Keeping your customer base happy is a fundamental element of owning a business. Although there are several ways of doing this, like customer loyalty programs and receiving feedback, one often overlooked option is the use of knowledge management software.
Equipping your customers with knowledge about how best to use your product or service is a surefire way to keep them coming back for new offerings you launch.
However, identifying this knowledge is only half the battle. Once information is collected, you need a way to distill it into a consumable format as well as organize, share, and analyze it. Without these steps, your newfound knowledge won't have much power at all. The good news is that there are a number of knowledge management systems available today to help you with these steps.
In this blog post, here's what we'll review:
- What Is Knowledge Management Software?
- Benefits of Knowledge Management Software
- Open Source Knowledge Base
- Best Knowledge Management Software
Let's get started.
What is knowledge management software?
Knowledge management software organizes information so that employees and customers can quickly access and distribute it. This technology pools data into one collective resource, preventing data silos and making it easier to find information. By having all knowledge in one location, stakeholders know exactly where to go when they have questions about your business.
Knowledge management software also includes options for content creation such as a knowledge base which can be used by both your customers and your employees. These customer self-service options improve the customer experience because users can find quick and simple solutions without calling into support.
Benefits of Knowledge Management Software
Knowledge management software provides a wide range of benefits, including:
1. Personalized Customer Service Interactions
When customer data is readily available, service agents can use this information to personalize the customer experience.
For example, if your team uses a CRM, you can store data about past interactions with your customers. Then, you can recall that information the next time the customer reaches out to your business. This builds a long-term relationship with your customers which improves service experiences and prevents churn.
2. Faster Support Solutions
The purpose of knowledge management software is to centralize information. When that happens, both employees and customers can solve problems faster.
Employees know where to find important resources, and customers can use self-service solutions to overcome common roadblocks. And, when your team provides faster solutions, you can expect an increase in customer satisfaction.
3. Reduced Service Volume
Adding a knowledge base to your website is a major advantage for your customer service team. Common and simple customer problems no longer require an agent to solve them.
Instead, customers can seek out their own solutions without picking up the phone or writing an email. When you remove these simple cases from your support queue, your service team can spend more time focusing on complex and urgent issues.
Next, let's talk about what an open source knowledge base is, what makes this type of knowledge base unique, and why you'd want to use one.
Open Source Knowledge Base
An open source knowledge base is a platform that is typically built by software engineers who work for the company that needs the knowledge base. Open source knowledge bases are highly customizable which makes them applicable in virtually any business or industry.
Let's talk about some more reasons why you might want an open source knowledge base.
Benefits and Common Use Cases for an Open Source Knowledge Base
Here are some benefits and common use cases for when and why you'd want your knowledge base to be open source.
- Customize it to your liking because it's built in-house (or built by a developer you hire).
- Save money because the original, modifiable code for open source knowledge bases is free.
- Rely on internal experts and developers for support when using and growing your knowledge base (versus paying for access to a SaaS knowledge base's support team).
- Integrate your knowledge base with other software you already use (this is typically simple since a developer will be building it).
- Self-host your knowledge base on your own server versus another product's server.
- Don't limit scalability or potential for growth with a pre-built SaaS knowledge base.
13 Best Knowledge Management Software
- HubSpot Knowledge Base Software
- ProProfs Knowledge Base
- Bitrix 24
Price: $360 per month for Professional Service Hub
HubSpot's Knowledge Base Software is a powerful tool that saves your team valuable time when building your knowledge base. It integrates with other channels that are used for rep-to-customer interaction such as email and chat — this helps users find your knowledge base and the most relevant content to them within it. You'll also get an in-depth view of powerful metrics including: engagement, sentiment, search, tickets and conversations, ticket deflection, and maintenance suggestions.
- Quick set up time
- SEO capability
- Engaging user experience
- Performance insights tools
Pricing: Free Starter Plan
Guru is a software designed to connect all of your company's data together. It uses AI to suggest information to your reps in real-time, so your team doesn't have to search for data during a service interaction.
Also, the more you use Guru, the better the software gets. Since it's machine-learning, Guru will improve its performance over time and adjust to your team's day-to-day workflow.
- Automated onboarding for employees
- Microsoft Teams Integration
- Knowledge Alerts for real time learning updates
Pricing: $99 for the Startup plan
Document360 is a knowledge management software that helps you create a knowledge base portal quickly. It can create product documentation, user manuals, wiki, FAQ pages, help documentation, and more for your customers and internal teams.
Document360 enables 24/7 self-service that reduces the volume of customer tickets and provides instant support to users. It's highly customizable and can help authors remain productive and produce high-quality work with features like a rich editor, category manager, and real-time search engine.
- Product documentation support
- User manuals
- Rich editor
- Real-time search engine
Price: 14-day free trial
Helpjuice has unique customization tools that let you design every aspect of your knowledge base. This includes styling options that make layouts more user-friendly to your readers.
Authors can also work together on new posts and share page previews prior to publishing. If they make a mistake, every revision is recorded so you can revert to previous versions of your post when needed.
