Month: May 2024

Since the birth of search engines like Google and Yahoo in the early 1990s, the never-ending battle between creativity and SEO has been a hot topic. And finding a balance between the two has never been more important, whether you run a small business or a global organization. But what does “good” mean, and how do you achieve it?

Ever experienced a tech problem that restarting your device just doesn’t fix? We’ve all been there. If you love fast resolutions like I do, you’ll do a quick Google search related to your problem. As long as the device manufacturer has done its job right, you’ll find a solution within seconds — on the company’s knowledge base.

Over the years, I’ve visited hundreds of knowledge bases, and I’ve helped design and write plenty, too. So what have I got to show for it? More product information and the ability to tell good knowledge bases from bad.

If you’re curious about knowledge bases, stick around. I’ll explain what they are and why you need them. Then, I’ll share the best help desk knowledge base examples to show you what an excellent knowledge base should look like. Let’s dive in.

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Table of Contents


What is a Knowledge Base?

A knowledge base is a hub for information related to a company’s product or service. There are no clear-cut rules for the type of content a knowledge base must contain. What’s more, it’s often called help, support, or documentation.

Regardless of what a knowledge base is called, here’s what you can expect to see:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • Informative articles about a business (e.g., blogs).
  • Troubleshooting guides (e.g., how to fix a Microsoft Word error code).
  • Step-by-step guides (e.g., how to change my password).
  • Complete user manuals for products or services (e.g., iPhone user manual).

These examples are relevant to customer-facing knowledge bases, but you can also have internal knowledge bases for your employees. For example, your company could have a knowledge base that covers onboarding, work policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and guides for using software or machines.

Most companies you interact with online will have some type of knowledge base, which they may have built using knowledge base software. Before I share some stunning help desk knowledge base examples, let’s look at why they’re important to businesses today.

Why Your Company Needs a Knowledge Base

Whenever I have an issue with a company’s product or service, I almost always head to their knowledge base for solutions. In most cases, I don’t even have to contact customer support at all.

Most customers are like me. We prefer finding solutions ourselves. It saves us the time we’d otherwise spend submitting tickets in hopes of getting a quick resolution. With an effective knowledge base, you can meet customers’ needs without wasting too much of their time and your support team’s time.

When I spoke to Amanda Gulley, chief of product and user experience for EdPlus at Arizona State University, she agreed that a knowledge base is no one-trick pony. She said, “An intuitive knowledge base is not just a tool for information dissemination; it’s a strategic asset that significantly enhances customer satisfaction and organizational efficiency.”

Not convinced you need one yet? Here are the key benefits of creating a knowledge base:

Around-the-Clock Support

While your support team sleeps, your knowledge base can help customers fix their problems and learn more about your products. Think of your knowledge base as an extension of your customer support team that’s available 24/7.

Quick Resolutions

I like a fast solution to my tech problems, and most of the time, I don’t really mind if it comes from an explainer video, a how-to article, or a support representative. Sure, it’s nice to chat with a real human, but it’s also great to have a problem fixed without a support ticket.

Boosting SEO

A well-structured and expertly written knowledge base is a great marketing asset. If you provide high-quality information that benefits customers and general audiences, Google could reward your knowledge base content with high rankings.

More Time for Support Teams to Focus on Complex Issues

While your knowledge base helps users solve simple problems, your support team can devote time to urgent, high-impact issues. Don’t forget that your support team can also link customers to knowledge base articles, saving even more time and resources.

Gain Powerful Insights

If your knowledge base software provides reporting and analytics features, you can discover valuable information about customer trends and pain points. Plus, you can spot areas of your products or services that confuse new customers.

1. HubSpot

Since you’re on the HubSpot website ( … great to have you here!), is it safe for me to assume you know a bit about what HubSpot does?

Here’s the gist if you arrived through a Google search: HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, meaning it provides a suite of tools that helps businesses grow while prioritizing their customers. Whatever tool or hub (e.g., marketing, sales, or operations) you’re interested in, HubSpot Knowledge Base is a great place to learn about it.

You’ll find plenty of images to help you navigate through your chosen tool. And then, there’s HubBot, the friendly AI chatbot on the right side of every page, eager to answer your “how-to” questions.

HubSpot Knowledge Base offers various information sources, including Help Center and Documentation.

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What I like: HubSpot Knowledge Base makes it super easy to find any information I need. I love exploring the handy search bar, the quick list of all product/service categories, and even the glossary. But most times, I simply hop on a chat with HubBot to get answers faster.

HubSpot Glossary defines common terms used in HubSpot tools.

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2. Slack

Slack is a workplace messaging app that’s used by 77 of Fortune 100 companies. I’m no stranger to Slack’s iconic messaging sound and its stunning brand colors — I’ve used it to communicate with teams in different companies. But how does its knowledge base stack up?

Slack Help Center provides all the information you need to understand the app.

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Slack’s knowledge base displays a prominent search bar as well as direct links to common troubleshooting topics. It also has shortcuts that help users save time — I just found out that pressing the “Up” key lets me edit my previous message.

What I like: I find Slack pretty intuitive, so I don’t use the knowledge base very often. That said, I think the short YouTube explainer videos in some sections of the knowledge base are great for explaining Slack to new team members.

3. Confluence

As a collaboration and knowledge sharing tool for companies, you’d imagine that Confluence’s knowledge base would be a sight to behold. Spoiler alert: it is.

Confluence Resource Center offers product guides, demos, and more.

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If you’re thinking of using Confluence to create your own knowledge base, visiting this Resource Center is a must. You’ll see what a great example looks like, and you’ll learn the steps and best practices for knowledge base setup.

Beyond the clear and helpful main page, you’ll find well-structured documents containing all the information you need, alongside high-quality images and GIFs.

What I like: I think Confluence’s knowledge base is a great example of how marketing efforts can slot into an information site. Alongside easy-to-access demo videos and product guides, Confluence adds customer success stories to reel you in.

4. Apple

When something goes wrong with my iPhone, I usually head straight to Apple’s knowledge base, which links to great YouTube video tutorials with subtitles for enhanced accessibility. And, if I can’t find what I’m looking for, the knowledge base conveniently directs me to human support.

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What I like: Apple displays all its products in its self-service knowledge base, letting users choose the products they’re interested in. I love how this filtering mechanism ensures I only see relevant content when I select “iPhone.”

5. Amplitude

Amplitude aims to make digital analytics accessible to every business, and to achieve this, it needs a solid knowledge base for users to turn to.

Apple Support showing various Apple devices and how to solve common issues.

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Amplitude’s help desk knowledge base has a user-friendly layout that’s easy to navigate, providing a great customer experience. If you’re new to this platform, the “Start Here” section is the ultimate guide to get you up and running.

What I like: Amplitude categorizes common questions under five main sections, which makes it easy for me to find the solutions I need.

6. Airbnb

Love it or hate it, Airbnb is a huge player in the tourism industry, and the company has made it super easy to book vacation rentals. With its knowledge base, you can find answers to common questions, whether you’re a long-term guest or looking to start an Airbnb.

Airbnb’s knowledge base helps with reservations, accounts, and more.

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I played around the knowledge base and found that the most popular topics appeared as suggestions when I clicked the search bar. Impressively, these lists differ depending on whether you’re a guest, host, experience host, or travel admin.

What I like: Airbnb prominently displays in-depth content related to anti-discrimination and accessibility policies, tips for avoiding scams, and advice on what to do in an emergency.

7. 1Password

1Password is a top password manager that’s trusted by millions of customers, including 100,000+ businesses. If you’re just getting started, you’ll find everything you need once you hit the “Start Here” button. For more experienced users, the knowledge base offers useful tips on getting the most from 1Password, like using apps, browser extensions, and vaults.

1Password Support is a great help desk knowledge base example.

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What I like: When I navigated to the support hub (i.e., knowledge base), the option to contact support directly was right there in front of me. This was refreshing — some companies seem to bury their contact information to discourage you from getting in touch.

8. Canva

This popular design platform has over 170 million active users. Without a great knowledge base, Canva’s support personnel would be inundated with questions on everything from templates to teams.

Canva’s knowledge base lets you browse by topic.

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For creatives, this is one of the best knowledge base examples out there. I’ve learned a lot from Canva’s Design School tutorials, and the blog is a great resource of relevant information for designers, marketers, and businesses of all sizes.

What I like: Canva’s knowledge base has drop-down menus that provide all the information I need, from designing to sharing my creations. The Design Spotlight section is particularly useful for creating website and social media images.

9. Google

As the world’s top search engine with a market share of 90.91%, Google provides customer self-service options through an extensive knowledge base.

Google’s knowledge base content for Chrome, YouTube, and more.

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Instead of a table of contents, the knowledge base displays a group of icons associated with popular Google products and services (e.g., Chrome, Gmail, and YouTube) for consumers, businesses, and developers.

What I like: The support homepage is on-brand and uncluttered — with a few simple clicks, I can find whatever Google service I need help with.

10. Netflix

Generally, Netflix works well for me, so I rarely have to head to its knowledge base. If my TV binge session is interrupted by technical issues, it’s usually something I can fix with a quick refresh.

When I do need to look up Netflix support, it’s usually due to suspected password sharing or using Netflix on too many devices (I’m innocent, Netflix!).

Netflix’s knowledge base with search bar.

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I noticed that the account and billing section is high up on the knowledge base, which makes sense to me — it’s pretty much the only section I need to read. Once you click a section heading, you’ll find a drop-down list of useful explainer articles.

Personally, I’d like to see snippets of these articles displayed here, but I don’t have any major issues with the bare-bones layout.

What I like: I really appreciate that a section of Netflix’s knowledge base lets me suggest TV shows or movies. It means I can hold out a tiny bit of hope that they’ll take my suggestions on board.

11. OpenAI

Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT, has a good knowledge base that’s mostly dedicated to account information and using ChatGPT. As you might expect, the company uses an AI chatbot as a knowledge base tool.

openai-1

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When I browsed some knowledge base articles, I was impressed to see that they were recently updated. The knowledge base makes effective use of hyperlinks within articles, which helped me navigate to sections of interest.

What I like: OpenAI’s knowledge base is transparent about the limitations of ChatGPT, including its Western bias and the fact that it can be very convincing while providing incorrect information. I think new users should study ChatGPT’s knowledge base to ensure they’re using the tool effectively.

12. Asana

Asana is a work management platform with features such as workflow automation and project management. Its knowledge base has a clean layout with lots of whitespace, and the chatbot powered by Forethought AI is a nice addition.

Asana’s knowledge base, which is the ultimate guide to this product.

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But, the benefits of this knowledge base extend beyond a minimalist layout and chatbot charms. Asana provides helpful use cases, screenshot-assisted help articles (I love these!), and even courses on the product, including self-paced, pre-recorded, and live training.

What I like: I think the explainer videos in Asana’s knowledge base strike a great balance between funny and informative. Even if you don’t plan on using Asana, check out these videos to see how knowledge bases can have real entertainment value.

13. Dropbox

If you’re among the 700+ million people who use Dropbox, you might have used its knowledge base to find solutions to common issues like syncing, sharing, and organizing your files.

Like many of the best knowledge bases, the search bar is at the top of the page. When you click on it, you’ll get suggestions for top searches, guiding you to the solutions you seek.

Dropbox’s knowledge base provides information on apps and integrations.

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What I like: This knowledge base prominently features the Dropbox Community Forum, which I’m a big fan of. It has specific groups for beginners, photographers, and musicians — shout out to Community Manager Graham for some great posts on music-related topics.

