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Live Chat for Customer Support: The 2021 Buyer’s Guide

Why Live Chat for Customer Support?

Whilst customers now have the capabilities – thanks to technological advances in AI – to solve their own queries online, there will always be instances where some human intervention is required. For instance, users can take advantage of self-service channels such as an FAQ portal, widget or chatbot to solve routine queries using AI, but when it comes to more complex queries that require empathy and emotional understanding, a human is required.

This is where agent-assisted contact channels are necessary. In a world where fast service is now not only expected but is arguably the new norm, waiting in long phone queues or waiting days to hear back from an email enquiry just won’t suffice in your customers’ eyes. This is why live chat for customer support is so popular, and customers’ preferred contact channel – 79% in fact!

Not only does it provide your customers with a smoother, more efficient experience, but for the contact centre, it proves significantly more cost-effective to operate than telephony and email. Telephone agents are limited when it comes to their capacity to handle more than 1 query at a time, but live chat provides agents with the tools to solve multiple queries simultaneously.

Live Chat for Customer Support: What to Consider

So, when it comes to choosing the best live chat for customer support, where do you begin? We have broken it down for you into sections below in your very own checklist

A guide for 'Live Chat for Customer Support, The 2021 Buyers Guide'

Commercial Considerations

1. Does Live Chat Align with Your Customer Support and Business Goals?

Before considering live chat solutions, it is fundamental that you and your team are clear on the rationale behind why you are acquiring live chat, what it is aiming to solve and that the goals and objectives are measurable.

Then, once you are ready to begin looking for the right solution, you will be able to identify if a solution’s capabilities and features match your expectations.

For instance, if your goals surrounded improving NPS or CSAT scores then the capability to escalate and integrate would be a deal-breaker. Or, if you have a small call centre of 15 agents and are looking to reduce contact centre costs whilst maintaining quality customer service, finding a pricing model that works for a team of that size, that is fast to implement and supports remote working is essential.

2. Does the Live Chat Vendor Offer Sufficient Customer Support?

It is also important to discuss with those involved the level of customer support you might require from the live chat vendor. This way you have an expectation in which you can measure against, filtering out those who cannot offer you what you need.

This helps to manage expectations from both sides and prevents any detriments surrounding your live chat tool down the line.

For Your Customers

3. Does the Software Facilitate Escalation from Self-Service to Live Chat?

There a number of ways in which customers can reach your site, whether they are actively looking for help or stumble across a reason to ask a question during their customer journey. In both situations, it is vital that, although they might not require it, escalation from self-service to agent-assisted channels are available.

If a visitor wants to purchase something online or has an issue with an order, they might engage with your chatbot initially but come to realise they need human attention. This is where seamless escalation to live chat – within the same window – is vital. Anything less than this is poor CX.

An image that demonstrates how multichannel live chat works.

4. How Quickly Can the Live Chat Solution Be Implemented?

It is vital that before you decide on your live chat vendor that you have discussed implementation timeframes and expectations. Perhaps you want your live chat for customer support up and running as soon as possible, or you have a timeline mapped out already.

Depending on your business requirements, live chat implementation should take a matter of days or weeks and will involve the following steps:

  1. Project kick-off meeting
  2. Design guidelines are discussed
  3. First look designs are shared
  4. Draft integration code is created and sandbox environment access is granted
  5. Design is signed off
  6. Agent training
  7. Testing
  8. Final low-code integration is provided

5. Can the Live Chat Software Integrate With 3rd Party Applications for Optimal CX?

To ensure that your customers’ journeys are smooth and that you are always delivering excellent CX, consider your integration needs. Which everyday business tools must your live chat software connect with in order to achieve this?

Perhaps you require an integration that through live chat facilitates:

  1. Identification and verification (ID&V)
  2. Adding and/or updating contacts in your CRM
  3. Adding/removing a contact from a particular mailing list
  4. Producing certain documentation upon customer request

Whatever it may be, ensure the live chat vendor you choose offer open RESTful APIs that enables the simple 2-way sharing of data.

6. Can the Live Chat Reflect Your Brand?

Injecting your customer support tools with your brand personality is key to standing out amongst competitors. Not only is it a free branding opportunity, but it is a great means to portraying your business to the world.

Select a live chat solution that supports customisation. You should be able to customise colour schemes and add logos, as well as configuring canned responses and search layers to include language and quirks that match your brand guidelines.

An image that shows how canned responses can be set up in live chat.

7. Can It Contribute to Lead and Revenue Generation?

Whilst many businesses primarily adopt live chat for customer support purposes, it has the capabilities to support both lead and revenue generation.

Live chat solutions that include custom trigger options help to promote additional revenues and lead generation by proactively offering help during critical customer touchpoints.

You simply configure the conditions in which you’d like live chat to trigger, for example, when a certain amount of time is spent on the cart page and the customer is offered help. This could be the difference between a conversion or cart abandonment.

