Knowledge is the lifeblood of a business. It is the sum of everything that the business has been able to accomplish over its existence, as well as the collection of less important information that relates to the specific functionalities of products/services or general business operations. Since a business lacks the ability to physically store knowledge (it has no brain) knowledge is therefore stored primarily in the minds of employees, and as employees transition away from the business they tend to take the knowledge with them and new employees of the business are left to try to recover the knowledge or to relearn the knowledge - this is inefficient. Additionally, knowledge can be stored in numerous other places, such as post-it notes, word documents, physical documents in a file cabinet or random files on a hard drive – this too is inefficient. The inability to quickly and easily access knowledge becomes especially important when dealing with a customer service organization, where agents must be able to respond to customer queries quickly and accurately. The knowledge base was created to solve these issues and to allow a business to store its knowledge in a single location
What Exactly is A Knowledge Base?
A knowledge base is a software tool that allows you to store all of your knowledge in a single location. The knowledge base works similar to the way your brain works, letting you create and organize knowledge and retrieve it as needed. In a typical knowledge base multiple people are able to create knowledge articles, once created these may be searched by a predefined group of employees or customers. A good knowledge base will allow you to add content in many formats, text, image, video…, it will support the creation of decision tree documents, will be fully searchable, and may even support different languages.
Types of Knowledge Bases
There are a few basic types of knowledge bases; there are knowledge bases that are only visible to you/your agents (internal knowledge base) and ones that can be accessed by your customers (self-service knowledge base). Once you know whether you are looking for an internal or self service knowledge base, you should consider a professional knowledge base versus a knowledge base that is part of a CRM tool, such as SalesForce.
- Professional Knowledge Base: A professional knowledge base is one that is offered as a stand alone tool. Typically this knowledge base is offered by a company that specializes in knowledge management. One example of a professional knowledge base is Knowledge Center, which is a product offered by Unymira. Knowledge Center is a highly customizable, stand alone knowledge base that allows customers to benefit from a high variety of features. Unymira Knowledge Center even has a built in E-learning capability, this can greatly reduce your need for an external E-learning tool.
- CRM Tool Knowledge Base: Many CRM companies such as SalesForce or SharePoint have started to offer a basic knowledge base within their software suite. Although this may be a good starter option to get you introduced to the concept of a knowledge base, these knowledge bases often fall short and are difficult to navigate by customers.
How to Choose A Knowledge Base
When it comes to choosing the best knowledge base for your needs there are many things that you should consider. You should consider the many benefits that a professional knowledge base may offer in comparison to a CRM tool. If you have a large call center, with many agents who will be creating and modifying content it is recommended that you choose a KB that lets agents quickly create content.
We would recommend that you request a demo from multiple knowledge base providers before making a final decision.