Stay Relevant with Tech Trends

In my examples of help desk knowledge bases, you might have noticed that many companies use AI chatbots to share knowledge — this is no coincidence. Businesses are reworking their knowledge bases in response to technological advancements, making them much easier to manage and navigate.

While I think AI is a great addition to knowledge bases, it’s no substitute for expert-backed content. Ideally, AI should complement rather than replace your support team.

If you’re interested in creating your own knowledge base, check out the examples I’ve provided to see what your competitors are doing. But don’t forget — your customers will ultimately decide if your knowledge base is useful.

New Call-to-action

You probably can recall at least a handful of times when you’ve waited on the line to speak to customer service while calling a bank or your internet provider. The longest I’ve waited was 40 minutes — after which my call was automatically dropped. How did that make me feel? Upset, to say the least.

 

Luckily, nowadays calling isn’t your only option to get in touch with brands. Most businesses offer a digital customer experience and offer multiple communication channels to choose from (thank you, technology!).

Without a doubt, online customer service will only continue to grow in importance — and AI will pave the way.

Benefits of Digital Customer Service

1. Boosting Service Quality by Analyzing Feedback

Interacting with clients through a digital channel has one major advantage over face-to-face contact, i.e., you automatically retain a record of your communication.

Now, consider a period like last year. Think of all the chatbot interactions that took place during this time, all the emails you’ve exchanged, or the customer satisfaction surveys you’ve run. This data is a goldmine, which can help paint an accurate picture of your clients.

The great thing is that AI can help you analyze all these vast records for you. It can derive information on the most common customer concerns, or what they say they particularly love — or dislike — about your business. Better yet, you could also set up automatic surveys in the future to continue gathering information.

42% of respondents in HubSpot’s State of Service 2024 report say that they already do this to learn how they can improve their customers’ experiences.

2. Improving Response Time

I can still remember how many hours I’ve spent listening to music while waiting on hold after calling a business. It’s hard to believe that it was the only way to get in touch with many local businesses just a decade ago.

Luckily, this is now a tale of the past — in big part, thanks to AI. To manage customer queries at scale without sacrificing quality, you can set up a chatbot and train it on your FAQs and knowledge base. This lets you automate answers to the most common questions. You’ll only need to engage a customer service member if the topic truly requires human expertise.

If you’re wondering if it pays off to invest in such tools, the short answer is — yes. In our report, 92 percent of specialists say that introducing AI and automation speeds up response times. And half of those respondents described the acceleration as “significant.”

3. Reducing Customer Effort

In my opinion, this benefit deserves special recognition. Let me tell you a story.

Before becoming a marketer, I co-ran an online bookstore that offered a premium service — finding collector’s editions at small stores across the globe and shipping them to the customer.

There was one client who dreamed of a Japanese photo album but knew it was nearly impossible to find it as an individual. He reached out via email and we exchanged a few messages, back and forth, over the course of a few weeks.

He said that he appreciated the opportunity to contact the store online, as he was currently in a completely different timezone and wouldn’t be able to make a phone call. The ability to speak to me asynchronously was the reason why he decided to shop through the bookstore.

This example shows that not all digital customer service interactions must be around instantaneous communication. While a massive advantage in most cases, some clients will appreciate the flexibility that comes with messaging a business and replying at their own pace.

4. Meeting Customer Expectations and Improving Satisfaction

Back in the day, calling customer service was the only option people had. But times have changed drastically, and clients now have plenty of other channels to choose from. They can go with email, live chat, or messaging apps like Facebook.

If brands want to keep their customers satisfied, they must offer multiple communication channels and be available 24/7 — and that’s where self-service comes in.

This is something that a lot of businesses are already aware of. In fact, 64% of companies surveyed by HubSpot say they will increase their investment in self-service options.

5. Establishing Global Reach

Digitizing customer service has another major benefit, and that is offering global reach. Companies can now provide customer support without having a physical office or employing hundreds of people in every market they serve.

Thanks to the use of technology they can effectively answer queries irrespective of where their customers are. What’s more, they can retain the same standard of customer service, which positively reflects on their brand image.

According to HubSpot’s State of Service report, 88% of businesses were able to scale their customer service operations thanks to the use of AI.

Digital Customer Service Examples

Live Chat

digital customer service, live chat

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Our report found that 42% of respondents currently use live chat, i.e., an online chat with a human representative on the other side. And out of them, 90% agree that they’re effective in serving customers at the right standard.

What I like: Personally, I don’t like speaking on the phone, so my favorite thing about live chat is that I can get an answer to my query fast, without calling customer service. And my conversation isn’t available to a third party, unlike when I use social media. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t fancy phone interactions but also don’t want to wait long for an email reply.

Chatbot

digital customer service, chatbotImage Source

In terms of popularity among customer-facing teams, AI chatbots are right up there next to live chat. Our study found that they’re currently used by 37% of global service specialists.

And this number is set to grow. 71% of respondents told us that they plan to grow their investment in this communication channel.

What I like: They’re available round the clock, so customers can try to find answers to their questions without waiting for your support team to come to work the following day. Chatbots have saved me several times. Not that long ago, I had an issue with my website and it turned out I could fix it myself quickly with the help of a helpful AI assistant. Genius!

Knowledge Base

digital customer service, knowledge base

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Having a knowledge base is another important self-service feature, right next to chatbots. It’s a collection of the most important information, such as FAQs, an introduction to your specific services or features, and quick step-by-step instructions. Customers can easily navigate the categories — or chapters — to find the topic they’re interested in.

Perhaps you’re wondering if customers really want to fix issues themselves. Our State of Service report found an answer to this question.

According to the companies we surveyed, 55% of customers say that they actually prefer to self-serve than wait for a real-life agent.

What I like: Investing time in setting up a knowledge base pays off for both sides. Clients can find answers to their questions, while the brand minimizes the number of incoming communication.