For Your Team

8. Does Live Chat Utilise Natural Language Processing?

Selecting live chat for customer support that is built on AI and harnesses Natural Language Processing (NLP) promotes contact centre efficiency whilst improving your agents’ experience.

Some live chat vendors include an integrated knowledge base within the internal live chat interface. For agents, this means significantly less time is spent searching through resources or asking supervisors for answers. All displayed within the same window, the agent simply begins by typing in the customer’s query and the system, analysing each keyword to understand intent, displays relevant articles.

9. Does It Include Features That Promote Agent Productivity?

To boost agent productivity in the contact centre and dramatically improve Average Handling Times (AHT), pick live chat software that includes features such as AI-predictive suggestions and a live keypress feed.

AI-predictive suggestions slash handling times by recommending to your agents relevant articles based on what the customer is typing. This refreshes on every keypress and is displayed in the mini knowledge base panel, all your agents have to do is click to copy the content into their chat.

A live keypress feed similarly helps to speed up the query handling process. It provides your agents with a preview of what the customer is typing so that resolutions can be prepared often before they have submitted their queue.

10. How Easy Is It to Train Your Agents?

When it comes to live chat for customer support, training your agents shouldn’t be something you have to worry about. Choose a vendor that provides excellent after-sale care – this should include an account manager training your team in how to use their new live chat tool – from basic functionality to clever tips and tricks.

Don’t waste precious time figuring out these things yourselves, ensure experts can demonstrate them for you.

Final Thoughts

Every company’s needs will be different when it comes to live chat acquisition, however by sticking to the above checklist and using its answers as a key criterion, finding the best live chat – that utilises AI, supports a suitable pricing model, is implemented quickly and promotes efficiency – is made simple.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about live chat, you can here. Or for help selecting live chat software and advice please

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7 Reasons Online Live Chat Is Replacing Telephony

The Evolution of Live Chat

Live chat is an online contact channel that allows your customers to speak directly with your company representatives. Most commonly used to facilitate customer support, it can also assist in lead and revenue generation activities.

Unlike other online customer service channels such as self-service portals or chatbots that rely on AI to generate results to routine queries, live chat utilises human agents. This, therefore, makes live chat the perfect support channel for dealing with non-routine queries that are complex and require a level of human understanding and emotion.

Live chat software has been around since the 1970s when Illinois University introduced PLATO, followed by the explosion of instant messaging platforms in the 1990s. But today, live chat is multifaceted and quickly becoming customers preferred method of communication.

An image that shows a student using PLATO, a first-generation live chat software in 1973.

First-generation live chat software, PLATO was used at Illinois University in 1973.

With the global live chat market rapidly growing at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2017 to 2023 , it’s no wonder that it’s replacing traditional agent-assisted contact channels like telephony.

Reasons Online Live Chat Is Replacing Telephony

So, why is online live chat quickly replacing telephony:

  1. Online live chat is significantly more value for money than telephony
  2. Customers prefer online live chat
  3. Online live chat is more efficient than telephony
  4. Online live chat is easy to audit
  5. Online live chat offers proactive support
  6. Live chat teams up with your chatbot for 24/7 support
  7. Online live chat is the ideal remote worker’s tool

1. Online Live Chat Is Significantly Cheaper Than Telephony

When it comes to handling individual queries in the most cost-efficient way, live chat is the clear frontrunner.

When a customer rings into the contact centre for help, the agent that answers is only physically capable of dealing with that individual – they cannot multitask or speak to multiple customers at once.

Whilst it’s not feasible to have more than 1 verbal conversation at once, live chat provides the tools enabling agents to handle multiple customer queries simultaneously. When we take into consideration the accumulation of costs associated with handling a query, live chat proves significantly cheaper as a contact channel, bringing contact centre overheads down considerably.

2. Customers Prefer Online Live Chat

Your customers are used to doing virtually everything online today, whether it’s banking, booking medical appointments or even grocery shopping. These expectations don’t stop when it comes to customer service, your customers not only expect to have their queries resolved entirely online, but they prefer it. 79% of customers in fact said their preferred contact channel was live chat – the most popular reason being its instant responses.

Customers love using online live chat because it offers them the convenience and ease-of-use of a digital channel, paired with the personability and depth of knowledge available with having a 1-to-1 conversation with a skilled agent.

Live chat embodies all the benefits of telephony but with quicker, more available access.

3. Online Live Chat Is More Efficient Than Telephony

Online live chat includes a number of integrated features that boost agent productivity that telephony does not.

Within the chat console, agents have access to an integrated knowledge base that provides AI-predictive suggestions. This is a library made up of thousands of knowledge articles, available at their fingertips without having the switch in between tabs, browser or windows. Chat interfaces that utilise Natural Language Processing (NLP) significantly speed up Average Handling Times (AHT), making for a better customer and employee experience. NLP unpicks the customer query on every keypress, analysing every keyword to determine search intent, offering relevant results in the same window. The agent simply clicks to copy the whole or a section of the knowledge article and pastes it into the conversation.

Some online live chat vendors include a live keypress feed within the agent interface. By providing the agent with a preview of what is being typed from the customer’s side on each keypress, an entire resolution can be built, often before the customer hits send. Not only does this reduce AHT but contributes to a great customer experience.

4. Online Live Chat Is Easy to Audit

Unlike telephony, which requires significant manual auditing, for example, logging a call and the customer’s details and queries, live chat which is solely digital, automates these tasks and processes. For example:

  • Reviewing query information: Conversation transcripts are automatically saved once a chat has ended. This makes retrieving details simple, rather than having to search and listen for the same details in a lengthy audio recording.
  • Customer metrics: Instead of manually entering data on customers, using forms, live chat captures name, contact details, landing page, journey and more.
  • Agent metrics: Rather than relying on manual entry of data regarding performance – which can be affected by human error – live chat automatically captures data on completed chats, average answer time, average response time and more for greater visibility.

5. Online Live Chat Offers Proactive Support

Whilst telephony is a reactive form of customer support; it responds to customers needs once an issue has already occurred, live chat is proactive.

Using custom triggers, live chat can be configured to fire under certain conditions, intercepting the customer and helping them to their intended destination. For instance, when a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on a page such as a product page or cart page it could indicate that they need help before buying. When live chat is configured to trigger under these conditions, you are proactively offering assistance which could be the difference between cart abandonment and a sale.

Triggering live chat proactively in this way can also answer queries that avoid product refunds, returns and complaints, saving you money.

6. Live Chat Teams Up with Your Chatbot for 24/7 Support

Whilst call centres generally aren’t open 24/7, live chat can still offer out of hours support with the help of an AI-powered chatbot.

Through seamless integration, facilitated by open RESTful APIs, chatbots take the reins from live chat when there are no agents available. Whilst the customer won’t be speaking with a human, chatbots that are powered by AI harness NLP and this means that a huge range of routine queries can be dealt with.

So, rather than a customer reaching a support page with no options, they are met by a chatbot that can offer help or record their details to pass on to an agent if the query is too complex – a far greater CX.

7. Online Live Chat Is the Ideal Remote Worker’s Tool

While remote working was already on the rise before the COVID-19 crisis, the practice has further been catalysed through necessity. It is predicted that remote working will stick for many companies, with 98% of employees agreeing they would like to continue with some form of remote working for the rest of their career – this includes contact centre and customer support employees.

If working from home is the new norm then online live chat conquers telephony for a number of reasons:

  • Agents need not worry about background noise when operating live chat
  • Poor signal won’t affect their ability to help customers on live chat
  • Live chat allows agents to contact supervisors through direct messaging, avoiding long wait times otherwise experienced through telephony

Will Live Chat Replace Telephony Indefinitely?

Whilst we are not there yet, it is possible that in the future live chat will replace telephony indefinitely. But for now, audiences still require a blend of digital and human customer service experiences. This is why omnichannel support is critical. Customers want the option to contact you how they want, whether it’s online live chat social media, WhatsApp or self-service.

For optimal CX, consider a customer service provider that offers omnichannel support for your customers.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about live chat, you can read more here or for help selecting live chat software and advice

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5 Reasons Customers Prefer Live Chat (When It’s Done Well)

Why So Many Businesses Use Live Chat

Live chat, as a customer support, sales and marketing tool has experienced huge growth in recent years. With businesses of all sizes adopting the customer service channel, the live chat market is estimated to reach $997 million by 2023, registering a CAGR of 7.5% from 2017 to 2023.

Not only does live chat offer a quick and convenient means of direct communication for your customers, providing them with great CX but it proves particularly cost-efficient for businesses compared to other agent-assisted channels.

Telephone and email, for example, channels that include long handling times and asynchronous sessions prove costly. Live chat on the other hand brings support costs down significantly by offering multiple simultaneous chat options and a range of features that improve agent productivity.

Not only is live chat the preferred agent-assisted channel when it comes to reducing costs, but for customers – 79% in fact – live chat is their go-to tool for solving issues.

Reasons Customers Prefer Live Chat 

  1. Instant responses
  2. Familiar UI
  3. Complex issues are solved online
  4. It saves your customers time
  5. Multi-channel

Instant Responses

When asked why live chat was their preferred contact channel, customers’ top answer surrounded its capability to respond instantly.

Alternative agent-assisted contact channels like telephony usually include long wait times, being put on hold and transferred from department to department. For customers, this creates discomfort and frustration – it unnecessarily dominates a chunk of their day and feels like a waste of time.

Similarly, for customers, email as a communication channel feel disjointed – waiting days for a reply to the first of what might be 5 follow up queries simply isn’t realistic, nor does it reflect positively on customer reviews or CSAT ratings.

Live chat’s ability to deal with multiple customer queries at once means that agent time can be utilised far more effectively than other channels. It means that wait times are minimal, reducing Average Handling Times (AHT) and as a result, boosting CSAT scores.

Get it right by:

Selecting a live chat vendor that offer multiple chat capabilities and live keypress feed – this allows agents to prepare a resolution often before the customer has hit ‘send’, producing instant responses.

Familiar UI

With instant messaging platforms and social media chat usage significantly increasing amongst your customers, it is no wonder that live chat proves so popular as a contact channel.

Not only do customers use messaging interfaces every day as a way of keeping in contact with others, but generation such as Millenials and Gen Z, who have either grown up using instant messaging or know no different expect such interfaces when engaging companies.

When live chat software includes features such as emojis and chat ‘history’ (chat transcripts) on a familiar, mobile-friendly, 2-way chat interface, it builds comfort and positive brand associations with your company, which in turns enhances CX.

Customers love live chat because it offers the familiarity and convenience of a digital messaging app, whilst serving them the depth of knowledge associated with an agent-assisted channel.

An image that shows an example of live chat.

Get it right by:

Ensuring that the vendor you choose offers mobile friendly live chat and customisable branding options.

Complex Issues Are Solved Online

When a customer has a non-routine or complicated query that needs resolving, they no longer have to pick up the phone and wait in the queue for assistance from a trained agent – the query can be solved entirely online.

This is how a customer’s query is intuitively and quickly resolved through live chat:

  1. Once the customer has engaged with live chat and the agent has introduced themselves, the customer explains the issue they require help with.
  2. The agent interface that is powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP) analyses every keyword entered on each keypress to unpick and understand search intent.
  3. In the same window that the chat takes place in, a series of AI-predictive suggestions are displayed, each containing relevant articles.
  4. The agent selects the most relevant, either choosing “copy article to chat” for the whole article of “copy snippet” for a specific part of the article.
  5. The agent hits send.

Because your agents are equipped with a knowledge base full of information and resolutions that are automatically generated for them via AI, there is no need for the customer to pick up the phone, creating a smooth and efficient journey.

Learn more about how a knowledge base live chat integration, here.

Get it right by:

Choosing live chat software that is built using AI and harnesses powerful Natural Language Processing (NLP) to offer agents AI-predictive suggestions.

It Saves Time Your Customers Time

When it comes to offering customers a great experience and satisfying their customer support needs, time is an important factor.

Telephone and email as contact channels are renowned for long wait times and often unpleasant experiences. As your customers’ lifestyles become busier and time becomes more precious, it is no wonder that such contact channels are no longer suiting their needs.

The mechanics of live chat on the other hand means that your customers can continue their everyday tasks whilst engaging with an agent and having their issues resolved. Customers can interact with agents from anywhere, whether it’s a busy outdoor space or noisy area.

Unlike telephony, the format of live chat doesn’t warrant an instant response which allows customers to multitask whilst they communicate with agents. If an agent hasn’t heard back from a customer after a certain amount of time, they can send a “poke”. This prompts the customer, asking if they’d like to continue, otherwise the session will be closed.

Get it right by:

Selecting live chat software that utilises low code; let your customers benefit from convenient online channels as soon as is possible.


Customers love the multiple ways in which they can engage with your live chat agents. Whether its through their favourite social media platform, instant messaging service or directly through your site, it’s easy and the choice is theirs.

Live chat software integrates with the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp so that customers can get help with support or purchases quickly and from any device. With the utilisation of APIs, agents can see all chats within the same interface, regardless of their origin and handle them accordingly.

So, whether your customers engage with your live chat tool as a result of finding you on Google search, being escalated from a self-service channel or through social media, getting help is straightforward.

An image that demonstrates how multichannel live chat works.

Get it right by:

Choosing live chat software that includes seamless escalation options and multichannel integration capabilities.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about live chat, read our guide here or if you would like any assistance with software and implementation, please

Image showing a live chat trigger on a laptop

Choosing The Best Live Chat for Customer Support

Why Live Chat Is Integral to Customer Support

Live chat is an agent-assisted customer support channel that utilises a familiar instant messaging format. Unlike other channels that rely on AI to serve customers, such as a chatbot solution that automates routines queries, live chat utilises human agents. Live chat is therefore ideal for handling customer queries that are non-routine or complex, those that cannot be solved using AI.

Where self-service tools utilise Artificial Intelligence to provide support, live chat utilises human intelligence.

An image that shows an example of live chat.

As a staple in the wider customer support ecosystem, when it comes to handling issues, live chat proves significantly cheaper than alternative agent-assisted channels such as email and telephony. With its multi-chat capability and features that speed up the resolution process, customers can be dealt with simultaneously and efficiently.

