any explicit knowledge that already exists within the company. Explicit knowledge is codified, consumable and can be easily communicated, some examples include:

  • Policies such as HR or returns policies
  • Processes such as Sales or product launch processes
  • Documents such as product specifications or supplier agreements
  • Reports such as marketing effectiveness and customer research

Due to its nature, the collection of explicit knowledge is straightforward but can take time.

Knowledge managers might discover explicit knowledge in shared company DMSs, CRMs, intranets and other records. Whilst this knowledge already exists, it is likely to be highly fragmented and therefore requires dedicated time to data-mine. Effective knowledge management software assists in semi-automating this otherwise time-consuming step.

Step 2: Capture

The Capture stage of the knowledge management process is responsible for extracting and capturing any tacit knowledge that exists within the company. Unlike explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge is generally difficult to identify, articulate and remains below the surface.

Tacit knowledge is learnt over many years, is usually utilised subconsciously and resides within the minds of senior employees, often becoming second nature to them. Because tacit knowledge is not easily communicated, specialist skills and methods are used in order to extract this incredibly valuable type of knowledge. Such methods include:

  • Observation
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Retrospect (reflection meetings that take place after the completion of a project)
  • Knowledge harvesting (often involving senior employees)

Once tacit knowledge, for example, expert opinions on competitors or salesperson intuition on customer behaviours has been captured, it is the role of the knowledge manager to transform it into a digestible form.

Step 3: Organise

The purpose of knowledge management is to embed, share and teach knowledge to relevant audiences, therefore it is paramount that the knowledge itself is presented in a comprehensive yet simple and digestible way.

This means that your knowledge executive must translate the tacit data collected into consumable knowledge.

Deep analysis and skill are required to collect, unpick, combine and rebuild tacit knowledge into comprehendible articles that match the company’s tone of voice and the entity in which the user is searching for.

Most businesses use knowledge base technology to simplify this process, ensuring control and organisation whilst knowledge is imported to one centralised repository.

Knowledge base providers that utilise Natural Language Processing (NLP), can even advise knowledge managers, flagging poorly structured titles and offering recommendation to improve them.

Step 4: Share

This stage is particularly important to knowledge management, it is what makes knowledge accessible and available to the right people at the right time, whether it’s:

  • Internally for employees searching for critical documents, acting as a central knowledge library
  • Externally for customers in the form of self-service software , using a filtered view they can access relevant articles

The most effective way to share knowledge throughout a company is through a knowledge base. Once articles are imported, they can easily be updated, reviewed or added to using the straightforward editor. Any changes are reflected in real-time to ensure information consistency and accuracy, no matter how or who is viewing it.

Built on AI and harnessing NLP, intelligent knowledge base technology, users have access to results fast. By unpicking sentence structure and analysing each word, NLP can comprehend what a user is asking regardless of how they have asked it. Such knowledge bases offer article recommendations on every keypress to further boost efficiency.

Users can also navigate to knowledge articles using categories, sub-categories, filtered views and favourites tabs.

Step 5: Evaluate

The final stage of the knowledge management process is one that should be continuously carried out. It is responsible for ensuring that the knowledge stored and distributed is proving effective to its audiences. Without this step your knowledge becomes stagnant and knowledge management has no space to optimise.

For constant operational and knowledge improvements, your knowledge base analytics should measure:

  • Search result metrics:analytics that demonstrate the effectiveness of articles based on resolved queries, subsequently revealing the effectiveness of your knowledge base
  • Top query metrics: these provide key insights into customer trends and requirements, revealing where any content gaps are and areas for optimisation
  • Trigger metrics: these metrics show where certain tools trigger on your website, revealing effectiveness and how customers are interacting with your brand
An image that shows knowledge base and internal knowledge analytics

Facilitating Knowledge Management Through Software

Whilst people and process are fundamental to the implementation of knowledge management, without effective software in place the facilitation of the discipline would not be possible.

Most commonly a knowledge base is utilised to store, share and measure the effectiveness of your companywide knowledge, from HR policies to product troubleshooting videos. It acts as the nucleus of knowledge management and feeds all key business and customer service tools. This means that the internal knowledge base your agents use will produce the same articles as the self-service tools that your customers use, regardless of the way a query is phrased. It ensures consistency.

For smooth implementation and reliable maintenance of knowledge, look for software that:

  • Is powered using AI: This ensures your knowledge base is intuitive, delivering the fastest, most relevant results possible.
  • Harnesses powerful Natural Language Processing: Critical to CSAT and agent efficiency, NLP understands what is being asks and can therefore deliver the best answers.
  • Is built with the contact centre in mind: The knowledge base’s agent interface includes features such as AI-predictive suggestions and integrated knowledge to save operational costs.
  • Is built with customer experience in mind: Customer facing tools such as self-service offer intelligent search and categories, as well as escalation to agent-assisted channels if necessary.
  • Includes seamless integrations: Connect with self-service tools, chatbots and live chat channels for consistent knowledge sharing.
  • Is implemented through low-code: With low-code implementation, knowledge management as a functional discipline can be up and running quickly.
  • Uses open RESTful APIs: In order to connect to your key 3rd party applications such as CRMs or email management tools.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about knowledge management, you can read our guide here. Or if you would like any advice about knowledge management software or the process, please

Image of lady on Laptop using Knowledge for Teams

Essential Knowledge Management Tools

What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is a discipline utilised by businesses to optimise knowledge and the way in which it is treated. It concerns the extraction, collection, analysis, sharing and development of companywide data to promote operational efficiency and enrich both customer and employee experience.

By embedding knowledge management into a company, a knowledge sharing culture is created whereby knowledge is perceived as an asset that has a monetary value attached. Companies who effectively implement knowledge management experience:

  • A significant reduction to customer service support costs
  • Higher CSAT ratings
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Greater accuracy and consistency of information
  • Faster, more informed decision making
  • Enhanced CX
  • Empowered employees

It’s important for businesses to stay on top of knowledge management if they want to remain competitive, satisfy their stakeholders and avoid stagnancy.

For successful implementation, companies must utilise a variety of intelligent knowledge management tools, with the more important being a knowledge base.

The Importance of a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is ultimately what facilities knowledge management within any organisation. Without this essential knowledge management tool, knowledge sharing both internally and externally would prove ineffective, inaccurate, and cumbersome.

A knowledge base works as your company’s centralised repository of knowledge, containing everything from product specifications to brand guidelines and support tutorials to returns policies. Its purpose is to make the right information accessible to the right people at the right time, this could be employees, agents or customers.

As your sole source of knowledge, the risk of inconsistent or inaccurate information being distributed is significantly reduced. Your knowledge base powers all your key customer service and knowledge management tools, feeding them with accurate and up-to-date information. This contributes positively to CSAT and mitigates the chances of brand reputation being damaged.

A knowledge base helps to improve efficiency companywide. Not only does it integrate seamlessly with all your key business and customer service tools enabling smooth, 2-way knowledge sharing, but it tears down knowledge silos. Knowledge otherwise kept within teams or locations is stored in one place for all to benefit from. Now equipped with more, richer knowledge, decision making at both an operational and strategic level is optimal.

Further, as Sir Francis Bacon said, “knowledge is power” – it is an asset and the more you harness it the more competitive you become.

At the core of any effective knowledge management strategy is a knowledge base, the function cannot be successfully implemented without this powerful tool.

What Are Knowledge Management Tools?

In addition to your knowledge base, other knowledge management tools that involve customer relationships and analytics can help to improve operational efficiency. With the knowledge base at the centre of knowledge management, other 3rd party applications such as CRMs and analytical tools increase cohesion across your entire technology stack.

Intelligent Knowledge Bases

Built on AI and harnessing powerful Natural Language Processing (NLP), an intelligent knowledge base is the nucleus of knowledge management. It stores and shares valuable information using AI, intelligent search systems and filters to ensure the correct knowledge is served to the correct audience.

Its editor system allows knowledge articles to be added, updated, edited and linked to one another with ease, all reflecting in real-time to ensure the consistent distribution of answers. Not only is it easy to maintain, but users can also find what they’re looking for through categories, views and the system’s sophisticated NLP.

Integral to CSAT

An intelligent knowledge base’s NLP helps customers find quick and relevant answers through the customer-facing tools they interact with, positively contributing to CSAT. Self-service and chatbot applications for example that integrate with your knowledge base utilise NLP to understand the context and intent behind customer queries. By unpicking sentence structure and analysing keywords, intent, grammar and popularity, relevant results can be delivered regardless of how a query is phrased. This allows a large proportion of routine queries to be solved simultaneously and at scale using AI, removing the need for an agent and providing a smooth customer journey.

Essential to Agent Efficiency

For the contact centre, an intelligent knowledge base is essential when it comes to agent efficiency. With all information intuitively available at agents’ fingertips, they do not have to toggle between windows and resources to find the right knowledge articles. The result of which means that more customers can be served, reducing Average Handling Times (AHT) by 40%. Additionally, knowledge bases that harness Natural language processing (NLP) are shown to consistently deliver accurate information to the agent, increasing First Contact Resolution (FCR).

Your knowledge base helps to reduce training times, up to 30% in some cases. Less time and fewer costs are spent on onboarding and training as the knowledge required to train new user has already been extracted and stored in the knowledge base. The provision of your knowledge base ensures that starters don’t have to know an answer to a query or process in your contact centre, but only to know how to find that information.

An image to indicate the different in training times using Synthetix Vs not using Synthetix

Customer Relationship Management

Your CRM plays an important role in knowledge management, in particular complementing your knowledge base. Whilst a CRM’s purpose surrounds maintaining customer relationships, it acts as a repository of customer information which is valuable in informing knowledge creation.

The vast data that is captured inside you CRM – everything from demographics to buying patterns, pain points and objections – is highly valuable for decision making but would not be stored in your knowledge base, similar to how articles would not be stored in your CRM.

Analytical Tools

Analytical tools, those that capture, collect and present metrics surrounding knowledge management are imperative to continual operational improvement and knowledge optimisation.

Not only can these metrics tell you how effective knowledge management is proving in relation to serving customers, but it also reveals any content gaps or roadblocks in existing knowledge articles. Specially curated graphs and charts provide insight into how many queries were successfully answered and how many were not, revealing areas for improvement.

Top search query analytics help not only give provide insight into customers’ search behaviour but also help to influence decision making in other areas of business such as product development. If there are patterns in what customers are asking for, this may reveal their current motivations and requirements, ultimately giving you a competitive advantage.

An image that shows knowledge base and internal knowledge analytics

Effective knowledge base software will have a comprehensive analytics suite integrated into the product itself, working seamlessly to provide insights.

Integrating Your Knowledge Management Tools

To further optimise the power of your intelligent knowledge base, integrate it with key business and customer service tools. Effective knowledge bases ensure the seamless integration between other customer service tools such as self-servicechatbots and live chat to facilitate 2-way knowledge sharing. They also utilise open RESTful APIs to connect with key 3rd party applications such as your CRM and email management software.

Such knowledge management integrations allow:

  • Customers access to relevant knowledge through self-service tools
  • Agents to efficiently answer customer queries with knowledge at their fingertips
  • Chatbots to guide customers through their journey whilst answering their routine questions
  • Agents to see what a customer is typing via live chat, recommending articles on each keypress
  • Customer information to be added and updated automatically in your CRM
  • Email and automation to be triggered based on customer interactions

If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about knowledge management, you can read our guide here. Or, if you would like any help implementing knowledge management tools, please

Knowledge Management Systems: The 2021 Buyer’s Guide

A knowledge management systems buyers guide

Commercial Considerations

Has the Vendor Presented A Business Case?

Before any commitments are made, you and your colleagues must be confident in the knowledge management system you select. Does the ROI presented in the vendor’s forecast align with your business’ expectation of payback and long term financial uplift?

You need to know the answers to such questions pre-purchase, so ensure your vendor provides a business plan outlining the cost/benefit of deployment. This should include a projected ROI that is mapped to an implementation and post-launch timeline, used as a framework to understand your payback period. Ask vendors in your selection process to provide this framework from their previous deployments.

Does the Vendor Meet Your Customer Support Requirements?

Firstly, discuss what level of customer support you require as a company, taking into consideration that your CX delivery works at the speed of your slowest channel. If your knowledge management system support is only active at certain times of the week or day, you can only truly guarantee service during these times.

Vendors offer multiple levels of customer support from critical only, to standard office hours to weekend and evening cover. Discuss your support needs with your prospective vendor, ensuring that the terms of support, including hours, are covered contractually in the SRS.

Has the Vendor Offered Flexible A Commercial Model That Aligns with Your Needs?

Each company will have a preferred way of purchasing its knowledge management system.

The first step in understanding your own commercial needs concerning CX is considering these questions:

  • Are your levels of customer contact consistent or is there a significant seasonal variance?
  • Are you planning on scaling operations? Or do you wish to optimise your operations with a set team size?
  • Do you have existing contractual relationships that you wish to align your CX expenses with?

These considerations play a key role in determining your commercial needs, once you have the answers to these questions you can source a vendor that will match your requirements. If you are unsure about the answers to these questions, please get in touch ; we’re happy to walk you through them.

Technical Considerations

Does the System Utilise AI And NLP?

Choosing knowledge management systems that harness AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) is inherent to your CX and CSAT scores. AI is responsible for matching customer queries with relevant results, eliminating any roadblocks that could lead to frustration and poor CX, so you need to ensure your knowledge management system uses modern machine learning principles, not an outdated keyword matching model.

NLP helps to ensure the precision and efficiency of results delivered. It understands human utterance by breaking down the query into:

  • Keywords
  • Intent
  • Grammar
  • Popularity

Each component is then analysed to determine the most suitable result. Due to its intricacy, NLP understands not only naturally phrased questions, but multiple variations of the same query without producing “I’m sorry, I don’t understand that question. Please try again” – which customers experience too often when using systems that are not built on AI.

An images to represent the 4 layers of Natural Language Processing: search keywords, intent, grammar and popularity.