Social Media Management

digital customer service, social media management

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Currently, over 5 billion people use social media — half of the world’s population. So, it’s hardly surprising that many customers prefer to communicate with brands via Facebook or X, and expect to get their answers quickly. According to our report, 34% of customer service pros use AI to monitor social media for customer service-related issues.

What I like: Social media allows for more personalized communication. Brands can even use a bit of humor at times, which reduces distance and helps to build better relationships with customers. Also, companies can use insights shared by customers to improve the brand experience.

Digital Customer Service Tools

1. HubSpot Service Hub

digital customer service tools, hubspotImage Source

Service Hub brings together all your customer service data and channels into one CRM platform, making it easy to support and grow your client base.

You can connect your live chat, emails, chatbot, and customer feedback tools, among others, and bring all customer messages and tickets into a single place. This is also where you and your team manage all ongoing communication. That’s right — no more back-and-forth between channels.

By clicking on a customer’s ticket, you can assign a specific customer service representative to the query. You can also access all the messages, phone calls, and other interactions that have taken place between the customer and your service team so far.

Unsurprisingly, Service Hub also hits the top marks when it comes to AI and automation features. You can create automation rules, such as which types of topics should be assigned to a specific agent or scaled to the customer service team lead.

However, my absolute favorite feature is HubSpot AI, which is a great assistant for customer service teams. One of the things it can help you with is rephrasing your reply.

You can turn a terse turn of phrase into a more conversational, heartfelt, or professional tone of voice. This can be a blessing, particularly if you’re handling a difficult issue or are simply having a bad day but want to ensure you’re empathetic and professional.

What I like: Service Hub covers all the use cases I could possibly think of, drawing on my experience as a customer service team member. I particularly love all the handy sidebars and options, like inserting knowledge base articles, answers to FAQs, or rewriting messages with AI for better impact.

All this happens within the chat text field. Bonus points for allowing customer service to enhance knowledge base articles live, based on their interactions with clients.

2. Ada

digital customer service tools, adaImage Source

Ada is an AI-powered customer service automation platform, which features a generative AI agent that is able to answer client queries accurately and in real-time.

It’s fast and can come up with relevant responses every single time, thanks to the use of Ada’s Reasoning Engine. It offers personalized responses, learns from previous customer interactions, and can be deployed across multiple digital channels without worrying about losing communication consistency.

What I like: Ada’s ability to understand specific needs and provide answers, which aren’t generic but personalized, is impressive. It makes customers feel valued. It’s always available and ready to assist, so you don’t have to wait in a queue, listening to one tune for 10 minutes (or longer). And the fact that you can deploy it across various channels without compromising response consistency or accuracy is just great.

3. Intercom

digital customer service tools, intercom

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It’s hard to find a customer service pro who hasn’t heard of Intercom. It’s an AI-first customer service solution, which among others features a live chat, chatbots, and targeted messaging capabilities. Their Fin AI Agent provides 24/7 support and is able to resolve 50% of support volume instantly.

What I like: What’s truly amazing about Intercom is that it’s a complete service platform that caters to clients, agents, and leaders alike. Their AI agents answer queries quickly and only pull answers from your support content — so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.

The AI Copilot makes pulling answers really easy, and you can even change the tone of voice to make it sound more like you. And it’s got access to all the questions and answers that have been generated in the past so you can get a more accurate response. When you want to raise a ticket, their AI automatically describes the issue, which is a real-time saver.

4. Help Scout

digital customer service; Help Scout is an example of a digital customer service platform

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Help Scout lets you bring all your client communication into one platform and keep a handy record of previous conversations. Among others, you can add tags and internal notes to client messages to make it easier to handle communication now and in the future.

This communication platform also lets you set automation rules that will accelerate the time to resolution. For example, if a customer asks a question about international shipping, you’re able to automatically draw relevant information from your FAQs.

I also appreciate the fact that the platform is keeping up with the times and uses AI to help the support team. Among others, you can ask AI to read a long email, or even an entire thread, and condense it into a high-level summary.

It can also adjust your tone of voice or message length.

What I like: One feature that caught my eye is ‘real-time collision detection.’ It shows you if someone else is also replying to a request or viewing it, preventing you from sending two responses. This could happen if you handle tens or hundreds of messages every day.

Digital Customer Service — Multichannel is The Way to Go

Each customer has their own preference — I, personally, really dislike calling brands. Whenever possible, I go for email or chat, but I can’t say the same of my parents. They’ll always choose to speak to a brand over the phone. It’s how they’ve been getting answers to questions for decades.

Less-tech-savvy clients will tend to choose face-to-face and calls, but Millenials and Gen-Z will prefer getting things done on screen.

What I recommend is choosing an omnichannel communication approach, so that you can resolve issues for everyone, faster and more efficiently.

New call-to-action

You probably can recall at least a handful of times when you’ve waited on the line to speak to customer service while calling a bank or your internet provider. The longest I’ve waited was 40 minutes — after which my call was automatically dropped. How did that make me feel? Upset, to say the least.

 

Luckily, nowadays calling isn’t your only option to get in touch with brands. Most businesses offer a digital customer experience and offer multiple communication channels to choose from (thank you, technology!).

Without a doubt, online customer service will only continue to grow in importance — and AI will pave the way.

Benefits of Digital Customer Service

1. Boosting Service Quality by Analyzing Feedback

Interacting with clients through a digital channel has one major advantage over face-to-face contact, i.e., you automatically retain a record of your communication.

Now, consider a period like last year. Think of all the chatbot interactions that took place during this time, all the emails you’ve exchanged, or the customer satisfaction surveys you’ve run. This data is a goldmine, which can help paint an accurate picture of your clients.

The great thing is that AI can help you analyze all these vast records for you. It can derive information on the most common customer concerns, or what they say they particularly love — or dislike — about your business. Better yet, you could also set up automatic surveys in the future to continue gathering information.

42% of respondents in HubSpot’s State of Service 2024 report say that they already do this to learn how they can improve their customers’ experiences.

