Best Knowledge Management Software in 2022: 8 Attributes to Look For
Contact center agents need an effective knowledge management software
Agents are constantly searching for answers to complex consumer questions but struggle to find and share what matters because of an overwhelming flood of information generated from countless sources.
In short, customer service needs knowledge management.
Forrester had asked 5000 consumers, “What created the biggest pain when you contacted a business for customer service?” The answer was loud and clear—the lack and consistency of agent knowledge, and the difficulty of finding relevant answers on company websites.
And the best knowledge management software is that which is most effective.
But what does an effective software do?
And what attributes or features make the software effective?
The Gartner Market Guide for Customer Service Knowledge Management Systems, Sep 2022
What makes an effective knowledge management software?
The best knowledge management software provides all of these things to be effective and successful:
- Accurate resolutions to customers’ issues
- Consistent answers across agents, channels, and touchpoints
- Information that is compliant with regulations and best practices
- Proactive delivery of customer service
What are the attributes of the best knowledge management software?
If you are planning to knowledge-enable your website and contact center for customer service, you should look for these 8 characteristics in the solution and the solution provider to maximize your odds of success: Findability, federated search, personalization, AI guidance, compliance, two-way integrations, omnichannel knowledge base, and analytics.
A successful knowledge management infrastructure finds accurate answers fast when the customer is on the line and the pressure is on. It allows users (customers on websites or mobile apps and agents in contact centers) flexible search options for greatest effect, by letting them pick and choose the quickest path to the answer. At the same time, the software also provides businesses the ability to structure the “find” path to match each agent’s level of expertise and understanding of regulatory requirements.
These are some ways an agent can find an answer:
- Keyword search
- Natural language search
- Federated search
- Topic tree browsing
- AI-guided dialog
2. Federated Search
Content resides in unstructured formats, in disparate formal and informal sources—CRM systems, content management systems, document management systems, social web, online communities. Sometimes, “power users” know more about products than even the companies that make them. The best knowledge management software federate search, compiling answers from multiple sources so that relevant information can be presented for a query. The system helps to “harvest” answers from external systems and routes them for quality control and publishing as trusted knowledge.
Finding accurate answers and getting to resolution is good, but the user’s quest for answers can be full of twists and turns that can be very time consuming to work through. Successful knowledge software increase speed-to-answer by being hyper-relevant right from the start by personalizing for customer preferences, agent roles, and agent skills.
The knowledge system should be able to personalize for authenticated customers and anonymous prospects alike while making it easy to deliver accurate knowledge from the knowledge base.
4. AI Guidance
While an important business use of knowledge management is finding answers, next-gen KM systems can guide agents and customers through next-best steps in their conversations and processes. After all, today’s millennial agents (and customers) are used to being guided in all aspects of life! According to a survey by Experian, the use of smartphone GPS apps for driving is 26% higher for millennials than for boomers.
Smart knowledge management uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to take guidance to the next level. AI-infused knowledge management software can handhold agents through customer interactions based on organizational best practices and regulatory requirements for automated compliance. The output might be step-by-step guidance toward a customer goal like problem resolution or even a go/no-go decision. AI-led knowledge has many applications in customer engagement, from customer service to sales.
Don’t be fooled by pretenders like rigid scripting and rule-based systems that claim guidance. They tend to put agents and customers in conversation cul-de-sacs, especially when the customer goes off-script (which is not uncommon) and can’t make mid-course adjustments to move the interaction towards the customer goal. These imposters are products of legacy systems that are difficult and expensive to maintain.
Staying compliant with government and industry regulations and enterprise best practices can be very challenging. Every kind of business saw this challenge when the world was hit by a pandemic and customers went digital overnight and contact centers became hundreds of work-from-home centers. Around 70% of compliance professionals expect increased regulations, 59% expect increased personal liability, and 69% expect compliance staffing costs to rise. A mature, AI-guided knowledge system enables your business to stay current with ever-changing industry regulations– particularly in highly-regulated industries. — whether it’s for content, access, process, or interaction.
For example, a marquee global bank uses eGain’s AI Knowledge to guide advisors through a step-by-step dialog and industry-compliant questions as they qualify and onboard small business clients.
6. Two-Way Integrations
Mature knowledge management software can partner with “systems of record” providers. They should tightly integrate with call center infrastructure, CRM, and content management solutions so that customers and agents get conversational guidance and accurate answers across touchpoints.
A mature software like eGain Knowledge Hub enables out-of-the-box integrations and can also be embedded in agent desktops, where customer service reps or agents can find fast, accurate answers for customer questions by simply clicking on a “Solve” tab or button. eGain Knowledge is bootstrapped with expanded context from third-party systems for speedy problem resolution.
7. Omnichannel Knowledge Base
Clearly, the world has gone omnichannel, with omnichannel penetration of commerce at anywhere from 35% (healthcare) to 65% (consumer electronics.) And it is no secret that mobile is a big part of omnichannel.
To be effective, the knowledge software delivers consistent and channel-tailored knowledge on any channel or device. It supports mobile, whether it is the mobile web with responsive design or an app and can bootstrap a human-assisted service conversation or an autonomous remote fix from device data.
Measure to manage. Your knowledge management environment should be quantifiable. The software should facilitate measurement of your knowledge capability. Is your knowledge base delivering? Are the knowledge articles answering the right questions? Where are the bottlenecks? When you have the insights, you can finetune your knowledge base quickly and frequently. Make quick authoring changes to improve an article, make improvements in processes, tweak agent schedule, and improve operations.
If you are looking for a knowledge vendor, make sure that you check for these 8 characteristics. When all the elements fall in their place, knowledge management transforms customer service. We can help.
The right knowledge software improves adoption of the system: Customer stories
Adoption is key to the success of a new system. And adoption happens when the knowledge system delivers on its potential.
When agents start to realize that using the AI-powered knowledge management software is more beneficial versus not using the knowledge system, adoption improves. Like what happened at this telecom company.
More resources about knowledge
Leading CRM and contact center systems integrate with eGain’s knowledge management software for customer engagement
All about knowledge management
- Knowledge base software
- What is knowledge management?
- Knowledge management tools
- How to choose the best knowledge management platform
Improving call center metrics with knowledge management
Agent Experience is Missing an Ingredient
Thought leadership offer
- From Gartner: 7 best practices for knowledge management
- Takeaways from the field: Knowledge Management ROI: Examples from the Global 1000
Forbes thought leadership
- The Missing Ingredient In Digital Transformation Targeting Customer Engagement
- Customer Self-Service: How To Take It To The Next Level
- Modern Knowledge Management Systems For Contact Center Agents: The Benefits And How To Choose One
Knowledge management software providers
There are as many types of knowledge management vendors as there is requirement for knowledge. Some of the names include:
- SharePoint (Microsoft)