Does the System Have Low-Code Integration Capabilities?

There is no reason why the deployment of your knowledge management system should be complicated. Having your system up and running across your site shouldn’t require hours of developer work or toolkit configuration, by selecting systems that provide low-code implementation, setup is simple.

With low-code vendors, integrating the knowledge management system requires only one line of code to be installed. The main benefit here includes efficiency; low-code deployment allows customer-facing tools that rely on your knowledge management system, such as self-service and chatbots to be functional as soon as possible, allowing more customers to be served online.

Can the System Easily Integrate With 3rd Party Applications?

Your knowledge management system should fit in with any existing processes, workflows and 3rd party applications that you and other departments use. Choose a system that offers open RESTful APIs for seamless integration with other apps.

Operational efficiency skyrockets when integrations are facilitated between knowledge management systems and apps that are heavily relied on by teams, such as:

  • CRM Systems
  • Email Systems
  • In-Store Systems

These integrations encourage knowledge sharing across the company, contributing to critical operational and strategic decision making whilst boosting your competitive advantage.

Usability Considerations

Is the System’s UI Easy to Use?

The importance of UI cannot be understated. It is something your agents will interface with all day, every day. As a result, subtle design plays a huge role in agent efficiency. GUIs designed with quality of life and ease of use as a central principle, then refined through iterative testing, pull vastly ahead of systems build by engineers. When UI are cumbersome or over-complicated, editor and agent time is unnecessarily spent trying to navigate the functions.

Keeping it simple is key.

  • Does the agent interface offer a simple search function for finding all knowledge articles your company requires?
  • Does the editor interface enable the simple adding and editing of articles through step-by-step navigation?
  • Can key functionalities be accessed through the UI, for example, integrated chat console, knowledge analytics and user stats?
  • Remember who the users are and consider these points when choosing a knowledge management system.

Does the System Include Features That Encourage Collaboration?

Equipping agents with collaborative capabilities can only improve the efficiency and depth of knowledge. Choose a knowledge management system that includes internal messaging; allowing agents to share useful articles with one another.

Further, select a system that enables agents to suggest edits or highlight gaps within knowledge articles. These users spend the most time talking to customers and therefore should be given the tools to share their insights.

Is the System Centralised for All Teams to Use?

Having one centralised knowledge management system that stores all company knowledge in one place is vital. It enables the consistent and accurate sharing of information to customers and across departments – without one centralised source, you risk distributing inaccurate information internally and externally.

Companies face issues when their knowledge is fragmented; each team has its own knowledge management system and each customer service tool relies on its own system too. The subsequent inconsistencies and inaccuracies of information shared is problematic.

For reliability and consistency, choose a system that acts as your company’s centralised source of knowledge – one that includes all teams and integrates with all tools, including live chat , self-servicechatbots and agent knowledge interfaces.

Is the System’s Hosting GDPR Compliant?

Ensure the vendor you choose to work with is GDPR compliant, particularly if they are collecting and storing customer data.

Does the System Offer Detailed Knowledge Analytics?

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Ensure your knowledge management system offers comprehensive analytics. Working with the metrics in mind contributes to the constant improvement of knowledge management within your company and ultimately deliver customers better results over time.

Systems that allow you to toggle between views and tools, that offer you metrics on top-performing articles and categories plus user analytics can assist in improving operational efficiency.

Does the System Include A Customer Feedback Loop?

Do you know that your knowledge system is working as intended and that the content it is distributing is proving effective? Receiving customer feedback regarding the information that is accessed by customers and user is vital in understanding this. It can bring to light any issues or gaps with the information served, equally, it can validate if results were adequate. Work scientifically, falsify ideas and work with knowledge management vendors who appreciates this principle.

Ensure the knowledge management system you choose has customer feedback capabilities built-in. By asking customers “Did this answer your question?” and linking the responses to the system’s centralised analytics section, Knowledge Managers can evaluate article effectiveness, making decisions based on the user-generated data for optimal results.


 If you enjoyed this knowledge management system buyer’s guide and would like to work with a vendor who understands your commercial, technical and usability requirement, please get in touch with Synthetix today.

What Is FAQ Software?

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An Introduction to FAQ Software

FAQs, frequently asked questions are simply that – the routine queries that are asked multiple times a day, every day by your customers. They involve your company, products and services and include queries such as:

Having access to FAQs is vital to CX, today 67% of customers want to resolve their own queries through the power of self-service. This is why including a form of FAQ tool on your website is paramount. It enhances the customer journey by providing quick, convenient, 24/7 access to answers – which reflects positively in CSAT.

FAQ software facilitates this self-service. It lets your customers help themselves by providing a library of answers and search function that when engaged with, delivers the most relevant results.

Depending on your business size and requirements, a simple FAQ page might suffice for the most basic of self-service needs. However, for most companies, an excellent level of customer service and CX is essential and therefore such a solution would not be adequate. Instead, they opt for a more sophisticated AI-powered FAQ tool that can effectively provide customers with the answers they require through Natural Language Processing (NLP).

In addition to serving customers, FAQ software proves particularly advantageous to customer service contact centre teams. FAQ tools that utilise NLP enable the mass automation of routine queries and tasks that would otherwise be handled by agents. Not only does redirecting this type of query to an FAQ tool prove effective in reducing operational costs and staffing overheads, but it allows agents to dedicate more time to queries that are complex by nature. This contributes positively to CSAT.

FAQ software can do far more than simply answering a question, it helps customers get to where they need to be through escalation and from an internal perspective, acting as one centralised source of knowledge, empowers entire companies with the data it produces.

Types of FAQ Software

Basic FAQ Page Solutions

This type of FAQ solution is presented as a static FAQ page whereby users can type a question into a search bar and if there is an exact match, an answer that has been configured will show.

Whilst this might appear to be the best-for-value option, in the long run, it is likely to end up costing you more.

The content that is included on an FAQ page is based off opinion opposed to fact as a lack of data surrounding knowledge article popularity results in simple guesswork. What this means is that your FAQs aren’t FAQs, rather what someone believes them to be – which of course is problematic, creating a gap between you and your customers.

FAQ pages include a simple interface that is usually built with basic code, this means that making even a small edit involves many developer hours and before this, a long chain of command. The management of an FAQ page is therefore cumbersome, and often an inefficient use of many employees’ time.

Further, its basic setup restricts knowledge sharing and can increase the likelihood of errors occurring. Because an FAQ page is not the centralised source of knowledge, nor can it integrate with one, edits and changes cannot occur automatically. This results in many little updates that increase the chances of information inconsistencies and inaccuracies across the company.

Basic FAQ Tools

Basic FAQ tools have a similar structure to the FAQ page discussed – the only difference is that they can be presented in a variety of ways. Unlike the basic FAQ page solution, which is restricted to a static HTML page, basic FAQ tool solutions can take the form of a widget or pop-up. This is usually configured to show on certain pages and pop-up after a given amount of time.

Whilst this solution offers some flexibility in terms of presentation, its setup is basic and search functionality is limited. Its lack of AI and NLP utilisation removes any human-like understanding from the tool, so unless an exact keyword match is entered, results will not be triggered or therefore displayed to the customer. The effect of which takes a toll on CX as customers cannot find answers to their simple questions, often being told: “No results found.”