2. Improving Response Time

I can still remember how many hours I’ve spent listening to music while waiting on hold after calling a business. It’s hard to believe that it was the only way to get in touch with many local businesses just a decade ago.

Luckily, this is now a tale of the past — in big part, thanks to AI. To manage customer queries at scale without sacrificing quality, you can set up a chatbot and train it on your FAQs and knowledge base. This lets you automate answers to the most common questions. You’ll only need to engage a customer service member if the topic truly requires human expertise.

If you’re wondering if it pays off to invest in such tools, the short answer is — yes. In our report, 92 percent of specialists say that introducing AI and automation speeds up response times. And half of those respondents described the acceleration as “significant.”

3. Reducing Customer Effort

In my opinion, this benefit deserves special recognition. Let me tell you a story.

Before becoming a marketer, I co-ran an online bookstore that offered a premium service — finding collector’s editions at small stores across the globe and shipping them to the customer.

There was one client who dreamed of a Japanese photo album but knew it was nearly impossible to find it as an individual. He reached out via email and we exchanged a few messages, back and forth, over the course of a few weeks.

He said that he appreciated the opportunity to contact the store online, as he was currently in a completely different timezone and wouldn’t be able to make a phone call. The ability to speak to me asynchronously was the reason why he decided to shop through the bookstore.

This example shows that not all digital customer service interactions must be around instantaneous communication. While a massive advantage in most cases, some clients will appreciate the flexibility that comes with messaging a business and replying at their own pace.

4. Meeting Customer Expectations and Improving Satisfaction

Back in the day, calling customer service was the only option people had. But times have changed drastically, and clients now have plenty of other channels to choose from. They can go with email, live chat, or messaging apps like Facebook.

If brands want to keep their customers satisfied, they must offer multiple communication channels and be available 24/7 — and that’s where self-service comes in.

This is something that a lot of businesses are already aware of. In fact, 64% of companies surveyed by HubSpot say they will increase their investment in self-service options.

5. Establishing Global Reach

Digitizing customer service has another major benefit, and that is offering global reach. Companies can now provide customer support without having a physical office or employing hundreds of people in every market they serve.

Thanks to the use of technology they can effectively answer queries irrespective of where their customers are. What’s more, they can retain the same standard of customer service, which positively reflects on their brand image.

According to HubSpot’s State of Service report, 88% of businesses were able to scale their customer service operations thanks to the use of AI.

Digital Customer Service Examples

Live Chat

digital customer service, live chat

Image Source

Our report found that 42% of respondents currently use live chat, i.e., an online chat with a human representative on the other side. And out of them, 90% agree that they’re effective in serving customers at the right standard.

What I like: Personally, I don’t like speaking on the phone, so my favorite thing about live chat is that I can get an answer to my query fast, without calling customer service. And my conversation isn’t available to a third party, unlike when I use social media. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t fancy phone interactions but also don’t want to wait long for an email reply.

Chatbot

digital customer service, chatbotImage Source

In terms of popularity among customer-facing teams, AI chatbots are right up there next to live chat. Our study found that they’re currently used by 37% of global service specialists.

And this number is set to grow. 71% of respondents told us that they plan to grow their investment in this communication channel.

What I like: They’re available round the clock, so customers can try to find answers to their questions without waiting for your support team to come to work the following day. Chatbots have saved me several times. Not that long ago, I had an issue with my website and it turned out I could fix it myself quickly with the help of a helpful AI assistant. Genius!

Knowledge Base

digital customer service, knowledge base

Image Source

Having a knowledge base is another important self-service feature, right next to chatbots. It’s a collection of the most important information, such as FAQs, an introduction to your specific services or features, and quick step-by-step instructions. Customers can easily navigate the categories — or chapters — to find the topic they’re interested in.

Perhaps you’re wondering if customers really want to fix issues themselves. Our State of Service report found an answer to this question.

According to the companies we surveyed, 55% of customers say that they actually prefer to self-serve than wait for a real-life agent.

What I like: Investing time in setting up a knowledge base pays off for both sides. Clients can find answers to their questions, while the brand minimizes the number of incoming communication.

Social Media Management

digital customer service, social media management

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Currently, over 5 billion people use social media — half of the world’s population. So, it’s hardly surprising that many customers prefer to communicate with brands via Facebook or X, and expect to get their answers quickly. According to our report, 34% of customer service pros use AI to monitor social media for customer service-related issues.

What I like: Social media allows for more personalized communication. Brands can even use a bit of humor at times, which reduces distance and helps to build better relationships with customers. Also, companies can use insights shared by customers to improve the brand experience.

Digital Customer Service Tools

1. HubSpot Service Hub

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Service Hub brings together all your customer service data and channels into one CRM platform, making it easy to support and grow your client base.

You can connect your live chat, emails, chatbot, and customer feedback tools, among others, and bring all customer messages and tickets into a single place. This is also where you and your team manage all ongoing communication. That’s right — no more back-and-forth between channels.

By clicking on a customer’s ticket, you can assign a specific customer service representative to the query. You can also access all the messages, phone calls, and other interactions that have taken place between the customer and your service team so far.

Unsurprisingly, Service Hub also hits the top marks when it comes to AI and automation features. You can create automation rules, such as which types of topics should be assigned to a specific agent or scaled to the customer service team lead.

However, my absolute favorite feature is HubSpot AI, which is a great assistant for customer service teams. One of the things it can help you with is rephrasing your reply.

You can turn a terse turn of phrase into a more conversational, heartfelt, or professional tone of voice. This can be a blessing, particularly if you’re handling a difficult issue or are simply having a bad day but want to ensure you’re empathetic and professional.

What I like: Service Hub covers all the use cases I could possibly think of, drawing on my experience as a customer service team member. I particularly love all the handy sidebars and options, like inserting knowledge base articles, answers to FAQs, or rewriting messages with AI for better impact.

All this happens within the chat text field. Bonus points for allowing customer service to enhance knowledge base articles live, based on their interactions with clients.

2. Ada

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Ada is an AI-powered customer service automation platform, which features a generative AI agent that is able to answer client queries accurately and in real-time.

It’s fast and can come up with relevant responses every single time, thanks to the use of Ada’s Reasoning Engine. It offers personalized responses, learns from previous customer interactions, and can be deployed across multiple digital channels without worrying about losing communication consistency.

What I like: Ada’s ability to understand specific needs and provide answers, which aren’t generic but personalized, is impressive. It makes customers feel valued. It’s always available and ready to assist, so you don’t have to wait in a queue, listening to one tune for 10 minutes (or longer). And the fact that you can deploy it across various channels without compromising response consistency or accuracy is just great.

3. Intercom

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It’s hard to find a customer service pro who hasn’t heard of Intercom. It’s an AI-first customer service solution, which among others features a live chat, chatbots, and targeted messaging capabilities. Their Fin AI Agent provides 24/7 support and is able to resolve 50% of support volume instantly.

What I like: What’s truly amazing about Intercom is that it’s a complete service platform that caters to clients, agents, and leaders alike. Their AI agents answer queries quickly and only pull answers from your support content — so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.

The AI Copilot makes pulling answers really easy, and you can even change the tone of voice to make it sound more like you. And it’s got access to all the questions and answers that have been generated in the past so you can get a more accurate response. When you want to raise a ticket, their AI automatically describes the issue, which is a real-time saver.

4. Help Scout

digital customer service; Help Scout is an example of a digital customer service platform

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Help Scout lets you bring all your client communication into one platform and keep a handy record of previous conversations. Among others, you can add tags and internal notes to client messages to make it easier to handle communication now and in the future.

This communication platform also lets you set automation rules that will accelerate the time to resolution. For example, if a customer asks a question about international shipping, you’re able to automatically draw relevant information from your FAQs.

I also appreciate the fact that the platform is keeping up with the times and uses AI to help the support team. Among others, you can ask AI to read a long email, or even an entire thread, and condense it into a high-level summary.

It can also adjust your tone of voice or message length.

What I like: One feature that caught my eye is ‘real-time collision detection.’ It shows you if someone else is also replying to a request or viewing it, preventing you from sending two responses. This could happen if you handle tens or hundreds of messages every day.

Digital Customer Service — Multichannel is The Way to Go

Each customer has their own preference — I, personally, really dislike calling brands. Whenever possible, I go for email or chat, but I can’t say the same of my parents. They’ll always choose to speak to a brand over the phone. It’s how they’ve been getting answers to questions for decades.

Less-tech-savvy clients will tend to choose face-to-face and calls, but Millenials and Gen-Z will prefer getting things done on screen.

What I recommend is choosing an omnichannel communication approach, so that you can resolve issues for everyone, faster and more efficiently.

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When I think of the mid-2010s Internet, I think about Tumblr. This magical online platform allowed (and still allows) you to build a personalized blog with unique elements like an HTML cursor. You could code it yourself or choose from a number of themes to tailor your blog to perfection. When I kicked off my blog, I wanted to get my aesthetic just right — which inxfcluded a heart-shaped animated cursor that alternated between colors of the rainbow.

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This Week’s Poll

If you’re still wondering what the answer to this week’s poll is, check back next week for the results. But if you just can’t wait until then, you might be able to find an answer in this blog post.

Results From the Last PollQuestion of the Week True or False 520

 

When I started my coding journey, I couldn’t always pinpoint what made a web page great — all of the code underneath that craft a well-designed experience. So, I would use the inspect element on my browser to peel back the curtain. Here, I could see how pages were coded so I could understand how to recreate elements for my own projects.

If Sales and Marketing are your business’s vehicle, AI and customer success are the drivers. Without your customers succeeding with your product or services, your sales and marketing efforts will eventually fall flat— or worse, you’ll lose your loyal customer base.

Recently, I needed help troubleshooting my spotty internet connection. My internet service provider uses an AI chatbot to guide customers through the most obvious fixes. If those solutions fail to fix the issue, a live agent picks up the conversation to continue providing in-depth support.

I liked the addition of the AI chatbot. Sometimes, fixing my internet connection is as simple as resetting my modem. The AI chatbot saved me and a live agent time, which I appreciate.

Download Now: The Annual State of Artificial Intelligence Report

So, how can you improve your customer experience and keep your customers happy? By creating a dedicated customer success team and giving them a secret weapon for success: AI.

In this post, we’ll discuss how AI can improve your customer success efforts, plus give you a list of AI tools to try today.

Table of Contents:

The State of AI in Customer Success

Generative AI is a useful technology for customer success teams. AI works by parsing large data sets through an algorithm and then making predictions and decisions based on patterns within the data set.

AI has many applications, from content marketing to sales forecasting to fraud detection. Customer success managers can use AI to help gather data and improve the quality support of support their teams provide to their clients. That’s why 62% of business leaders have already invested in AI and automation tools. They know that AI can help their teams be more productive.

For customer success teams, AI can make all the difference in ensuring the success of their strategy. AI tools can help provide customer self-service and act as the first point of contact for clients with service-related issues.

In fact, 42% of customer service pros who use AI and automation tools say that AI chatbots that respond to customer service-related issues are very effective. And 33% of customer service professionals say that AI tools that monitor social media for customer service-related issues are very effective, too.

Moreover, 94% of customer service professionals say AI improves the customer self-service experience. Also, 57% of customers prefer to engage digitally with companies regarding customer service.

Given those stats, it makes sense to incorporate AI into your customer success strategy. Let’s look at the benefits of using AI in customer success.

The Benefits of Using AI in Customer Success

61% of customer service professionals expect to use some form of AI in their job in 2024. For those customer service pros who are ready to embrace AI, they’ll quickly discover some of the benefits of using AI in their customer success strategy.