As a result of introducing live chat into their customer support offering, companies experience the following benefits:

  • Reduced contact centre costs – as a more cost-efficient channel, support costs are brought down significantly.
  • Improved CSAT and NPS ratings – CX is slick thanks to live chat, answers are instant and a personable touch is delivered.
  • Increased customer acquisition and retention – live chat has been proven to increase conversions by 20% .
  • Better ESAT – agents are empowered by the tool that allows them to simultaneously help customers.
  • Greater competitive advantage – by providing visitors with a more enjoyable website experience than competitors who don’t offer live chat.
  • Fewer customer complaints – with quick access to agent assistance, long wait times are repetition are reduced.

Your Customers’ Preferred Channel

Whilst digitisation has been underway for many decades, the recent and rapid shift to online consumption and services – largely driven by external forces and behavioural changes – means there is a far greater demand for online customer support than ever before.

It’s therefore fundamental for businesses that they comply with their customers’ fast-changing expectations of online customer support if they want to remain competitive – if their demands are not met, they will simply go elsewhere.

Live chat is favoured by customers for its convenience and real-time resolutions. In fact 79% of customers say they prefer live chat to other channels due to its instant responses. Not only is it loved by customers, providing them with a slick and smooth customer experience, but it is hugely beneficial for companies too.

How to Choose The Best Live Chat for Customer Support

When it comes to choosing the best live chat solution for your company, it’s important to first consider a criterion – a set of must-haves that can’t be compromised during the selection process.

To help, we have outlined the following key criterion required for choosing effective live chat software:

It Fits in Amongst Your Wider Customer Support Ecosystem

Live chat plays an important role when it comes to your wider customer support ecosystem. As a direct channel in which your customers can communicate with you, live chat if often the result of escalation. It is triggered by AI when non-routine questions cannot be resolved and therefore human intervention is required.

Here are some examples:

  • A customer finds your self-service page through an organic search result but is later escalated to live chat when AI detects the query is too complicated to solve.
  • A visitor lands on your website directly and after browsing through a few pages, engages with the chatbot that offers assistance. When the non-routine questions cannot be solved, the chatbot escalates the visitor to live chat.
  • On Facebook, a customer interacts with your page’s bot that determines intent. Through integration, your customer, within the same window, is then escalated to a live chat agent who can help further.

To offer your customers the support they require and a smooth journey, the live chat solution you choose must be capable of connecting seamlessly with your key customer service tools. When it comes to the best live chat for customer support, integration is fundamental.

An image that demonstrates how multichannel live chat works.

Its Pricing Model Is A Good Fit

It’s important that the live chat software you choose has a pricing model that is right for your company, fitting your goals that surround the customer service channel.

Some companies for example, with a customer service team of 5 agents will require a smaller, more consumable contract. Whilst others, perhaps with larger contact centres might want to maximise the value returns of pricing models that operate at scale.

Either way, ensure you ask the questions surrounding your requirements and choose a live chat vendor that is flexible in its pricing models.

It Connects with Your Everyday Business Tools

It is equally as important that the live chat you choose for customer support can integrate with your everyday business tools. Such integrations not only allow the 2-way sharing of data across platforms, which improves CX and enriches your companywide knowledge capabilities but can automate the following:

  • Identification and verification (ID&V)
  • Adding and/or updating contacts in your CRM
  • Adding/removing a contact from a particular mailing list
  • Producing certain documentation upon customer request
  • And a multitude of other tasks

When considering the best live chat for customer support, make sure you look for open RESTful APIs that enable easy integrations. This is key for customer satisfaction and contact centre efficiency.

It Includes Features That Maximise Agent Efficiency

Live chat allows agents to deal with multiple customers simultaneously, which proves advantageous in comparison to telephony or email channels that can only tend to one customer’s needs at a time.

Already the design of live chat is far more efficient than other agent-assisted channels, but the best live chat solutions offer additional features custom-built for boosting productivity in the contact centre.

For example, software that includes a live keypress feed decreases Average Handling Times (AHT) and consequently reduces support costs. This feature allows the agent to see what the customer is typing on every keypress, by the time they have hit “send”, the agent has often had time to prepare a resolution.

Further, some live chat software vendors include AI-predictive suggestions that recommend knowledge articles in real-time based on what the customer is typing. AI analyses each keyword as it is typed and subsequently retrieves relevant results from the wider knowledge base for the agent to choose from. This saves precious agent time that would otherwise be spent searching through resources or consulting supervisors.

It Uses Custom Triggers to Proactively Offer Help

When it comes to choosing the best live chat for customer support, lead generation and sales, custom triggers are considered essential.