Poor FAQ Tools 

Effective FAQ Tool 

For these customers, their journey is cut short with no follow-up questions asked or channel escalation offered.

Intelligent FAQ Software

The solution for companies who want to:

  • Provide optimal CX
  • Ensure excellent customer service
  • Enhance CSAT
  • Have greater control over knowledge sharing, data and integrations

Far more advanced than the basic FAQ solutions previously discussed, intelligent FAQ software is the core of all company knowledge. Its role is fundamental, playing a key part in the overall customer service ecosystem and enhancing operations beyond the capabilities of other solutions.

An image that shows how a knowledge base is integral to other customer service and internal tools.

Intelligent FAQ software  is built on AI and stores all company information – from internal documents suitable for employees only to FAQs and product information, fit for customer consumption.

Knowledge base FAQ systems fundamentally instruct your FAQs. They track what customers actually ask most frequently; not relying on what you assume to be your top FAQs as other tools or static HTML FAQs do. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so knowledge base analytics unlock a completely new dimension of CX delivery.

It is your centralised hub of knowledge, feeding any tool that relies on company information. It means that the answers your chatbot or self-service widget deliver to your customers are using the same source as the agent who is operating live chat is also referring to. This ensures complete consistency across all channels and reduces the risk associated with serving inaccurate information.

Your intelligent FAQ knowledge base can seamlessly integrate with:

  • Internal tools such as agent knowledge that assists in answering customers’ questions
  • Customer-facing tools that facilitate online self-service
  • 3rd party applications such as CRM or email management tools

An FAQ knowledge base utilises NLP to better ‘understand’ customer queries, taking into consideration the many ways in which a question can be asked. NLP breaks down each query into keywords, intent, grammar and popularity, analysing each component to produce the most relevant results, encouraging CSAT. If the query is non-routine and complex by nature, escalation to an agent-assisted channel is offered where a human can intervene.

An images to represent the 4 layers of Natural Language Processing: search keywords, intent, grammar and popularity.

Unlike the basic FAQ software options, an FAQ knowledge base turns knowledge into an asset for your company. By collecting and organising useful data, teams can learn from customer behaviour patterns, companies can optimise articles and operations can become more efficient. 

Because knowledge bases utilise Machine Learning (ML) principles they can even recognise patterns in customer preferences, language and grammar, storing such intel and using it for improved future interactions.

Every business and its requirements for FAQ software is different, but before beginning your software selection process, ensure you have outlined exactly what you need from it. For small start-ups with very basic needs, a simple FAQ page may suffice. But for companies that are focused on maximising customer service, they should consider intelligent FAQ software that supports customers and empowers employees. 


If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about knowledge management, you can read our guide here or if you’d like help with any organisational needs, please

Why an FAQ Page Is Not A Substitute for A Knowledge Base

There are two key approaches that companies take to facilitate this. They include an FAQ page or a knowledge base.

But how do they differ?

FAQ Pages

Insufficient Data Leads to Insufficient FAQs

Generally presented on a static web page, FAQs are simply a list of frequently asked questions and answers. They aim to cover and address customers’ routine questions online and effortlessly, but unfortunately often miss the mark. Due to the lack of knowledge analytics, the frequently asked questions and answers that are included on such a page are usually based off gut or opinion rather than data itself. Because there is no data stored regarding popularity of routine questions, many companies don’t truly know their FAQs and rely on guesswork. Consequently, the FAQ content is often lacking, limited or general, resulting in customers feeling frustrated – which in customer service is exactly what you want to avoid.

An image that shows the lack of information available on an FAQ page.

Lack of Ownership Results in Inefficiencies

When it comes to the management of an FAQ page, editing, adding and updating can prove cumbersome. Built using basic code, even making one simple update to the content can involve a long chain of command. For instance, someone at head office notifies their team who must tell the web team or agency, who must then notify the developers to make a change. This inefficient way of information sharing means that mistakes are easily made or customers miss out on vital information due to FAQ page mechanics. This is only exacerbated in larger companies where small changes are not made ad-hoc, but instead they are collected and sent in bulk, denying customers of even more important information.

Information Architecture: The Lack Thereof

FAQs page do not utilise information architecture: the structural design of shared information for efficient user experience. Without the organisation, labelling, categorisation and lack of effective search systems, FAQs cannot deliver a positive customer experience. Instead, customers often find themselves going around in circles with no adequate results found and a limited access to content.

Existing Customers’ Needs Are Not Catered To

Furthermore, the content on FAQ pages generally address the basic queries of new customers, for example opening hours, delivery information, returns policies and so on. What they fail to cater to are the needs of your regular customers who will have more detailed routine queries. Questions that are product related, how-tos and purchase follow ups. Whilst customer acquisition is important, neglecting existing customers can prove detrimental to business. Consider the importance of customer value and loyalty and choose a knowledge tool that suits both new and existing customers’ needs.

Knowledge Bases

A knowledge base on the other hand acts as your company’s centralised library of knowledge, connecting to all outlets to provide customers with a wide range of accurate, consistent answers.

An image that shows how a knowledge base is integral to other customer service and internal tools.

Ownership Allows for Efficient, Real-time Knowledge Updates

A knowledge base is a fundamental knowledge management tool that is overseen by a Knowledge Manager to ensure the right information can be found by the right people at the right time. It can store thousands of knowledge articles containing key questions and answers, multimedia and downloads. The content residing in a knowledge base can be developed, updated and edited in real-time, these changes are instantly reflected on your website and any internal users are notified to promote transparency. Such knowledge is intricately organised using multi-layered algorithms, Natural Language Processing (NLP), categories and advanced search systems to ensure customers are served adequate results regardless of how a query is phrased.

Knowledge Analytics Reveal Your Most Popular Questions and More

Because knowledge bases are built on AI, every customer interaction is stored as data and can be interpreted using its analytics. This is how knowledge becomes a true asset, providing valuable intel on customer behaviour, product and services, errors, bugs and of course, what a company’s most frequently asked questions are.

One Centralised Source Promotes Company-wide Consistency

Companies that implement knowledge base software benefit from operational efficiency. Because all knowledge belongs to one single source, the risk of error is significantly reduced. There is no long chain of command as a Knowledge Manager who is committed to optimising knowledge will amend content whenever is necessary. A knowledge base’s agility allows it to integrate with every customer facing and internal portal your company has, whether its live chatweb self-service , chatbot or internal knowledge , the results generated come from the same source every time for consistency and quality.

All Customer Types Are Served Through A Range of Tools

Unlike the static web page that FAQs are hosted on, a knowledge base gives companies choices as to how to present knowledge to their customers, including:

A self-service pop-up

A self-service widget

A self-service page

A chatbot

An icon for Synthetix Chat product

Live Chat

A combination or all of the above

This allows a greater volume of customers with different needs, at different stages of the buying cycle and with different query types to be catered to, enhancing CX, the likelihood that the query is resolved and therefore positive CSAT scores.

