What is a Knowledge Base?
In this Age of Information, it no wonders that you have come across the word “Knowledge base” multiple times on the Internet especially if you are a businessman or a person involved in directly/indirectly in a business. So, let us see what this Knowledge Base is.
A Knowledge Base (KB) is a software which captures human knowledge, converts it into a machine-readable form and uses this knowledge to solve problems which only human could solve. It is a well-organized database which allows the user to perform semantic and logical operations.
NOTE: Knowledge base could also refer to the content of a particular field of knowledge for example, I could say “I have a good Knowledge Base for Psychology” which would mean that I have general background knowledge for studying Psychology as a discipline.
But the Knowledge base which we are referring here is a computer software which is proving to be significantly helping in business.
Knowledge Base and Knowledge management
The efficiency of a Knowledge base highly depends on how the system manages the knowledge. Hence, a range of strategies known as Knowledge management which enables you to create, curate, share and manage knowledge across the whole company is the crucial factor for a Knowledge base .
Knowledge management focuses on improving self-service, i.e., a person tries to find information by themselves without other person’s help. It gives faster access to the relevant articles without having to go through irrelevant ones, thereby providing competitive advantages in terms of time and energy and improves the performance of a person or a company to a great extent.
Know more about Knowledge management (KM)
Applications of Knowledge Base
In 1980’s Knowledge base systems were first used in Expert systems were among the first truly successful forms of artificial intelligence (AI) software. Since then, they have been applied in various fields and platforms.
A major change in their application was brought by the Internet. With the rise of the Internet, documents, hypertext, and multimedia support were critical for corporate databases. They are mainly applied in Knowledge application technologies which include:
- expert systems
- decision support systems
- advisor systems
- fault diagnosis (or troubleshooting) systems
- help desk systems.
See the Best Knowledge Base Software
Is knowledge base same as a database?
A database is an organized body of related information. It behaves like an adequate storeroom in which can store all things in the house. It can store everything and will give everything it has on the matter, and one has to search what he/she wants within the massive pile of data. Inventory systems, and library software etc., are examples of databases.
Knowledge base on the other hand, is precise, like getting an expert opinion on a specific problem or a query. It is smarter than a database and has a logic behind all of the data it contains and understands the rationale behind each question and provides only the relevant results. In short, Knowledge base gives easy access to accurate and consistent information.
Knowledge Base and Wiki
At first glance, Knowledge base and Wiki might feel like the same, but there is a fundamental difference between them.
The Wikis are primarily a collaborative tool in which people from all over the world can contribute to the contents. The famous world renown Wiki is the Wikipedia. In Wikipedia, all the articles are created, edited, and collaborated by people from all over the world, and if one reader disagrees with the content, they can edit the content and publish it instantly. Though this makes knowledge sharing faster, the accuracy and legitimacy of the articles are questionable, and due to the vast number of contributors, the articles could be inconsistent and inaccurate.
Knowledge base are specially appointed resources, in which articles are written with clarity and proficiency. The items in Knowledge base are written by experts in the respected fields. It is ensured that readers get expert opinions which are accurate and consistent.
In Knowledge base, readers are users or user groups, and the articles are made explicitly keeping them in mind. The critical aspect of Knowledge base is the user being able to ask questions and get accurate answers.
Knowledge Base Examples
Many corporates are using Knowledge base systems mainly for their Web Content Management. Knowledge base has helped many companies to grasp the digital workspace which has efficiently increased their General communication, Peer-peer collaboration, Idea generation and innovation and sharing and retrieving of flies.
One example of a big company relying on Knowledge base is Microsoft which had developed its Product support service website as a Knowledge base .It came to best use when havoc broke out during Microsoft’s release of its first version of Windows Vista which had multiple malfunctions (bugs) and errors. Millions of Windows users were in need of support and Knowledge base came to their rescue. Most of the customers were able to find help using Microsoft support website without having to make actual contact with Support staff.
Another example of Knowledge base is Salesforce Knowledge base software which is used for Customer relationship management (CRM). This software stores, customer contact information like names, addresses, and phone numbers, as well as keeps track of customer activity like website visits, phone calls, email, etc.,
By organizing nearly all of the world’s information, Google has become the world’s most famous search engine. But can we do more? Can we organize all this information in a better way? The world’s answer to these questions is called the Knowledge engine which tries to understand the query rather than merely searching for keywords. The Knowledge engine is just one future application of Knowledge base much more are in development.
