Bad software is a waste of money, but the worst software hurts revenue -- and a bad knowledge base solution can be the worst software of all because it costs you money in ways you can't easily see. And, frankly, most knowledge base solutions on the market today turn out to be secret cost centers.
Artificial intelligence can change that.There are three basic ways that a bad knowledge base hurts your revenue: by draining resources, by fumbling sales handoffs, and by increasing customer churn.
The purpose of a knowledge base solution is to serve as a one-stop resource for all your internal documentation, so that sales enablement, customer success, technical support, and product development are all working from the same points of reference, and everyone knows where to turn to for answer.
Most knowledge base solutions fail to live up to these aspirations because they require constant upkeep and oversight by a documentation team to ensure that the data housed in the knowledge base is up to date and accurate. Since many businesses don't have a documentation team, it falls to the product, marketing, sales enablement, customer success, and technical support staff to maintain their own documentation and cross-coordinate with every other department -- on top of all their other job duties.
In the best case, maintaining your knowledge base is a huge distraction that slows down revenue-generating activities for everyone involved. In the worst case, it just doesn't get done and your knowledge base is a sunk cost that delivers little to no value.
Artificial intelligence can help by serving as a "virtual managing editor" that audits your knowledge base for outdated, incorrect, or missing information and helps guide subject matter experts on your team to keep your documentation current with as little effort as possible.
Most sales departments run their campaigns out of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution like Salesforce, but closed/won deals are then handed off to implementation, success, and support teams that work out of your knowledge base. Since most knowledge bases don't deeply integrate with CRM systems, data and context is lost, and customer adoption is slowed or even fails due to miscommunication. That costs you revenue and, if it happens for every customer, that money adds up quickly.
Artificial intelligence can solve the problem by offering a virtual assistant that notes when CRM and knowledge base data don't match, and can proactively coordinate information in both systems, so nothing is lost during the sales handoff.
Finally, many knowledge bases offer a customer-facing portal where your clients diagnose and support their own technical or operational problems. These FAQs or support help desks help deflect human-managed support cases, keeping support costs down and ensuring customers can help themselves as quickly and easily as possible. But, for most knowledge bases, the same documentation maintenance issues that plague your internal teams also keep support information out of date and incomplete, thwarting the ability of your clients to support themselves.
This leads to customer dissatisfaction, more and longer support calls, and thus contributes directly to customer churn. Higher costs and more churn are serious revenue concerns for any company.
The same A.I. agents that keep your internal knowledge bases up-to-date and accurate can oversee your customer-facing support knowledge base. The virtual managing editor can keep these knowledge bases in sync, too, so customers and support staff never work from different information.
Put simply, a knowledge base is only as good as the documentation it contains, and most companies don't have the resources to ensure their knowledge base is effectively maintained. When knowledge bases are wrong, they aren't just a waste of money, they cost you money by undercutting revenue in hidden ways.
Artificial intelligence can minimize the maintenance overhead of your knowledge by deploying a virtual managing editor that keeps your data up to date and accurate.