The key differences between a KB and FAQ page

Knowledge BaseFAQ page
Artificial intelligence:
AI and NLP are utilised to enable First Contact Resolution and therefore reduce overall costs.
Knowledge analytics:
Knowledge analytics are available to provide intel on knowledge content, customer behaviour, errors and more.
Ownership:
A dedicated Knowledge Manager has full ownership to ensure smooth and efficient operations.
Consistent knowledge:
One centralised source of information is used, allowing for consistent company-wide knowledge sharing.
Information Architecture:
Information is organised using search systems, categorisation and labelling to help users find the information they require.
Focus on new and existing customers:
Knowledge can be presented in a variety of ways to serve customers at different buyer stages.

Impact on Consistency of Information

A key difference between FAQs and a knowledge base involves the consistency of information that is delivered to customers. The processes behind an FAQ page are inefficient and different sources of information are updated at different times leading to discrepancies which can prove detrimental for companies.

A small information divergence is annoying for customers, proving time wasting as they must take care of problem solving and discrepancies by themselves, this in turn can affect customer satisfaction resulting in poor CSAT scores.

However, what is more damaging for a brand is when a major update is not cohesive across channels and therefore the FAQ page is not changed in a timely manner. Inconsistencies in major delivery updates or critical allergy announcements can not only result in influxes of complaints that lead to a bad reputation, but more seriously, PR nightmares, legal complications and at worst, someone is hurt.

It is crucial for business that the information served to customers if always consistent, up-to-date and accurate. All of this can be guaranteed using knowledge base software. Because all information outlets, such as self-service pages, chatbots and live chat tools get their information from one centralised source – the knowledge base – the risk of inconsistencies are significantly reduced encouraging smoother operations and happier customers.

Impact on Operational Efficiency

Another fundamental difference between FAQs and a knowledge base includes operational efficiency, in particular operational costs and overheads.

Knowledge bases are significantly more cost efficient to run than FAQ pages, this is because the updating of an FAQ page requires a long chain of command, multiple people and teams, plus several layers of signoffs. This equates to an accumulation of high staffing costs. A knowledge base on the other hand, is managed, maintained and updated by one Knowledge Manager, removing all operational costs that would otherwise be associated with an FAQ page’s operations.

When it comes to running an FAQ page VS running a knowledge base, an FAQ page is considerably more expensive. The larger your company is, the larger the cost gap will grow.

Due to a knowledge base’s depth of answers available and the agile AI-powered search system that customers use to retrieve results, contact levels are significantly reduced, which subsequently cuts overall customer service and contact centre costs. In fact, a study by Gartner revealed that an 18% reduction in support costs occurred by encouraging knowledge management tools such as a knowledge base. Because a knowledge base has the capability to automate routine queries – giving customers the tools they need to answer their own questions online – agent assisted channels are given more capacity. These expensive contact channels like email or telephone now have a greater bandwidth to deal with customer issues that are more complex and require human assistance.

FAQ pages, in comparison, seldom provide customers with the answers they need, due to their simple setup, that unlike knowledge bases, are not built on AI or utilise NLP, they can never truly be a self-service tool. Instead they often send customers round in loops whereby customers’ frustrations only grow before inevitably having to call customer service to solve their problem. Their customer query has not been automated, high costs still occur and the customer is now annoyed.

While it’s easy to get FAQs and a knowledge bases mixed up, the two are intricately different from one another. One includes a simple overview of basic information, whilst the other is an effective means to streamlined self-service. Most importantly, an FAQ page cannot be a substitute for a knowledge base.

Implementing a knowledge base into your customer service ecosystem helps to promote efficiency, reduce overheads, boost CX and of course improve CSAT scores. If you would like to learn more about knowledge management tools such as knowledge bases, you can do so here.


If you enjoyed this article and would like any advice regarding knowledge base solutions, please

What Is Knowledge Management?

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“If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.” -Lewis Platt

What Is Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is a practice used by a variety of companies to optimise their collective knowledge and the way is it used. It focuses on the process of identifying, capturing, organising, sharing and managing company knowledge.
Knowledge comes in many forms and can include:

  • Data
  • Information
  • Experience
  • Ideas
  • Perspectives

In recent decades, a shift in digitisation saw a greater demand for knowledge management; organisations learnt that the controlled and optimised sharing of knowledge could contribute to achieving operational and strategic objectives.

As a key function, it is responsible for integrating people, processes and knowledge management tools and technologies to encourage the seamless flow of knowledge throughout a company. Knowledge management considers knowledge as an asset and can reshape business culture into one that is collaborate, transparent and promotes knowledge sharing. 

The practice of knowledge management extends far beyond intranets and databases and helps businesses deal with both explicit and tactic knowledge.

Let’s discuss the differences:

Explicit Knowledge

This is the codified knowledge that can be found in company databases, documents, records and files. It is essential to business and simple to extract and share. Examples include policy documents or agent scripts.

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is difficult to communicate and therefore hard to capture and share. It is usually derived from experience and practice and is unique to a business – which is why it is so valuable.

Tactic knowledge requires good knowledge management that handles it with great care, ensuring that nothing gets lost in translation.

What Is Knowledge Management Software?

One of the greatest challenges when it comes to knowledge management is knowing how to execute it. The best way to do this is by implementing knowledge management software that can help you deliver your knowledge management strategy successfully.

Another prominent challenge that businesses find is getting employees to embrace the discipline. Just like any new practice or change within the workplace there will always be some uncertainty. How do you overcome this? By making it easy for your employees to embrace – which is where good knowledge management software comes in.

Knowledge management software helps businesses simplify the knowledge management process by organising, storing and sharing knowledge in a sophisticated yet user-friendly way.

Knowledge Base for example, is a popular knowledge management tool that acts like a library of knowledge that can be accessed by your company and developed whenever is necessary.

Such knowledge management software can hold thousands of articles of knowledge. They are engineered using advanced search algorithms, categorisation and views to help companies save time and organise knowledge in a digestible way.

Machine learning principles and Natural Language Processing (NLP) make finding answers simple. An employee can type a question into the search bar and a series of relevant results will be displayed. A knowledge base will learn over time based on user interaction and results to optimise the answers given. These results can easily be edited, developed and shared to assist the successful execution of knowledge management.

Employees become advocates of such software, not only is everything available at the click of a button, all in one place, but they are given the freedom to learn and retain crucial knowledge before it is potentially lost with employees that leave a company.

Find out how to effectively roll-out internal knowledge base software, here.

What to Look for in Knowledge Management Software

Any good knowledge management strategy is centred around effective knowledge management software
But what should you look for in knowledge management software?

Implementation and Integration

Effective knowledge management software integrates seamlessly into an existing ecosystem of products.

The knowledge platform should fit in with current processes, workflows and other knowledge and customer service software, such as:

  • Internally-facing applications that gives your team access to your company’s wider information, assisting them when talking to customers. This allows agents to quickly pull answers from one reliable, centralised source resulting in an improvement in First Contact Resolution (FCR) and Average Handling Times (AHT).
  • Customer self-service software, helping customers answer their own questions online. This reduces the overall number of inbound contacts for contact centres to process.