Here are three major benefits you can expect when you pair AI and customer success together.

Better Data Analysis

AI is helpful for quickly parsing and analyzing data. In fact, 45% of marketers use AI for data analysis. Customer service professionals can do the same using the same techniques and tools. And that’s why 62% of customer support representatives say that AI tools help them understand their customers better.

Using AI tools to complete data analysis, which usually takes several hours, will save your customer service reps significant time. Plus, they’ll gain valuable insights into how their customers feel about your products or services.

Better Customer Experience

42% of customer service pros think AI tools that help them collect and analyze customer feedback significantly improve the customer experience. But that’s not all. 66% of customer support specialists agree that AI and automation tools can help personalize the experience customers get with their company.

A personalized customer experience is vital to customer success and gaining a loyal customer. AI tools can help provide custom recommendations based on past interactions and provide proactive solutions to problems a customer may experience.

Save Your Reps Time

One of AI’s most significant benefits is that it’s a major time saver. 78% of customer support specialists agree that AI tools and automation can help them be more efficient. Aside from saving your customer service reps time in data analysis, it can also save time in other job duties.

For example, reps using chatbots to respond to customer service inquiries can save up to 2 hours daily. Instead of spending time on individual requests, customer service reps can use chatbots to help filter easy-to-handle inquiries from those that might need more time to solve.

How to Use AI for Customer Success

Although those were just three benefits of using AI in customer success, there’s a solid guarantee you’ll find more benefits as you incorporate AI into your customer service strategy.

Wondering how to use it in your strategy to make the most of these benefits? Here’s how to use AI for customer success.

Customer Support Automation

If your customers experience an issue, they’ll likely head straight to your company website. Incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website is a great way to catch customer inquiries and solve minor issues that might get overlooked or pushed to the side.

AI chatbots can solve certain customer problems, greatly reducing your customer support response time. They can also collect follow-up information, schedule follow-up requests, and escalate higher-order issues to your customer service representatives.

Predict Customer Behavior

Whether customers realize it or not, their behavior is predictable. Using AI tools that analyze customer behavior can help catch customers who are close to leaving your company. This can help decrease your churn rates and increase your customer fan base.

And because AI tools are predictive, they can help identify customers who might benefit from a higher-tiered product, making upselling a breeze.

Sentiment Analysis

We’ve already mentioned the benefits of AI because of its ability to conduct sentiment analysis. But it’s worth mentioning again.

AI tools can quickly conduct sentiment analysis of voice files and text-based files. This can help your customer service reps quickly identify common complaints, understand why customers feel that way and adapt a better customer success strategy.

Ticket Routing

If your customer support representatives struggle with organizing their support tickets by department, AI tools can help. AI tools can identify which departments should receive which tickets and send them to the appropriate inboxes.

Customer Journey Mapping

You might already understand your customer’s journey and have a customer journey map that you use to help your customers experience your company through their eyes.

However, using AI tools can provide you with a more detailed customer journey map and allow you to understand pain points you might have missed at various touchpoints.

Testing It Out

I tested how to use ChatGPT to troubleshoot technical issues with a customer.

Here’s how it went.

First, I needed ChatGPT to understand the customer success exercise. So, I entered this prompt into the textbox.

“Pretend you are an AI-powered chatbot for my internet service provider. I am going to ask you some questions about troubleshooting why my Internet connection is down, and I need you to be an AI rep and give me suggestions on how to fix it.”

With ChatGPT ready to assist, I explained that my internet connection had been spotty and that actionable steps needed to be taken to fix the issue.

Here’s how it went:

Based on my experience contacting my internet service provider about my dropped connection a few weeks ago, ChatGPT’s suggestions to restart the modem, check the status lights, and test the connections with multiple devices are on par with my service provider’s AI chatbot’s instructions.

I also like that ChatGPT gave me multiple suggestions upfront without taking me through a step-by-step process.

AI Tools for Customer Success

ChatGPT is a generative AI application, meaning it works best with queries and continues to update responses as it gets new data. Most AI tools function in the same way. These kinds of tools can be beneficial for your customer success team.

Here are 8 AI tools to consider adding to your tech stack for customer success.

Gather a list of 8+ AI tools for customer success. Describe the core features of each and how they work. Add “What I like” for each.

1. ChatSpot

ChatSpot is an AI-powered tool for marketing and sales, and it’s also great for your customer support teams. You gain access to unique insights and personalized responses when you connect ChatSpot straight to your HubSpot CRM.

ChatSpot analyzes your data in real time and can provide usable data in various formats, such as bar graphs or pie charts.

What I Like: I like that ChatSpot can be used across departments. Each team has access to the same functionalities and analysis, making cross-department collaboration more accessible and efficient.

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2. Customer Success AI

Does decreasing customer churn feel like a never-ending issue? Try ChurnZero’s Customer Success AI.

Customer Success AI is an AI tool designed specifically for customer success. Use it to generate ideas, strategies, inquiry responses, and content your customer success team can use. You can also use it to forecast data, automate workflows, or send email or in-app follow-ups.

The best part? Customer Success AI easily integrates with your existing CRM.

What I like: I appreciate that Customer Success AI has preloaded prompt options for content or strategy. The preloaded options make it easy to generate content quickly.

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3. Totango

Teaming up with Catalyst, Totango works to provide you with a comprehensive overview of your customer accounts. Integrate your customer accounts to get a detailed description of the customer account health, collaborate with your team members to manage customer portfolios, and engage with your customers wherever they are– online, by email, or by chat.

What I like best: I like that Totango easily integrates with your existing CRM. So, if you’re using the HubSpot CRM, you can utilize Totango, too, to service your customers like a pro.

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4. ClientSuccess

ClientSuccess promises to help you reduce churn and increase your customer revenue. With this CRM-integrated app, you can quickly gain valuable insights and analytics to reveal data like customer health and net promoter scores, all with real-time reporting.

Or, use ClientSuccess to automate your customer-facing communications or map and manage your customer journey.

What I like best: I like that ClientSuccess focuses on customer onboarding. The onboarding process can start customer churn, so making it easier and more manageable for the customer can help reduce it.

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5. Vitally

If productivity is your customer success team’s weak spot, consider adding Vitally to your tech stack. Vitally aims to help customer success teams automate specific tasks while encouraging collaboration across the team.

Vitally also provides your team with real-time data so you and your team can monitor customer interactions as they occur.

What I like best: Customer success isn’t a one-person show. I like that Vitally encourages and streamlines collaborative communication across the team.

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6. Drift

If you want AI to support your chat features, consider Drift. Drift is an AI-powered engagement platform designed to help your customer success team listen, understand, and learn from your buyers.

Drift’s AI-powered chatbots allow for personalized 24/7 customer support and recommendations. Not only can they offer customer support, but they can also streamline your sales funnel so that you or your chatbots engage with prospective customers at just the right time.

What I like: I like that Drift encompasses the entire sales from– from start to finish. This chatbot offers personalized support for every stage of the customer.

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7. Freshdesk

If your team’s goal is to decrease the time it takes to respond to customer support tickets, you should try Freshdesk.

It can be challenging to sort through a pile of support tickets and quickly determine which tickets need the most support. But with Freshdesk, that problem is solved for you. Freshdesk can sort through support tickets and deliver them to the appropriate agents, and your team can focus on the correct details without getting distracted by less urgent matters.

Plus, Freshdesk can help your team automate customer self-service, scale your knowledge base, and optimize your workflows.

What I like best: Freshdesk is a solution focused on customer support tickets. I like that it gives team members access to deliver timely, consistent, and personalized support to customers.

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8. Custify

Custify’s focus is on onboarding, customer retention, and revenue maximizing. This AI-powered SaaS technology can help you identify which customer accounts are most likely to grow with your company so you can effectively upsell to them.

Custify also helps make onboarding easier so you can turn your new sign-ups into loyal customers.

What I like: I like that Custify can automate to-do lists. With a to-do list already made and the highest priority tasks at the top, your team can effectively work to ensure your customers’ success.

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AI Customer Success Best Practices

AI tools can help make your customer success team more effective and efficient. However, there is a right and wrong way to use them.

Check out these recommended best practices from experts and us, who use AI tools for customer service.

1. Align AI to Your Overall Business Goals

It can be tempting to think AI can do the job of providing you with excellent customer service. However, AI is a tool, not a human, and your employees provide the best possible customer service experience.

Ensure that whichever AI tool you choose for your team aligns with your business goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can my team use this AI tool effectively to provide excellent support?
  • Which tasks can AI help my team accomplish?
  • Will an AI tool help my team gain time for more important tasks?
  • How does this align with our company’s business goals and mission?

By determining where in your customer success strategy an AI tool is most effective, you can help your team provide better customer support to your clients.

2. Determine What AI Can and Cannot Do

AI tools are fantastic resources, but they shouldn’t be used to replace your employees and their valuable skills. Instead, take some time to determine what AI can and cannot do.

Kaustubh Deo, President of Blooma Tree Experts says this about AI, “We have found it crucial to distinguish between what requires true judgment versus what requires more manual process and work. Over time, AI will do more and more judgment-related tasks. But for now, when it comes to customer success, we err on the side of caution given that clients are the lifeblood of any business.

Given that, AI can start by supporting customer service representatives in creating their task load — which clients need calls, which open quotes require follow-up, etc. That manual data management task is an ideal starting place to build AI into a small business (or big business) customer success system.

And then the CSRs are able to levy judgment as to how to actually support customers. AI gives them more time to do that well & thoroughly.”

By determining where in your customer success strategy an AI tool is most effective, you can help your team provide better customer support to your clients.

3. Provide Clean Data for the AI Algorithms

Because AI runs best when there is a continuous flow of data available, it’s essential to take time to ensure your data is clean, accurate, and free from errors and biases.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of UEGroup and founder of UserExperience.AI, says the available data determines how effectively AI can help your team.

Fernandes says, “Providing a valuable and robust AI solution has a lot to do with the data available, not the technology. With good access to data related to all the customer touchpoints, including sales experiences, support experiences, and any other type of interaction, software can do a great job of creating a highly personalized experience. The best practices for providing this type of AI solution begins with getting rid of the siloed data within the organization.”

4. Verify AI’s Predictions and Analysis

AI tools can be useful for predicting customer behavior and sentiment analysis. However, there are times when AI can get it wrong, such as if the customer data is flawed.

To make the best use of AI, always verify its predictions and analyses. Using a flawed prediction or analysis might not be good for your customer service team.

5. AI Chatbots Can Be Multi-Purposed

AI chatbots are a widespread use of the technology. You don’t have to use chatbots to field customer complaints. They can be used for various purposes throughout the customer pipeline.

Gary Warner, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager of Joloda, says, “AI can deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and an increase in sales when using a well-designed chatbot system. For example, they can continue to assist the customer even after a sale is made by providing order status and shipping updates. Or they can also recognise customer actions and offer targeted cross-sells or upsells based on their browsing to increase the average order value.

We have also found that having the bot can work as a trigger to get potential customers to agree to a callback is a friendly, easy way for our sales team to get their ‘foot in the door.’”

A Powerful Duo: AI and Customer Success

Appropriate AI tools can elevate your customer experience from mediocre to exceptional, saving your customer service reps time and allowing them to focus on tasks that truly matter.

However, the trick to using AI in customer success is knowing how to implement it properly in your strategies and workflows. The wrong AI tool can slow down your team and derail your efforts to provide excellent customer service.

Take some time to evaluate your customer experience operations before choosing an AI tool. Understanding where AI effectively helps your teams will help your teams provide more effective customer support.

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