Knowledge Bases Are The Most Effective Self-Service Channels, New Study Finds

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Software Advice, a Gartner company and web-based research and reviews firm that helps businesses find the right knowledge management software for their needs, ran a recent survey that found out that knowledge bases are among the technologies that change customer support.

Fewer people call support desk with easy to solve issues, when relevant and easy to get information in available through self-service channels, with knowledge bases making the top of the list, this study shows.

This survey paints a very positive picture for the state of customer self-service. Not only did we find self-service channels in use in a wide variety of industries, but we also found it implemented in businesses of all sizes,” Craig Borowski, Market researcher for knowledge management consultancy at Software Advice told Quandora.

Knowledge bases are one of the most commonly implemented self-service channels, being used by 88 percent of the companies. They manage to surpass telephone interactive voice response or IVR, present in less that 75 percent of the respondents’ customer service departments. However, frequently asked questions (FAQs) are leading, being used by 91 percent of the managers involved in this study. Online discussion forums, interactive diagnosis and virtual assistants are in the 50 – 70 percent range.


When it comes to support calls vs online, the study found significant differences between industries. In financial services, phone accounts for 21 percent, whereas online is at 79 percent. Yet, in computer hardware, online resources are used in 96 percent of the cases, leaving a modest 4 percent to the phone.

This research also points out that almost three quarters of the respondents monitor the performance of their knowledge bases, this being the most tracked of the online self-service channels. Page views and average time spent on the support page are the most frequently used metrics.


Knowledge bases and other online self-serving tools help people find their answers easier and fewer of them resort to call the support desk. This is a great news for everybody, as support employees have more time to help someone who calls in. They face more complex issues, as the simple one are solved by the individual oneself.

A few respondents mentioned they can spend more one-on-one time with customers and that first-call resolution has increased. With lower call volume, wait times are decreased and callbacks can be made with fewer delays. Others reported customer satisfaction rates increasing along with Net Promoter scores. These are all very positive improvements and help make the case for self-service implementation,” researcher Craig Borowski says.

For this study, Software Advice interviewed 170 general managers, directors, manager and supervisors employed in customer service departments across the United States of America. They have all had experience implementing or managing directly self-service channels, and direct knowledge of the success metrics and key performance indicators used to track them.

If we’re allowed to speculate, we would say that as times goes by, knowledge bases and the other online channels are going to gain momentum, as young people, born with smartphone and tablet PCs in their hands tend to resort to faster and more techny ways of solving their problems, as opposed to that ancient call to the support line.

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