To integrate with 3rd party systems such as email management tools or CRMs, knowledge management software should be built on open RESTful APIs. This ensures compatibility with most 3rd parties, providing you with a full, ‘360 degree’ implementation of shared knowledge into your organisation and holistic analytics.

A diagram that demonstrates the integration between a knowledge base, agent knowledge, self-service and CRM software.

User-friendly Interface

Consider software that offers a practical agent desktop or web interface for you to choose from. Software that includes user-friendly features such as note-taking, categories, views, internal tabs for quick viewing and customisable interfaces can help employees navigate software better, giving them the right knowledge quickly.

Such knowledge management tools can increase agent efficiency, offering relevant answers and optimising the time and accuracy needed to resolve customer queries.

An image to show knowledge management software interface.

Natural Language Processing

Knowledge management software that uses natural language processing (NLP) and AI-powered machine learning principles can enhance the quality of the answer that is delivered to the user (whether that’s an employee or customer).

Choose software that understands naturally phrased questions, can learn and uses search intent; taking into consideration the keyword, intent, grammar and popularity of the question to deliver the most relevant result.

Analytics

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Without comprehensive analytics, companies are working in the dark, blind to the effectiveness of the content in their knowledge base. Reporting and analytics suites help businesses learn and develop their knowledge management and should be central to any knowledge management product. Popular queries can be pulled to develop content around, whilst agent performance reports can be produced to measure efficiency.

Why Is Knowledge Management Important?

Knowledge Management concentrates on what is known and not documented. An approach that can help enhance company culture, remove siloed knowledge and by doing so, increase organisational efficiency.

We have significantly more knowledge stored in our brains than we do written down. All too often this becomes a problem for businesses when their long-term employees leave – their knowledge leaves with them. Years of accumulated tacit knowledge is lost just like that. Recovering and reteaching such unique knowledge proves incredibly time-consuming, costly and often impossible.

Another risk that companies face by not adopting knowledge management, involves knowledge silos. In a time when flexi and remote working is becoming the new norm and teams are often dispersed across locations, there comes a lack of sharing and collaborative culture – and this is how knowledge silos are formed. Knowledge management aims to eliminate knowledge silos within organisations so that information is accessible to the right people whenever they require it.

Unless it is encouraged, teams don’t always communicate. If the value of knowledge sharing is clear to employees and knowledge can be seen as an asset, then it will eventually become part of the culture.

Without knowledge management your company could miss a lot of invaluable, irreplaceable knowledge, resulting in wasted resources, high costs and frustrated employees and customers. It’s all about knowing what your business needs to know and making this available to the right people in the best way for them.

Benefits of Good Knowledge Management

How can knowledge management benefit your company and customers?

Improved Efficiency

One of the biggest impacts on business when it comes to knowledge management, is improved efficiency – particularly at an operational level.

Organised, accessible and digestible knowledge makes for faster decision making and therefore less time spent dealing with routine questions. The impact of this can be seen on the bottom line – a study by Gartner revealed that an 18% reduction in support costs occurred by encouraging knowledge management.Knowledge management means no more waiting around for that email response from HR, which you will then have to reply to a couple of times before eventually reaching an answer. It also results in significantly less time spent training and onboarding new employees, on average a 30% reduction in agent training times. This is because the internal knowledge that has already been captured and stored is permanently available for future starters at any time.

Customers can benefit from your knowledge management too, existing in the context of self-service, customers no longer need to wait for the answer to a FAQ, they can solve it themselves using the knowledge stored in your knowledge base.

Greater Accuracy

It’s perfectly normal for humans to make mistakes, but without knowledge management, companies run the risk of the same mistakes happening time and time again, whether it’s years apart or in different departments. The beauty of knowledge management is that resolutions can be stored and made available to prevent this from happening.

Knowledge management also allows for consistent information to be shared which is particularly important if you are communicating with customers. Providing inaccurate, inconsistent information to customers can prove problematic but easily avoided through knowledge management. All it takes is a simple search using a knowledge management tool and standardised company information and policies are available to consult.

Empowered Employees

Employees just want to do their jobs. So, when obstacles are put in the way of them fulfilling their tasks, such as lack of information or delays waiting for access to information, it can become incredibly frustrating for them.

In fact, a recent study revealed that 51% of participants felt frustrated at the inability to access a former colleague’s institutional knowledge, while 25% said they were overwhelmed. The impact of which can include low staff morale, subsequently affecting productivity.

Making knowledge available to agents who need it or wish to learn more can empower them. When given quick, easy access to the right information, without having to ask permission first can boost productivity and staff retention.

Customer-facing knowledge management tools, otherwise known as web self-service automate routine questions, removing the mundane from agents’ roles. As a result they can deal with more complex customer issues, promoting staff morale.

Satisfied Customers

The internal benefits your company experiences from adopting knowledge management can positively impact your customers too, enhancing the service and experience you provide them.

When knowledge is optimised effectively companywide, stored and shared in a knowledge management tool such as a knowledge base, customers can benefit from quick access to information such as return policies, how-to guides or troubleshooting videos.

20%

Did you know that 20% of routine questions can be handled online using knowledge management tools?

Source: Synthetix research
Self-service software integrates with your company knowledge base which, by utilising a filtered view, grants customers access to vital answers to their routine questions. Customers, who prefer to self-serve can resolve issues themselves, rather than having to contact a company representative directly and therefore has an enhanced experience – reflecting positively on NPS and CSAT ratings.

Cultural Shift

Embracing knowledge management within a company can have huge positive effects on teams. Whilst this culture shift won’t happen overnight, companies that embed knowledge management eventually experience a transparent knowledge sharing culture.

Not only does a knowledge sharing culture encourage collaboration across an organisation, producing a new array of ideas and innovation, it also helps to reshape employees’ perceptions of knowledge. Instead of viewing knowledge as a thing we all have in our heads, employees begin to see knowledge as an asset. They appreciate that just like people, finance and brand are valuable assets that require management and specialised systems , so does knowledge.

Knowledge Management Process

The overall knowledge management process doesn’t need to be complex or lengthy. It does however require specialised technology to ensure smooth execution.

There are several ways that the knowledge management process can be broken down, but in its simplest form it can be categorised into 4 parts: discover, capture, organisation, share.

Let’s unpack these 4 steps further.

Discover

‘We only know what we know when we need to know it” – Dave Snowden

The discovery stage of the knowledge management process is responsible for finding out what exactly a business needs to know and where knowledge already exists. This generally includes explicit knowledge that is already documented, but perhaps in a fragmented way.

Knowledge management will extract this explicit knowledge through the data mining of company documents, intranets and other records. Good Knowledge Management software will be able to semi-automate this time-consuming but necessary process.

Capture

As the name suggests, this step focuses on the capturing of knowledge that is not documented. It concerns turning the tacit knowledge into explicit, consumable knowledge.

This is arguably the most challenging and time-consuming step of the knowledge management process; knowledge management must capture the knowledge that resides in employees’ brains, which has become second nature to them and therefore difficult to communicate.