Open-source and Free Knowledge Base
A Knowledge base is widely used to help small businesses and customer service, teams. They are built on different platforms depending on the platform which the business and support websites are built. Some of these Knowledge base are Free Knowledge Base and are available to download as an Open-source Knowledge Base.
But in the World of Technology, a Knowledge base requires constant support and updates to meet the advancements and competition from other companies. Hence, a premium Knowledge base is better equipped to meet our needs rather than Open-source and Free Knowledge base.
Knowledge base software Vs. Knowledge base plugin
Knowledge base software is hosted knowledge base solution provided as a service with a monthly subscription like Zendesk, Freshdesk etc., There are maintained by the company and you only get access while you pay the monthly/annual subscription.
Knowledge base plugin is self-hosted knowledge base solution which comes as an extension for CMS (Content Management Systems) like WordPress. They can be free and paid knowledge base solutions. They are cheaper than a knowledge base software and for premium knowledge base plugins like Helpie you pay on an annual subscription.
Key features of a Powerful Knowledge Base:
Preference to ordered articles
According to a Forrester report, self-service has a better satisfaction rating than virtual agent interaction. Customers don’t like to call for support because the support staff take a lot of time to understand their query and often put the customer on hold. They prefer to find help by themselves and hence look for support articles.
So creating a well-structured and categorized support articles is the key. A Knowledge base which can help create a dashboard with a table of contents and a drag and drop feature to change the order of contents could come in handy for managing the articles.
Save time and money
If you are running a company, especially a startup then you will have a ton of support work to do which takes a lot of time. You would also spend a ton of money in finding the most talented people to take care of your customers. This can be efficiently reduced by using a Knowledge base which helps the customers to find support articles by themselves, hence saving the company a lot of time and money. An excellent knowledge base can dramatically reduce the money spent on customer support.
Better customer experience
Search is the core feature the help the customers to find the right help quickly. A power search in your Knowledge base can do wonders for your user’s experience. This feature would have Instant Ajax search (an algorithm that searches for keywords in contents) which is incredibly fast and accurate and so getting the best help in a minimal amount of time.
Provides a feedback system with Insights
Customers often feel that the content in the support articles does not match their expectations. So getting customer feedback is essential to meet the customer’s needs. Having a Knowledge base which provides a voting system for your articles and an insight engine to help you get the best insights to improve your self-help articles.
They will help you see:
- What users are searching for
- How popular your articles are
- Whether your articles are hitting the mark and resolving customer queries
- More liked/disliked articles
- Overall user happiness score
- Your most happy/unhappy customers
Restrict access to your content
Let’s say that support is a premium feature for your product which you want to give only to paying customer, or you have two different contents for types of customers or customer groups (example, a long-time, and a new customer). Then you will need a Knowledge base to provide User Access Control with added password protection which will let you restrict each customer to limited support content.
Easy documentation and Editing
The nature of support content itself is to be reviewed continuously and edited based on user experience. For this purpose, easy product documentation, and editing feature is needed. A Knowledge base should have Frontend Editing (editing of page content directly by just clicking a link) feature which can enable the user to do the necessary editing. Frontend Editing is super useful and easy to edit.
Increase your domain authority
Customers will search for support articles mostly on search engines like Google and because of your Knowledge base articles which are easy to find with keywords which are optimized for Search, there is more traffic to your domain. This increases your site’s SEO and domain authority. Having a good Knowledge base is marketing in itself.
Support for Knowledge base
A Knowledge base software which could be added to your website in forms such as add-ons and plugins. We all know that all software could malfunction and create errors. When you are doing business worth millions of dollars it can damage you big time if there is a malfunction. That is why you need a 24/7 support team ready for your call for help if such a situation arises.
WordPress Knowledge Base plugins
WordPress powers almost 29% of the whole internet, and many of the popular e-commerce and business websites are also built on WordPress. There are various knowledge base plugins available for WordPress. They help your users and customers find documents and FAQs with an organized knowledge base.
Most powerful Knowledge base plugin
Most powerful and advanced WordPress knowledge base plugin is the Helpie. All the features mentioned above are met entirely by Helpie, and much more features are also available. It is a is a simple and powerful plugin for you to organize documentation/knowledge of any kind for your WordPress website.
You can try Helpie for free with the 7 day free trial option. Try Helpie Now!
You can also try a demo of how a Knowledge base works. Try KB Demo!