- User-friendly style options
- Unlimited text formatting
- Easy team collaboration on content
- Ability to revert to past versions
ClickUp is an all-in-one productivity platform built for teams across industries. Its Free Forever Plan is packed with a range of powerful and customizable features to accommodate any type of work—including a dynamic document editor for knowledge management: ClickUp Docs.
Create beautifully formatted knowledge bases in ClickUp Docs that can be connected to workflows, making executing ideas easier than ever before. Work alongside your team with collaborative detection and editing, customize your visual hierarchy using nested pages, format with headers, tables, lists, upload media to make your writing stand out, and more. Easily protect your Docs with privacy and edit controls—create shareable links and manage permissions for the team, guests, or public access.
Scribe is a knowledge management and sharing platform that allows teams to quickly create and share their documentation. With the Chrome extension or desktop application, Scribe captures your screen while you complete a process, then turns your work into a step-by-step guide. Those Scribes can be shared with a link or embedded within an existing knowledge base. Teams can also access shared Scribes in folders, or multiple Scribes can be combined with other content into larger Pages.
Scribe can be used as a standalone product for knowledge sharing, or it can be used in conjunction with the other tools on this list. Scribe is used for internal and external knowledge management, knowledge base articles, SOPs, technical documentation, and more.
- Free Chrome extension with unlimited document creation and users
- Automatic screenshots, screen capturing, and written instructions
- Suggested Scribes that recommend the most popular guides for different software and tools
Pricing: $30 per month for the Essentials Plan
ProProfs Knowledge Base is a simple, yet powerful tool that helps you provide instant self-help support to your customers as well as employees. Suitable for small businesses and enterprises, this tool can be used to write knowledge base articles from scratch, import existing word docs or PDF files, and publish in a single click.
The tool provides a variety of professionally-designed templates to get started quickly. Moreover, its built-in reporting system gives insights into what questions people are looking for and what they are not finding answers to. You can use this data to improve and update your knowledge base accordingly.
- Import existing word documents and PDFs
- Built-in templates and analytics reporting
- Private knowledge base access available
8. Bitrix 24
Bitrix 24 is a free, open source knowledge base that simplifies the processes of organizing and sharing information. The software is suitable for all businesses including SMBS and enterprises.
The Bitrix24 code is entirely modifiable so you can completely customize your knowledge base. You can also integrate various apps with your knowledge base to enhance its capabilities.
- Free software with unlimited users
- Six collaboration tools
- Built-in CRM and website builder
Price: $8 for Sabio Team
Sabio positions itself as a "serviceware solution" that's designed to get you the best return from your company's data. It's a constantly updating system that frequently rolls out new perks and features.
One of its most notable features is the "Tree" tool that lets users quickly browse through related articles in your knowledge base. This improves UX because it proactively suggests content that's relevant to a user's goals.
- Password protection and Serviceware monitoring
- Filtered search results ranked according to five factors
- Pre-set automated workflows
Price: $10 for the Starter Plan
Quip has a powerful documents tool that lets you create or upload new knowledge base articles. You can upload spreadsheets, slideshows, customer conversations, and an array of file types to ensure all of your company data is stored in one place.
Quip also comes with an internal chat function so your team can work together when creating content. By collaborating in real-time, your team will avoid miscommunication that typically leads to inaccurate or confusing content.
- Flexible templates
- Unlimited documents
- Mobile-ready spreadsheets
- Team chat rooms
Price: Contact for Pricing
ServiceNow offers knowledge management solutions that are both internal and customer-facing. The internal options help IT teams manage and record incoming service requests by saving service interactions to a central database. This helps IT teams create knowledge base articles that are based on common employee problems.
- Machine learning capabilities
- Feedback management
- KCS v6 verification
Price: $25 for the Basic Plan
Bloomfire is a cloud-based knowledge management software that encourages both employees and customers to be self-sufficient. It uses AI-generated tags to categorize information, making your most-used data easier to access.
It also supports a wide range of integrations so you can connect tools like Slack, Dropbox, and Google Drive to your central database. This way, you can upload existing documents into Bloomfire and then transform them into self-service knowledge base articles.
- Automated content tagging
- Unlimited storage
- Usage reporting insights
Price: Free to start
Tettra is a knowledge management solution designed for internal teams. It's intuitive, and has an interface that's easy to use and navigate. Its most notable feature is its Slack option that lets users ask questions through their Slack app. This way, employees can search and share answers from your knowledge base without leaving their internal messaging tool.
- 30-day version history
- Slack Q&A
- Google groups integration
Price: Contact for pricing
IntelligenceBank is an all-in-one tool that helps your service team align with your sales and marketing efforts. For example, in addition to its service features, it also has sales enablement features that ensure your sales team has the most current customer data. These options let sales reps customize proposals and send alerts to managers whenever new items are available.
- 250+ GB of data storage
- Project calendar and planner
- Online document management with advanced search
Price: Contact for pricing
OpenKM is an open source knowledge base and content management system. It helps organize, share, and evaluate the information you want in your knowledge base.
With OpenKM you have the ability to create more than one content library as well as provide access to your website visitors and entire org (e.g. say you were building an internal directory).
- Open-source knowledge base
- Review, approval, and validation workflows
- Task management
Whether you're using knowledge management software for internal or external use, you'll want to keep these tools in mind before your next onboarding.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.