There are a number of methods that Knowledge Managers use to capture tacit knowledge including:

  • Observation
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Retrospect (reflection meetings that take place after the completion of a project)
  • Knowledge harvesting (often involving senior employees)

Organise

Once knowledge has been discovered and captured, knowledge management must unpack and process it in a way that makes it consumable for all. This requires deep analysis to see how knowledge can be best organised, displayed and incorporated into the company.

The organisation and accessibility of knowledge is the very essence of knowledge management. Therefore, it is crucial that this step is conducted successfully.

Most businesses use knowledge management software to organise and store their knowledge. Purpose-built systems order and display knowledge effectively to remove the fear, uncertainly and ambiguity surrounding knowledge.

Share

Making the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time is key. Without this step, a company would have masses of vital knowledge intricately stored and organised with no way to access it.

Knowledge sharing pulls all the other knowledge management steps together. It takes all the acquired knowledge and communicates it throughout a company. Some Knowledge Management Software even gamifies aspects of knowledge sharing, allowing employees to submit articles for approval, which if used lets others comment on and interact with.

Knowledge can be delivered via presentations and meetings but the most effective way to share it is through knowledge management software, allowing knowledge to be consistent and available on demand depending on who you are in the company.

Knowledge Management Process Diagram

Conclusion

Mastering knowledge management can be challenging, it’s an elusive discipline that deals with complex knowledge types and intricate processes. But if your company objectives are based around efficiency and wish to encourage a more transparent, collaborative culture then knowledge management is fundamental for you.


If you would like to explore knowledge management further, you can read more here, or

if you’d like to discuss your organisational needs.

An image of an agent look at knowledge metrics

Knowledge Management Best Practices

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It has become particularly useful since 2020 as 49% of employed adults in the UK now work from home due to the COVID-19 crisis – a measure that is expected to remain for most employees post-pandemic. There has never been a greater requirement for remote access to knowledge, both for employees who need to fulfil their roles remotely and for customers who prefer to use online channels when it comes to getting the support they need.

Knowledge management is a sophisticated discipline that should be central to a company, interconnecting its departments and technologies. To some, knowledge management might be perceived as complex, but it doesn’t need to be daunting. These 12 Knowledge management best practices aim to simplify and help you get the most out of knowledge management:

  1. Identify Knowledge Management Goals
  2. Choose Knowledge Management Software That Is Easy to Adopt
  3. Don’t Stray from The Knowledge Management Process
  4. Look at Knowledge as an Asset
  5. Consider Employee Needs
  6. Don’t Forget the Ultimate End-User: Your Customer
  7. Don’t Neglect Regular Knowledge Acquisition Exercises
  8. Motivate Employees
  9. Don’t Forget: UFFA
  10. Remember: Leadership Should Advocate Knowledge Management
  11. Select Knowledge Management Software That Can Be Seamlessly Implemented
  12. Monitor Knowledge Management Success with Metrics

Before we jump into each of these, let’s briefly discuss the importance of knowledge management for organisations.

Why Is Knowledge Management So Important?

Knowledge Management is adopted by organisations to utilise knowledge across departments. The discipline is crucial to many companies and involves the identification, extraction, contextualisation, organisation, storage and of course, the management of company knowledge.

When implemented correctly, knowledge management gives you:

  • Faster, more efficient decision making
  • Access to accurate and consistent information
  • Reduced Average Handling Times (AHT)
  • Improved First Contact Resolution (FCR)
  • Reduced training and onboarding times
  • Increased staff morale
  • Greater CSAT and NPS scores
  • Reduced routine enquiries

Knowledge Management as a function deals with both explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is easy to capture and communicate, often involving data, documents and manuals. Whilst tacit knowledge is complex and therefore difficult to interpret and extract, it is often accumulated through experience and requires specialised methods to obtain, including interviews and knowledge harvesting.

Harnessed through specific tools and software, knowledge management allows employees access to a centralised repository of knowledge, otherwise known as a knowledge base . Depending on their position, they can access vital information quickly and in a user-friendly way.

Knowledge management is important to businesses as it gives them control over a major asset, knowledge. It aims to prevent years of tacit knowledge from being lost or forgotten and focuses on embedding knowledge into the company culture to encourage transparency and collaboration. But perhaps most important, is the role it plays in significantlypromoting customer service and operational efficiency.

1. Identify Knowledge Management Goals

What are the drivers behind implementing knowledge management into your company?

Whether it surrounds operational efficiency, organisational collaboration and learning or customer satisfaction, it’s vital that knowledge management objectives are identified, constructed and then broken down into goals.

Knowledge management goals might involve the reduction of support costs, the increase in NPS scores, the deflection of contact for contact centres or improvement of internal communication. Whatever the goals are, it is important to set them with the appropriate people who are involved in monitoring them, make them SMART and adjust through time if necessary.

Knowledge management is considered a valuable investment, so its important goals are set initially and you have the tools in place to measure the results frequently throughout the knowledge management process. This prevents lack of control over the discipline and therefore helps you get the most out of it and quicker.

2. Choose Knowledge Management Software That Is Easy to Adopt

It’s important to note that knowledge management software is an essential element of knowledge management opposed to a best practice. Without knowledge management software the discipline could not function.

We know that knowledge management is key for businesses who wish to improve control, efficiency and customer satisfaction and that this is achieved by utilising knowledge management software.

But, what is the best way to get employees to embrace knowledge management software? Choose a tool that is easy to use. This is reinforced by Gartner who suggest you can “empower employees by providing easy-to-use powerful technologies” that positively impact employee engagement and subsequently, customer experience.

So, consider software like a Knowledge Base that centralises all company knowledge into one user-friendly library.

Good knowledge management software will:

  • Be built upon AI and algorithms to generate relevant answers
  • Utilise Natural Learning Processing (NLP) to understand naturally phrased queries
  • Allow for multiple editors
  • Gamify the editing process
  • Organise knowledge using filters, categories and views
  • Learn from user behaviour to identify errors and most popular queries

3. Don’t Stray from The Knowledge Management Process

One of the most important knowledge management best practices involves process. The process in which you use to execute knowledge management will differ from what other businesses follow. There are endless variations and steps, but in its simplest form, the knowledge management process can be categorised into 4 stages: discovery, capture, organise and share.

Discover

The first step of the knowledge management process concerns identifying what explicit knowledge already exists within the company and documenting it. This could include gathering documents from company intranets or data mining shared company resources.

Capture

This involves the skilled extraction of tacit knowledge from employees’ brains. This stage can prove complex and time-consuming as the majority of knowledge is difficult to articulate, is not documented and requires specific exercises to capture.

Organise

Once company knowledge has been captured, it can be pruned and organised so that it is suitable for consumption. Knowledge management software is used to organise, categorise and filter knowledge, allowing employees to access the right knowledge at the right time.

Share

Finally, this step includes the sharing, developing and management of vital company knowledge. Knowledge management software such as a knowledge base is used to facilitate knowledge sharing across multiple teams and locations and can even integrate with customer service tools to enhance the customer journey.

