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Embrace knowledge base automation to boost customer service

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As reported by McKinsey in its study The State of Customer Care in 2022, 65% of customer care leaders felt that improved self-service was a key driver for decreased call volume. In that sense, we believe knowledge base automation plays a significant role in effective, personalized support.

After all, with the right knowledge base software, businesses can improve customer service, free agents up for more complex issues, and enhance brand loyalty through self-service support.

As AI and automation adoptions grow in customer support, so do the advantages of self-service experiences. This makes well-structured, up-to-date knowledge bases more crucial than ever.

This article explores the evolving role of the knowledge base in customer support automation. Here, you'll learn:

  • What a knowledge base is.

  • Examples of what an automated knowledge base can do.

  • Why a knowledge base is essential for customer support automation.

  • Tips to help you choose the right automated knowledge base.

What is a knowledge base?

A knowledge base is an organized online library that contains helpful articles with answers, tips, and other important information about a particular product or service. This collection of resources allows individuals to easily find solutions without the help of a customer service rep.

Knowledge bases come in two main types: internal and external.

  • Internal knowledge bases: contain information to support employees. These bases are used to share company policies, HR details, IT resources, and other relevant internal content.

  • External knowledge bases: focus on helping customers. They provide guidance on how to use products and services, access features and functionalities, and find solutions to common problems.

When done right, a knowledge base becomes an integral component of the customer journey. It's an always-on resource for building confidence and trust. From simple demands to more advanced contextual recommendations, it smoothly guides users through whatever product challenge they’re facing. 

What is knowledge base software?

Knowledge base software is an easy-to-navigate hub where customers can quickly find solutions to their questions and issues. It’s a platform where you can store and organize information in a variety of formats, including text documents, images, and videos.

The software offers a streamlined user experience so customers can efficiently search and browse content. For example, a smart filtering option allowing customers to filter by things like product, category, and keyword tags can help them pinpoint the right information based on their specific query. 

Types of information that can be shared in a knowledge base

A robust automated knowledge base construction contains a wide array of valuable, actionable content. The right mix of articles and media opens the door for customers to independently find answers to their most frequent needs.

  • FAQ pages: Answers to questions commonly asked by customers during their journey with your product or service.

  • Product guides: In-depth instructions and usage details for products and services.

  • Video tutorials: Step-by-step visual demonstrations of how to use specific features and functionalities.

  • Glossaries: Definitions of industry terminology and key concepts.

  • Troubleshooting guides: Solutions for errors, bugs, and challenges customers may encounter.

  • Release notes: Details about new product versions, updates, and feature announcements.

What is knowledge base automation?

Knowledge base automation refers to the use of technology, including artificial intelligence, to manage the process of creating, organizing, and delivering self-service content.

For example, an AI chatbot can recommend relevant articles in real-time based on a customer's question. It's like having a librarian bot that understands natural language and can instantly point users to the right shelf.

Because knowledge base automation handles the heavy lifting for customer service, it allows support reps to focus on more intricate problems that may require deeper levels of expertise.

Examples of what an automated knowledge base can do

Automated article suggestions 

An innovative approach to enhancing your customer support experience is the integration of your knowledge base with messaging software

This feature not only simplifies customer access to self-service articles but also improves the way information is delivered, resulting in improved engagement and quicker issue resolution. The true potential of these platforms is realized when your knowledge base and messaging tool join forces. 

For example, imagine that a customer engages with your support team through chat, and before even initiating a conversation, they're presented with a selection of relevant help center content. 

These aren't just a random assortment of articles, either. Rather, the selection can address the most common queries, such as "How to Reset Your Password," "Getting Started with Software," and "Payment Options."

By guiding customers to resolve their questions through a self-service knowledge base, this feature also helps reduce the number of queries hitting your service team. 

But what if a customer can't quite find the answer they’re looking for within the suggested articles?

No problem. This is where the customer service chatbot takes the stage. Customers can simply type their query into the chat, searching the knowledge base for the most relevant articles, tailored to address specific keywords.

Related article suggestions

Another example of an automated knowledge base feature that utilizes suggestions is related articles. 

With this feature, the knowledge base platform automatically compares articles’ titles, descriptions, and body text to generate recommendations for relevant content. By showing customers related articles, the knowledge base enables them to discover fast, efficient resolutions to their questions. 

This versatile feature offers multiple advantages. First, it saves your support reps precious time that would otherwise be spent manually curating links. Second, it aids customers in quickly finding useful information without conducting extensive searches (they can scroll down to the related articles section under each topic). 

So, what does this all look like in practice? Check it out:

Say you have an article titled "How to Reset Your Password," which offers instructions on regaining access to accounts. Now, as your customers delve into this topic, they will see other suggested articles like "How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication" or "How to Update Your Email Address" – complementary pieces of knowledge that deepen their understanding of handling issues related to account access. 

Automatic reply based on article feedback 

The automatic reply feature, driven by article feedback, is not just about providing information; it's about creating a responsive feedback loop that elevates the customer experience to new heights.

Picture a scenario where a customer dives into an article from your knowledge base, hoping to find a solution to their needs. However, the specific article they read falls short of addressing their specific query.

