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Free Knowledge Base Software

What is it and how can you find a solution that suits your needs?

A common challenge that businesses face today is managing communications and interactions with customers, as well as improving internal communication between departments and within certain teams.

With the accelerated growth of new technologies and the fact that documentation standards have become an integral element of any healthy organization, the whole company must follow the same processes, operate using the same terms, and keep all vital resources in one centralized place. These resources must be available for all authorized entities.

To help businesses overcome this important challenge, the concept of knowledge bases was born. This solution works as a source of reliable information for an organization and its customers, where any process can be managed or documented (anything from product requirements to meeting minutes).

Customers often want to find the answers to their problems independently and prefer to only use the help of technical support representatives as a last resort. Given this common reality, it is essential to provide those people with the resources that they need to solve their problems.

In fact, 53% of adults who use the Internet are likely to abandon an online order if they can’t find a quick answer to their question independently (Forrester). Customers prefer to find the answers to their questions on their own and get immediate solutions rather than making a call, waiting online, or talking to a representative.

That’s why a knowledge base, whether it’s paid or a  free knowledge base system, is a fundamental element of any organization that wants to provide the best customer experience possible. It should be given an even higher priority for businesses that are in a stage of accelerated growth. 

There are currently dozens of free knowledge base software types and paid alternatives that allow companies to create a knowledge base efficiently. 

That is why it is important for any decision-maker within a company to be aware of the importance of such a solution. They should also know that the implementation of a free knowledge base tool may have a considerable impact on the customer experience, customer satisfaction, and, as a result, on the company’s bottom line.

But before we move on to analyzing the various advantages of knowledge bases, let’s start with the basics. 

A knowledge base – what is it?

A knowledge base is a special type of database that allows the adequate management of information within a company. Knowledge base software allows companies to collect, organize, and recover data related to an organization and its processes in a digitized way.

It can be said that a knowledge base is a centralized repository of information, which, depending on the solution used to implement it, offers diverse functionalities to both collect the information and to disseminate it among its users.

In general, a knowledge base, no matter if it is created using free knowledge base software or a paid solution, is a dynamic resource rather than a static set of information. It can be edited internally by managers or customer service agents, and externally by customers, users, or community members who participate in customer forum discussions. 

Nowadays, customers are becoming more and more engaged in proactive communication with brands. According to Forrester, 81% of adults who use the Internet have utilized knowledge bases and FAQ pages for finding answers to their questions.

Free Knowledge Base Software

A free knowledge base tool works as a source of information regarding different aspects of a certain product or service, such as solutions to various technical problems or errors reported by tools, manuals, advanced tutorials, tips, descriptions of system updates, and problems that have been fixed. Thanks to this, customers are able to use products or services more efficiently without relying so heavily on technical support or assistance from customer service representatives.

How does knowledge base software work?

Knowledge base software is all about sharing and storing accumulated collective experience and knowledge. It also aims to present and describe all of the techniques, processes, and operations that are used within the organization.

A knowledge base helps provide customers and users with quick solutions to common problems. Through an intuitive WYSIWYG editor, this solution helps capture, organize, and publish resourceful information, making it available to users, teams, and customers.

A top-rated free knowledge base system will give companies a set of tools that they can use to build their own internal portal and customize it based on all of the stakeholders’ needs. Such solutions simplify many tasks such as creating knowledge repositories, categories, and articles, ensuring knowledge retention, and increasing team productivity. They also guarantee the security of the articles thanks to configurable  authorization according to user groups, functions, and departments, among others.

Free Knowledge Base Software

In all reliable solutions, articles can be created from other components, such as workflow, incident management, and problem management.

The search mechanism in reliable, free knowledge base software allows users to find answers that exist in the knowledge base instantly. This saves time that service agents would otherwise have to spend on answering simple questions,  leaving them with more opportunities to help customers with complex problems.

Must-have features of top-rated free knowledge base software

As mentioned above, there are dozens of knowledge base systems on the market. However, as with everything, there are some reliable solutions and there are some that won’t meet your expectations. How can you tell them apart? 

When choosing a knowledge base software, even if it’s a free knowledge base tool, make sure that it allows you to perform the following actions:

  • Create and organize articles that provide effective answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Supports creating an article in different languages and presents the content according to user preferences.
  • Easy set-up process. 
  • Shares knowledge in different self-service portals customized for each user profile, if required.
  • Manages separate articles within a knowledge base according to subjects, departments, products, and tags.
  • Provides its own text editor (such as LiveAgent’s WYSIWYG editor), allowing the formatting of articles according to an organization’s own specific standards. 
  • Enables creating a personalized knowledge base according to each company’s particular branding guidelines.
  • Keeps content updated and relevant through an article review process with an approval stage.
  • Manages the security of articles by offering control over viewing, editing, or excluding them.
  • Integrates with other solutions provided by the same company, as LiveAgent does for example. 
  • Allows you to create and manage Wikis, as well as pages nested within them, by using tags.
  • Provides in-app notifications.
  • Allows invitations to be sent to team members via email.
  • Offers the possibility to assign different roles and permissions to employees.
  • Enables users to conduct discussions using comments.
  • Makes it possible for users and customers to write their own entries to help each other out.
  • Provides reusable page templates.
  • Has an efficient knowledge base search engine.