Not only is it vital to follow a process that integrates well with existing workflows and company culture, but it is equally important that your knowledge management process is closely monitored and carried out correctly.

Missing out, skipping or spending too much time on one area of the knowledge management process could prove detrimental to its successful execution, instead use comprehensive project management and don’t stray from the process.

4. Look at Knowledge as an Asset

Knowledge has a measurable monetary value. In companies where knowledge accumulates only in employees’ heads and across disconnected systems, they face increased operational and opportunity costs by not leveraging the value of shared knowledge.

Therefore, it’s important to communicate the idea that knowledge is more than an entity in one’s head, but to a business in particular, a valuable asset.

Once employees associate knowledge with other assets, like people, cash, brand and customers, they begin to understand its importance. Similar to how these assets have their own processes, teams and specialist software, so does knowledge.

This shift in attitude towards knowledge encourages employees to appreciate, protect and invest in the asset.

5. Consider Employee Needs

As mentioned, one of the many goals surrounding knowledge management is to better serve employees. When executed well, it is considered a valuable tool that makes employee’s jobs easier, getting more done with fewer obstacles in the way – it can even help them reach targets more efficiently.

Find out what you’re struggling with. If siloed knowledge or information hubs are becoming a problem for them? Are mundane routine questions preventing them from resolving complex queries? Or are customer satisfaction scores below target?

Your employees are one of your main users when it comes to knowledge management, so consider their needs and make decisions based on this. For example, if siloed knowledge or information ‘hubs’ are a pain point, assign an executive who knows how to tackle such a problem. If the sheer volume of routine questions is becoming a burden to contact centre employees, choose knowledge management software that can automate FAQs by using web self-service.

6. Don’t Forget the Ultimate End-User: Your Customer

From an external viewpoint, your end-users are your customers who play a crucial role within your business. Whether they require access to knowledge for customer support or sales purposes, it’s important to provide them with a tool that can produce relevant answers and resolutions efficiently. 

Web self-service software seamlessly connects to a particular view of your knowledge base – one that is built for your customers’ needs. The utilisation of Natural Language Processing (NLP) helps unravel customer queries, identifying search intent and subsequently offering your customers the information they require. 

Today, more and more customers want to serve themselves online, therefore it is vital for CX that user-friendly, AI-powered self-service tools are provided for a smooth and successful customer journey. 

7. Don’t Neglect Regular Knowledge Acquisition Exercises

Knowledge is always being accumulated. To prevent it from being siloed within teams, forgotten, or lost when employees leave, ensure regular knowledge acquisition exercises are carried out. This is the ultimate knowledge management best practice.

Knowledge acquisition exercises are designed to capture any new knowledge that is not yet stored in a company knowledge base and include:

  • Retrospect (reflection meetings that take place after the completion of a project)
  • Knowledge harvesting (scheduled meetings with senior employees intended to capture knowledge)
  • Interviews and surveys

To ensure your company doesn’t miss out on valuable shared knowledge, schedule in these knowledge acquisition exercises, this will not only capture the all-important knowledge but also encourage employees to actively document knowledge moving forward.

8. Motivate Employees

Any major organisational change can create friction and resistance amongst employees and there is no exception when it comes to implementing knowledge management. So how do you get employees to embrace the practice?

Involve employees as much as you can at as many levels as you can to create passion around knowledge management – it is something that will make everyone’s job much easier after all. Have employees contribute to the creation of knowledge articles or edit themselves to give them a sense of ownership and motivation.

Some knowledge management tools even ‘gamify’ certain elements of knowledge creation; employees can suggest articles to be included in the knowledge base, if approved the article is posted for others to interact with.

9. Don’t Forget: UFFA

The ‘use it, flag it, fix it, add it’ framework is used within knowledge management and can help with adoption and efficiency.

The UFFA model helps employees navigate knowledge management tools such as a knowledge base. It encourages them to search for the query at hand, suggesting 4 actions based on the outcomes:

  • Use it if the answer to an agent’s question is found, is relevant and complete
  • Flag it if the answer to an agent’s question is found, but is incomplete and the agent doesn’t have editing rights
  • Fix it if the answer to an agent’s question is found, but is incomplete and the agent has editing rights
  • Add it if the answer to the question is not found, this is something your assigned Editor can oversee
A workflow diagram representing the UFFA framework for knowledge management.

It is not only useful to teach employees UFFA when knowledge management is first introduced into the company, but it is something that should be practised indefinitely, becoming an everyday workflow.

A key knowledge management best practice includes embedding UFFA early on to boost efficiency as agents waste less time waiting for permissions and answers to encourage collaboration companywide.

10. Remember: Leadership Should Advocate Knowledge Management

To ensure that knowledge management is fully utilised across teams, the discipline should be advocated by key people of influence in the company. Whether it’s your directors or senior leadership team it is important to communicate the importance and benefits of knowledge management and generate excitement.

Leaders should lead by example; they should involve employees as much as possible when it comes to advocating knowledge management. Some effective methods include coaching employees, organising hands-on workshops and keeping the company up to date via regular newsletters.

If the key people of influence within your company are not passionate about knowledge management, then how can you expect the wider workforce to be?

11. Select Knowledge Management Software That Can Be Seamlessly Implemented

Having knowledge management software that seamlessly integrates with other internal and customer-facing tools is vital if knowledge management is to succeed.

You can avoid this by selecting knowledge management software that is built on open RESTful APIs. This way you can connect to:

  • Most 3rd party systems including email management tools and CRMs
  • Internal software that allows your team access to company knowledge when assisting customers. This helps agents quickly resolve customer queries by producing answers pulled from centralised knowledge
  • Customer-facing tools such as web self-service that customers use to answer their own questions. This software is integrated with a segment of the wider company knowledge, displaying relevant answers based on the customer’s question to reducing overall contact

12. Monitor Knowledge Management Success with Metrics

You can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Just like any new initiative or campaign that is introduced into a company, it’s vital that knowledge management is measured to ensure you are moving in the right direction and not wasting time, money or other resources.

How? Well, this will depend on your initial knowledge management goals and the core purpose for implementing the discipline.

Key metrics that can measure the success of knowledge management include:

  • Outcome analysis – knowledge feedback is measured to give companies an indication of how effective a tool is in providing a successful customer journey
  • CSAT scores – this is important for companies whose knowledge management goals surround customer satisfaction. If CSAT scores have increased, then it is likely that knowledge management is having a positive effect on customers.
  • Agent efficiency – metrics such as Average Handling Times (AHT)
  • First Contact Resolutions (FCR) can be measured to identify whether knowledge management has helped improve agent efficiency.
  • Employee engagement – if lack of collaboration and knowledge silos were challenges for your company, then this metric can help determine if you are on track. If employee engagement has increased, you can assume knowledge management is working.
  • Employee satisfaction – anonymous surveys can be distributed before and after the deployment of knowledge management, this will help you understand whether it has been accepted and successful.

There is a multitude of factors that can affect knowledge management and how it operates in your company. The knowledge management best practices that have been discussed in this article can be referred to time and time again, regardless of the stage you are at within implementation.

If you would like any advice or help implementing knowledge management into your company, you can read more here or