Custom triggers can be configured to launch live chat when certain conditions are met, for example:

  • When a certain amount of time is spent on the cart page, indicating that the visitor might require some last-minute help, live chat is triggered to pop up and offer help. This can be the difference between cart abandonment and a sale.
  • When a visitor has been browsing certain resources created to capture leads, a trigger fires and live chat offers help, qualifies the lead and automatically adds them to your CRM.
  • When a trigger keyword is entered by a customer, for example, “subscribe”, “renew” or “upgrade” – those that are associated with revenue, live chat is automatically launched. This contributes to both retention and acquisition.

Your live chat solution is capable of dealing with much more than customer support – ensure it is powered by AI for maximum utilisation.

Its Implementation Is Quick and Effortless

It is fundamental that the implementation process, its timeline and expectations are discussed with a reputable and experienced vendor before choosing your live chat solution.

It is beneficial for companies and their customer support teams that live chat is up and running as soon as possible. Therefore, it is good practice to choose a vendor that adopts low code implementation, embedding live chat into your wider customer offering quickly and with ease.

This removes the requirement for cross-departmental involvement and hours of developer work. Instead, a simple line of code is installed and you are ready to go – you can begin helping customers, improving CSAT and enhancing CX.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about live chat for customers support, you can read more here or, for help with software selection

A Hero image of a chatbot on an ipad

8 Reasons You Need a Chatbot For Your Website

The recent surge in customer expectations – which might be attributed to the fast rate at which we can receive and consumer things – married with externals forces such as the Covid-19 pandemic and consequential staying at home, has driven the demand for self-service options.

But do you need a chatbot for your website?

A report by Gartner estimates that by 2023, more than 60% of all customer service engagements will be delivered via digital and web self-serve channels, up from 23% in 2019.

This article explores the importance of including a chatbot in your customer service offering, its benefits and how it complements other key tools.

With chatbots estimated to have reached the early majority stage of the technology innovation curve, it is critical that in order to satisfy customers’ expectations and remain competitive in a time when customer service has never been more important, you consider a chatbot for your website.

An image that shows where chatbots currently reside on the technology adoption curve.

1. Significant Reduction of Contact

Chatbot technology that is built on AI harnesses the power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) so that large volumes of routine queries can be automatically dealt with, simultaneously and at scale.

An image that show a chatbot dealing with routine queries whilst it escalates non-routine queries to live chat.

NLP uses sophisticated algorithms to unpick the structure of a customer query, analysing each component including, keywords, grammar, search intent and popularity in order to understand the context of what is being asked. NLP then matches the customer query with the most relevant results, producing options for customers to choose from.

With the capability to reduce average contact volume by 25% , far fewer queries end up reaching the contact centre – because AI has handled them. The result of which is a reduction in not only the congestion experienced by contact centres but also the accumulation of costs involved with handling customer queries. Costs that surround handling queries directly, staffing and operational overheads are reduced therefore bringing overall contact centre costs down considerably.

Another key area that a chatbot’s self-service capability has a positive impact on is customer service and your CSAT and NPS ratings. With 67% of customers preferring to self-serve over speaking to a company representative, considering a chatbot for your website could provide huge CX benefits.

Further, when chatbots deal with a large proportion of routine contact, less reach your agents. The result is hugely beneficial for customers who have complicated issues that can only be solved by a human, there is a reduced wait time and they have agents’ full attention. This is because the reduction of routine queries gives agents greater bandwidth to which they can concentrate on complex, non-routine queries.

2. Chatbots Are There for Your Customers at Any Hour

Convenience is vital when it comes to customer service, particularly for self-serving customers. The channel should be straightforward, easy to navigate and available whenever your customers require help.

Chatbots offer real-time support 24/7/365. Customers needn’t worry when they have an issue during a public holiday or outside of traditional operating hours because a chatbot is entirely self-sufficient when it comes to offering support, relying on AI only to deliver results.

This proves particularly important for those who require help during emergency situations, for example, a water leak that takes place during the early hours of the morning. By reporting this to your website’s chatbot, it can offer instructions as to how this can be fixed.

3. Chatbots Boost Lead Generation and Sales

In addition to customer service, chatbots support both lead and new revenue generation activities. Acting as a lead generation tool, chatbots on your website can capture key contact information and qualify prospects before passing them onto the Sales team. By capturing critical data including personal, preferences and search intent, the lead can be escalated to an agent who can begin the nurturing process.

This also helps to identify many hot leads that would otherwise have been lost, anonymous website visitors.

To promote additional revenues, custom triggers are configured to intercept website visitors that have met certain conditions, for example, a pattern that suggests a high purchase probability. By being there to proactively offer assistance the chances of purchase increase.

4. Escalation to Agents Is Seamless

Channels such as chatbots that facilitate self-service are hugely beneficial however, it is important to consider that not all queries can be dealt with using AI. Some that are non-routine require human intelligence and empathy. This is where a chatbot’s capability to seamlessly escalate to an agent-assisted channel such as live chat is valuable.