Advantages of using a free knowledge base tool 

A well-used and well-developed free knowledge base system can considerably improve the performance of customer service agents and positively influence customer satisfaction levels.

The benefits of implementing a knowledge base can be divided into two groups, namely business benefits and customer benefits, which are listed below. 

Customer benefits:

  • Resolution time is much faster.
  • Support and assistance is available 24/7.
  • Users can find answers to their questions on their own.
  • The solution meets customer needs.

Business benefits:

  • Offline help can be provided at a relatively low cost.
  • Reliable customer service and care can be offered.
  • Internal knowledge-sharing within the company is endorsed.

Let’s discuss the six advantages of implementing  free knowledge base software (or a paid version.)

  1. Providing accurate information to solve customer problems 

A well-designed and correctly-maintained knowledge base increases performance levels and reduces time spent searching for solutions to customer queries. With optimization, everything can be found in a few seconds. Your customers will also be able to search for answers to their questions by using certain categories or filters. This will speed up the resolution of their problems and improve their perception of your services.

Free Knowledge Base Software
  1. Assisting clients step by step in an efficient and simplified way 

Simplicity makes it easier for customers and service agents to find the right solutions to common or repetitive issues. One may be tempted to create a broad category of self-service content, but this is usually a mistake. Describing complex aspects within one knowledge base article or tagging various entries with the same labels makes it difficult and confusing for all users to quickly resolve their problems.

Using a consistent and easy-to-understand writing style within a free knowledge base tool is very useful for:

  • Guiding the client step by step.
  • Avoiding the use of technical jargon.
  • Making your client feel connected to your brand or product.
  1. Constantly gathering customer feedback

An effective way to improve your product or service is to collect customer feedback daily, and act upon your findings. To do so, you need to leverage a database that has been created based on vital information that these users share. But how do you get customer feedback?

It’s not rocket science. The answer lies in simply asking your clients what they think. This is an insightful method that you can apply through:

  • Monitoring entries that are published on the customer portal (which is part of any reliable knowledge base)
  • Questions and Answers (FAQs)
  • Online surveys via email or live chat.

Survey emails should be sent out with an interesting and eye-catching subject line that captures and holds the reader’s attention, increasing the possibility of receiving feedback.

And then, the keys to success are:

  • Making proper use of the information that has been collected.
  • Customizing the knowledge base to ensure customer satisfaction.
  1. Focusing on customer priorities

Support operations must be a part of a strategy that strives for effective customer relationship management and support.

By enabling the use of predictive analytical tools, it is possible to:

  • Analyze trends within customer queries.
  • Anticipate what users want and need.
  • Provide practical services and information in real-time.
  1. A know-how strategy for delivering consistent answers from a well-developed customer service team

A knowledge base should use strategic, detailed, and contain simplified content so that customers can find what they need easily.

It is advisable to avoid cramming large amounts of information into the database, as this is likely to be a waste of time. Sharing relevant data can improve the performance levels of your technical support service, instead of distracting readers. If self-service content is well classified, it’s much easier for any user to access, contributing to the perception of your company as a great service provider.

  1. Tracking trends and updating the provided information

A piece of reliable free knowledge base software should enable you to run an analysis to determine current trends and track what customers are looking for most often. With this feature, you can update the provided information and optimize the results to provide customers with the solutions that they are looking for. Utilizing this strategy brings benefits that translate into increased efficiency and successfully delivering exceptional and consistent customer service.

Free knowledge base software: best practices

Creating a knowledge base, even when using a free knowledge base system, is usually a quite simple job. However, especially when just starting off, you may need some tips to help you get started. Below are some of the best practices that you should follow to create a cutting-edge knowledge base system.

Keep it simple

Ideally, a knowledge base should be built through the expertise of a team of well-trained service agents. However, you should keep in mind that not everyone who will access and use this self-service database is an expert, so make sure that terminology is well defined by using clear and simple language.

Prioritize information

It would be great if you could accumulate all the knowledge that is created and shared within your organization into one knowledge base. However, considering the volume of data that would have to be managed, creating such a large base is often not possible. That is why it is advisable to prioritize the stored information based on the most common user queries. In this manner, you can start creating a knowledge base with only the most useful information.

Give your team the right tools

The characteristics of a knowledge base can vary from one company to another, and a disorderly accumulation of information can sometimes create confusion. To keep all information organized and up-to-date, you should create and automate your knowledge base using dedicated software that offers reliable features. In this way, you will be able to easily centralize and streamline access to knowledge within your organization.

How to choose the best free knowledge base software

You should consider the following factors to find the best free knowledge base software for your company.

  • How many customer queries does your company receive daily?
  • Do customers ask repetitive questions?
  • How are complex issues reported by customers/users?
  • Would you be able to assign one or two employees to manage the contents of the knowledge base?
  • Do you already have some knowledge base-like articles?

Based on your answers, conduct market research by conducting a simple Google search or by consulting software review sites to find the most suitable solutions. Top rated free knowledge base software will offer solutions for businesses of all sizes and from all industries, so it’s just a matter of defining your priorities, and establishing a budget (even when using a free knowledge base system).

Great customer service doesn't mean that the customer is always right, it means that the customer is always honored.

Chris LoCurto - Leadership and business coach

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