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Is your customer support available to respond to customers’ queries within five minutes, day and night, every day of the year? That is a tough aim, no matter how skilled and hard-working your team is. But according to a McKinsey report, that is what 75% of customers expect when they contact your support.

However, a customer service rep can only handle a limited volume of queries. So, how do you keep customer satisfaction high?

Both chatbots and knowledge bases can serve your customers immediately and 24/7. In fact, 69% of customers prefer chatbots to a human customer service representative, just because they get instant replies.

But it isn’t only complex AI with natural language processing that makes a chatbot effective. A bot’s answers depend on the knowledge it can access. That’s why you need to pair it with a robust knowledge base.

As you’re here on Botsify’s blog, you’re probably already aware of the basics of how a chatbot works. Let’s start by taking a look at the other component: knowledge bases.

What is the knowledge base?

Think of a knowledge base as the central depository for storing, organizing, and sharing all the essential information in your organization.

Internal knowledge bases are often used for matters such as staff training, documenting processes, and sharing reports. External knowledge bases are often used for customer support, as customers can navigate their way to the right answer. Knowledge base articles don’t have to consist only of text but can include images, videos, or downloadable files.

So, how can a knowledge base support a chatbot to improve customer service? It helps chatbots, customer service representatives, and customers to find the answers they seek. Keeping the material well-organized makes it’s easier for staff to get an overview and update and add to the customer service articles. A knowledge base with analytics also helps you to identify the most popular topics among customers.

Benefits of combining a knowledge base with a chatbot

A chatbot and a knowledge base can work on their own to strengthen your customer service arsenal, but the real magic happens when you combine the two. So, what are the benefits of using a knowledge base with a chatbot for customer service?

Allows businesses to offer support 24/7

The evolution in customer service rapidly moves towards providing assistance around the clock. That’s what it takes to satisfy customers when 57% expect the same response time during nights and weekends as during business hours. But due to the expense, staffing a customer support team 24/7 is rarely a viable alternative—at least not for small businesses and startups.

Luckily for organizations of all sizes, this is where chatbots and knowledge bases step in and provide scalable customer service at all times. The chatbot can answer questions in the chat window or link the customer to relevant knowledge base articles. For example, a new customer can get a link to a step-by-step tutorial that helps them complete a set-up process.

According to IBM, a chatbot could solve up to 80% of routine customer service questions. Want to know what makes it even better? Multilingual bots. 

In this Botsify example, the customer writes in Chinese, and the chatbot switches from English to continue the chat in the same language:

So, not only does a chatbot make your customer service available at all times, but it can also make it available in your customer’s own language.

Saves your customer support team’s time

The chatbot and knowledge base combination doesn’t just give your customers immediate responses. It also has a positive impact on your staff. 66% of 7,000 surveyed customer service professionals felt that chatbots would help free up their time for more complex issues, and 60% felt that chatbots would let them work more effectively.

With chatbots such as Botsify, a customer service representative can step in if the chatbot can’t solve the issue:

In the case of Uberoom’s chatbot conversation above, the customer requested a human chat agent to continue the conversation.

Once a customer service agent enters the conversation, a well-structured knowledge base can help them to find solutions to the customer’s problems. 

Cuts costs and contributes to sales

The financial benefits of implementing automated customer support are difficult to dismiss. 

Firstly, a chatbot can cut customer service costs by 30%. By 2022, chatbots are expected to save companies an annual $8 billion in customer service costs, compared to $20 million in 2017.

Secondly, better customer service reduces churn. Solving an issue at first engagement can reduce customer churn with as much as 67%. The bottom line impact can be substantial, as a mere 5% improvement in customer retention can result in a 25% profit increase.

Thirdly, a customer service chatbot can go beyond solving support issues and contribute to sales by assisting customers in making reservations or purchases. For example, India Go Solar’s chatbot features an option that lets customers see current products:

The overview makes it easy for customers to review their options and continue the chat by learning more about project installation or requesting further information from customer support.

Offers ever-improving customer support

Just as its human counterparts, the AI chatbot learns on the job. Advanced chatbots use natural language processing and deep learning to analyze and learn from customer interactions. With keyword tagging and keywords collected into topics, the chatbot can continue a dialogue on a particular subject by pulling information from a knowledge base.

But while AI is vital for ever-improving chatbots, a chatbot can’t perform better than its source of knowledge. In a Chatbots Magazine article, Vaisagah Viswanathan suggests that a knowledge base can help chatbots make faster and more accurate decisions.

Luckily, building up a knowledge base of information doesn’t necessarily mean starting from scratch. During current customer service conversations, your support team is likely already generating a lot of the essential content, which can be repurposed by transcribing and editing it into knowledge base articles.

By analyzing the chatbot’s customer interactions and using a knowledge base with analytics, you can identify popular topics. This information allows for strategic content creation that improves and expands on the content that your customers—and your chatbot—need the most. With an evolving knowledge base of support articles, you further satisfy the majority of customers who prefer to use an automated self-service option to solve their issues.

Final Thoughts

To meet increasing customer demands on timeliness, it is no longer enough to have a knowledgeable and friendly customer service team. Chatbots and knowledge bases make it possible for organizations of all sizes to be available for their customers’ needs for support at all times. But automated customer support doesn’t just make customers happier—it also contributes to reduced costs for customer support, improved customer retention, and increased sales.

The complex AI and deep learning capabilities of the best of chatbots still won’t solve customer issues if the chatbot lacks the necessary information. By pairing an AI chatbot with a well-developed knowledge base, you ensure that your chatbot can handle as many standard issues as possible—leaving the more complex issues to your customer service team.

About the author

Josh Brown

Josh Brown is part of the marketing team at Helpjuice. Helpjuice provides knowledge base software that's designed from the ground up to help you scale your customer support as well as collaborate better with your team.