When such escalation points are not available to customers it means they must search through pages and search engines results for a way to contact an agent, potentially wait and then repeat their query. This proves frustrating for customers, especially when you consider their calibre of the query is urgent. It affects not only First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates negatively but also lowers CSAT scores.

5. Chatbots Collect Knowledge and Integrate with Other Tools

Not only can chatbots integrate with other key customer service tools such as live chat, sharing data seamlessly within the same window, but they can also help inform and build your central repository of knowledge. Chatbot software that includes comprehensive analytics reveals intel by identifying any patterns or trends in customer queries and results. When analysed, this data becomes knowledge that is eventually utilised across the company.

Furthermore, when selecting a chatbot for your website it is important to consider its integration capabilities. Consider chatbots that use open RESTful APIs to ensure that integrations between other crucial business tools like CRMs and email management apps are available for 2-way data sharing.

6. As Digital Concierges, Chatbots Enhance CX

Chatbots can transform the experience that your customers receive. Acting as their digital concierge, the chatbot guides your customer through their online journey from start to finish, until they have reached their destination.

This is achieved by utilising decision tree technology that when configured, offers your customers a series of questions, that depending on the answers selected, determines the next step in their journey. This helps customers reach their destination far quicker and helps by automating the problem-solving process for them.

Chatbots enhance CX further by utilising Machine Learning (ML) principles. By recognising linguistic and behavioural patterns that can be stored and used for future interactions, things become more familiar and enjoyable for the customer.

7. Chatbots Channel the Essence of Your Brand

A chatbot for your website is not only a means for customer support, CX and revenue generation, it is also a way to channel your brand personality to the world. It’s a branding opportunity that is seen by every site visitor.

Configure your chatbot so that it reflects your brand personality including the responses it gives, the grammar it utilises and the way it looks. Some chatbot solutions include additional search layers that are configured to ensure that a conversational response is always produced.

8. Chatbots Are A Hit with Your Agents

Although not directly linked to the contact centre, the indirect impact that chatbots have on agents is hugely beneficial. Because chatbots take care of a large portion of routine queries, agents are able to focus on more complex customer issues, bringing them job enrichment, purpose and empowerment.

Providing agents with the opportunity to develop their skills and grow builds employee satisfaction (ESAT) and can be contributed to greater outcome and quality of work. For improved efficiency and agent productivity, it is therefore worth considering a chatbot for your website.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about chatbots, read our guide here or for help regarding your organisational requirements, please

An image of a piggy bank

The 8 Biggest Chatbot Mistakes That Are Costing You Money

Whilst AI can be dated back to the 1950s when Turing famously invented the Turing Test, the first ever chatbot, ELIZA was introduced in 1966, followed by a series of ‘chatterbots’ in the 1990s. This wave of chatbot technology was not created to support customer service, rather they were tested by audiences to develop bot intelligence.

Today, chatbots are considered a must-have tool belonging to the wider customer service toolkit, facilitating not only customer support but lead generation, sales and growth. Therefore, it is not just customer service teams that value chatbots but also Sales and Marketing.

However, when it comes to selecting chatbot software and the subsequent implementation process, a surprising number of companies get it wrong. The results of which can be detrimental and include unnecessarily high overheads, poor CSAT and damaged brand reputation.

So, how can you ensure that the chatbot solution you select and your roll-out method works effectively for your company, achieving goals that surround:

  • Support cost reduction
  • CSAT and NPS improvements
  • Enhanced CX
  • Contact centre efficiency
  • Lead and revenue generation

This article addresses the common mistakes that all too many companies make when it comes to chatbots, offering advice as to how they can be avoided:

  1. Neglecting Objectives and Strategy
  2. Not Working with A Vendor Experienced in Your Field
  3. Not Giving Your Chatbot a Personality
  4. Selecting A Chatbot That Cannot Provide the Right Answers
  5. Choosing A Solution That Cannot Escalate to A Human
  6. Making A Decision Based Solely on Pricing
  7. Choosing A Chatbot That Has A Lengthy Implementation Process
  8. Settling for A Chatbot That Cannot Be Optimised

1. Neglecting Objectives and Strategy

Common mistake:When companies do not discuss and define clear goals with measurable objectives regarding their upcoming chatbot initiative, a multitude of things go wrong. The result of which means that those involved have no clear direction as to what they’re working towards, with no benchmark to know if they are on track or if something has gone wrong. Without objectives, there is nothing to measure the success of the outcomes against.

Best practice:Meet with everyone who will be involved with the deployment of your chatbot solution to ensure that everyone is on the same page with goals, expectations and outcomes. Not only does this allow for smoother execution but it helps to identify issues in their tracks. Having input from those involved provides a varied perspective, providing value to key decisions regarding chatbot selection.

2. Not Working with A Vendor Experienced in Your Field

Common mistake:Many businesses choose chatbot software vendors that are inexperienced in the field in which they operate. Chatbots that have not been tested in a certain field lack intent sets and therefore do not know their audience. The result of which includes money and time spent with vendors who cannot produce the chatbot required to fit your customers’ needs.

Best practice:Spend time and care when considering chatbot vendors. Compile a list of must-have criteria for your chatbot; its functions, capabilities and vendor experience. Ensure that the vendors that make it to your shortlist have sufficient experience in your field and can demonstrate tangible examples and results. Their experience will prove hugely advantageous during implementation.

3. Not Giving Your Chatbot a Personality

Common mistake:Neglecting your chatbot’s personality results in a forgettable CX and denotes a boring brand reflection. Chatbots that are missing a name, icon, personality and tone of voice will appear outdated. Whether your chatbot solution is incapable of such configuration or it has been neglected, the result will not be positive for CX.

Best practice: Ensure that the chatbot solution you choose offers flexible configuration; enabling the bot’s responses, language and grammar to match your brand’s personality and tone of voice. Certain chatbots include additional configurable search layers that ensure a conversational, on-brand response is always served.

4. Selecting A Chatbot That Cannot Provide the Right Answers

Common mistake:When companies opt for basic chatbot solutions that are not powered by AI or utilise Natural Language Processing (NLP), customer satisfaction suffers significantly. This is because the bot relies on customer queries matching its records exactly in order to produce responses. Because it is highly unlikely that every customer enters the chatbot’s exact records, a correct result is rarely produced. Instead, the chatbot replies with “I’m sorry I don’t understand your question. Please try again.”

Best practice:Always choose chatbots that are built on AI and harness the power of NLP. This ensures that regardless of how a customer phrases their query, a relevant answer will be produced. The way this works is through NLP’s sophisticated layers of search. By unpicking the query structure, it analyses each component including keywords, grammar, intent and popularity to understand context and therefore return relevant results.

To find out more about the difference between simple and AI-powered chatbots, click here.

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

5. Choosing A Solution That Cannot Escalate to A Human

Common mistake:Whilst chatbots are effective in dealing with routine questions, there will always be customers who require help with issues that are more complex and warrant human rather than artificial intelligence. When a chatbot cannot firstly identify when escalation is required and secondly, cannot provide a smooth escalation to an agent, then CX and CSAT plummet. When customers have serious issues they need resolving, having to repeat the process and their query over and over again is not ideal.

Best practice:Ensure that the chatbot solution you select offers seamless escalation options. Make sure that the chatbot can detect when it is not capable of resolving the query and that escalation to other agent-assisted channels such as live chat is stress-free, taking place in the same window. It is also key to the customer’s experience that transcripts are carried over to avoid unnecessary repetition, reducing Average Handling Times (AHT).

An example of a live chat widget

6. Making A Decision Based Solely on Pricing

Common mistake:Too many companies focus solely on finding the cheapest chatbot solution and unfortunately have to pay the price in the long run. Such solutions might seem tempting but generally end up costing you more over time. This is because lower-priced chatbots don’t utilise NLP which leads to the laborious process of manually programming lots of questions and answer pairs. Further, poor escalation provided by such solutions result in higher contact volume reaching contact centres and therefore unnecessary high support costs.

Best practice:Ensure that during your chatbot software selection process, you stick to a comprehensive list of essential requirements. Include attributes such as NLP utilisation and escalation capabilities that facilitate the escalation from chatbot to cost-effective agent-assisted channels such as live chat. This not only improves CX but minimises telephone and email queries which prove significantly more expensive to handle.

7. Choosing A Chatbot That Has A Lengthy Implementation Process

Common mistake:Commonly, the software implementation process is not discussed with the vendor. This results in companies waiting significantly longer than anticipated to have their chatbot up and running. When expectations are not discussed, the implementation process can become lengthy and this affects your customers and operational costs negatively.

Best practice:Always make sure to discuss and agree on the chatbot implementation timeline with your vendor. This avoids any confusion, manages expectations and ensures you will be up and running on time. It is also crucial to choose a chatbot that utilises low-code implementation, this makes setup simple, using one line of code and minimising the need for cross-departmental involvement.

8. Settling for A Chatbot That Cannot Be Optimised

Common mistake: Companies that opt for a chatbot solution that does not include a built-in analytics function removes the opportunity for optimisation. Without analytics that demonstrate how well your chatbot is performing in terms of resolved queries, escalation and trigger management there is no way to identify issues or plan for improvements. In other words, whilst competitors are constantly optimising their chatbots, yours remains stagnant.

Best practice:Ask your prospective chatbot vendors for a demo. Ensure that one of the areas that they show you is the software’s analytics function. Choose a chatbot that offers a comprehensive range of visual analytics that can be downloaded or viewed in a dashboard aesthetic. Such metrics will help you to identify any gaps or errors that emerge and focus on areas for optimisation and improvement so that your chatbot is working to its full potential.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about chatbots, read our guide here or for help regarding your organisational requirements, please

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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?


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