At the moment the dissatisfied customer reacts to the article, the knowledge base software can trigger an automatic reply from your team, asking how they can help. The support team can then address the issue and make quick changes to the article based on the customer feedback, reducing further disappointment.

Every interaction becomes an opportunity for improvement. The feedback created by this feature allows you to gauge customer sentiments in real time. 

You can observe reactions to each article, gaining invaluable perspective into how your content is being received. Is it hitting all the right notes, or does it need a few tweaks to strengthen its overall clarity? 

With this real-time feedback, you hold the key to making your articles not just informative but also responsive to your customers’ demands. You’re able to continuously fine-tune your knowledge base to the point where every interaction brings you one step closer to excellence.

Article generator 

What if the need for more content arises? In such cases, the automated knowledge base software steps in as your trusted ally, enabling you to craft new articles related to emerging questions.

At the heart of this tool lies the AI-powered article generator, a virtual wordsmith that can turn a summary into a fully fledged guide. The process is as simple as pasting in a summary for your new article; the article generator completes the rest. 

And if the article generated by the AI tool isn’t exactly what you were looking for, you have the power to edit and improve the generated piece to more closely match up with your requirements.

Why is a knowledge base fundamental for customer support automation?

According to Intercom’s Customer Service Trends Report 2023, 36% of support leaders mention “managing conversation or call volume” as a key challenge in their business.

That's why 77% of them plan to invest more in self-service support – including knowledge base articles and FAQs – to increase their teams’ efficiency.

By allowing customers to get help at any time through these resources, and not wait in a time-sucking queue for support reps to become available, you can go a long way toward enhancing the overall customer experience.

For your team, this translates into fewer questions hitting inboxes and hours saved that can then be invested back into value-adding tasks and impactful ways of building long-term customer relationships.

5 key knowledge base benefits

Empower self-service

Knowledge base automation enables self-service, letting customers find solutions by themselves, which improves their experiences and increases retention.

Retain customers

Proactively publishing support content strengthens loyalty. A help center gives users the tools to self-educate.

Lower support volumes

With knowledge base software, routine queries are handled through self-service. This lightens the load on agents so they can focus on higher-value tasks.

Support diverse learning styles

An all-inclusive help center links to content in different formats, including articles, videos, and guides, accommodating a wide range of learning styles and preferences.

Provide 24/7 support

Available day and night, an automated knowledge base provides after-hours assistance that lets customers get help on their own time without expanding staff.

Knowledge base integration with AI-powered chatbots

In the quest for automation, one integration stands out: the combination of your knowledge base with the capabilities of an AI chatbot. It's a pairing that holds the potential to improve customer experience.

AI chatbots armed with your knowledge base can scan your existing content with ease to support customers with intelligent self-service. And, by optimizing your knowledge base with articles that are comprehensive and well-organized, the chatbot can start delivering reliable answers right away.

You just need to consider your automated knowledge base construction so an AI solution can simply tap into it for any issue resolution. The idea is to create a well-structured Help Center and expand it to encompass every aspect of your product or service.

This integration is not just limited to your Help Center, though. Consider other sources of public data that you would like an AI solution to access. This could include forums, FAQs, and external resources that enrich the AI's knowledge base with a diverse array of information.

After all, the backbone of the effectiveness of any AI tool lies in the accuracy and quality of the material it pores over. Intelligence, in this context, is only as good as the data it relies upon. 

With that said, ensure that the information accessible to your AI solution is not only accurate but also reflects the highest quality available.

Tips to choose the right automated knowledge base

First and foremost, when evaluating your options, look for automated knowledge base software that your team can develop, organize and update effortlessly. When looking for a platform, keep these key factors in mind:

Easy to set up and maintain

Opt for simplicity. Look for a knowledge base that is user-friendly and doesn't demand extensive, time-consuming training. 

Favor a software that your team can adopt and manage from day one. Look for a clean, distraction-free interface that’s easy to navigate and invites productivity.


Flexibility should be a priority as well. Confirm that the knowledge base offers options for various article types, customizable layouts, and the ability to reorganize content on the fly. 

These features will help you cater to diverse learning styles, while also maintaining brand consistency through flexible templating.

Integration with other systems and platforms

The final piece of the puzzle is integration. You should be able to effortlessly synchronize your knowledge base with other systems or platforms, delivering information within context. 

Take into account solutions, like a help desk and a chatbot, that connect with your messaging software, ensuring the knowledge flows seamlessly across your organization.

Intercom helps you automate your knowledge base with the power of AI

Intercom facilitates the delivery of helpful content to customers and scales your support by letting them search and browse articles directly in your product and on the web. Our knowledge base software includes:

  • AI-assist articles generator: Create engaging AI-powered content instantly for subjects and topics you want your customers to have instant access to.

  • Help center customization: Customize the colors, fonts, logo, domain, headers, and more to align with your brand identity.

  • Automated feedback: Track how customers rate your articles and collect feedback to address knowledge gaps.

  • Support for multiple languages: Configure your Help Center to work in multiple languages.

Ready for a smarter self-service with an automated knowledge base? Start your free trial today.

What’s next for your automation customer service? Read on: