In today’s world, everyone wants information at their fingertips. Nobody wants to go through an entire manual or document just to find one key point. The same goes for customers of any business, be it in retail, IT, pharmaceutical, or other sectors.
Hence, a published collection of documentation, usually called a knowledge base, is a vital part of day-to-day operations for any successful business. It mainly consists of how-to guides, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and troubleshooting manuals.
However, most small businesses consider the knowledge base a non-essential component due to the complexities required to create it and stay up to date. The solution to this issue is choosing an affordable knowledge management system or KMS system that can help you create and manage knowledge bases easily.
What is a Knowledge Management System?
The knowledge management system is a type of content management software that enables an organization to organize and centralize information in the form of documents, articles, guides, and more. It provides:
- A platform for searching.
- Sharing information that can be used internally for teams or externally for customers.
Information stores or knowledge bases continue to grow and get updated as the company grows via expert inputs. It serves as a single source of truth and helps prevent the data related to your offerings or internal policies from getting isolated or lost.
Knowledge management system software helps in improving collaboration and aligning every department towards achieving organizational goals.
Why Use Knowledge Management System for Customer Service?
A knowledge management system can help create a thorough knowledge base so that customers can find answers to certain common queries on their own. Different ways in which a KMS knowledge management system can improve the customer service experience are:
- 24/7 quick self-service
Customers do not have to wait for customer support agents to address their queries at any time of the day. They can simply access the knowledge information system online or on your dedicated mobile app.
- Reduced complaints
The number of tickets will be lower as most customers can find answers to common issues independently. Agents can focus on answering and resolving more complex issues quickly. This will reduce support expenses and improve customer satisfaction.
- Better resolution of complaints
Knowledge management systems contain videos, images, and exact text-based instructions for any query. This helps customers understand how to resolve an issue better without opting for email or mobile communication.
Even if customers contact the support agent, they can get direct help links to the right resource in the knowledge base for better understanding.
Benefits of Knowledge Management System for Small Businesses
There are numerous ways in which a knowledge management system can benefit small businesses.
- Save time and money
Small businesses can reduce the cost and save time answering calls and emails from customers by using an affordable knowledge management system. A knowledge base can help customers find solutions for common issues themselves.
They do not have to wait for long. In other cases, employees can quickly search for a solution to help customers.
- Faster training and onboarding
You can save time in training new and old employees by involving experts to create department-wise knowledge bases. By adding relevant solutions, guides, tutorials, and courses, every employee can be trained easily. Even if employees forget something, they just have to search quickly through the knowledge base.
- Improve customer satisfaction
By improving the efficiency of customer service, you can improve customer satisfaction and drive growth. Other capabilities of a knowledge management platform like multi-lingual support, regular updates, and scalable operations can further improve customer loyalty.
- Understand customers to build better solutions
Organizations can capture customer interactions across all channels and use them to understand their concerns. Knowledge management systems provide reports, analytics, and more to help better decision-making to improve the customer experience.
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Types of Knowledge Management Systems
There are several types of knowledge management systems based on the types of knowledge bases you want to create. Some of the major ones are:
Enterprise-Wide Knowledge Management System
These knowledge management systems make large volumes of organization-wide data accessible to everyone across teams and departments. These can create multiple knowledge bases with customization options for categorization, formatting, and more.
Coding is not required to update the content. Repetitive bulk maintenance processes are automated to save time. These systems come with an advanced search engine to quickly find the nested information.
This helps in better collaboration and higher efficiency among different business divisions. If there is sensitive information, access control allows only permitted users to view or change it.
Knowledge Work System
Knowledge Work Systems focus on varying systems to help knowledge workers like scientists and engineers who find and create knowledge. It helps with a central repository of people across different departments who can be approached for fetching any information.
The knowledge work system uses a knowledge database, knowledge graph, knowledge repository, among others. These tools from the knowledge work system help in better collaboration among groups for knowledge sharing.
These systems use artificial intelligence (AI) based techniques like data mining to find information, generate optimal solutions, and store the information. Answers to new issues are found by examining similar cases in the past.
This type of knowledge management system solution is useful when the existing information base is complex and huge, making it difficult for the management to extend the organizational knowledge readily.
12 Best Examples of Free and Open Source Knowledge Management Systems
Some of the best examples of free knowledge base management systems for creating various types of knowledge bases are:
- Zoho Wiki – For employees & customers
- Documize – Internal & external knowledge sharing
- PhpMyFAQ – For continuous improvement through FAQ base
- LogicalDOC – For enterprises
- OpenDocMan – Small business & consulting firms
- Knowmax – For enterprises
- Proprofs – For enterprises
- Freshworks – For customer service
- Document360 – For customers & internal teams
- HelpJuice – For human resource department
- HubSpot Service Hub – For customer service
- Zendesk Guide – For call center
Best for: KMS system for creating private knowledge bases
Zoho Wiki KMS system lets small teams and companies set up wiki-style knowledge bases. You can easily organize content by building hierarchies, adding tags, linking pages, and adding word documents.
Its WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor lets users add tables, formatting, URLs, and more. You can embed videos, images, presentations, Zoho, and other third-party widgets.
Zoho Wiki Features
- Customizable workspaces
- Portal branding
- User-based view and edit access
- 50MB to 1 GB per user storage, depending on the plan
- Instant updates for any changes in a knowledge base
Zoho Wiki Pricing: It’s a free KMS Knowledge management system for up to 3 users. The Business plan starts at INR 162 per user per month when billed annually.
Additional Wiki Unlimited Workspace plan costs INR 3240 annually. There is a 15 percent annual discount for non-profit organizations.
Best for: Content authoring & automation
Documize is a free knowledge management platform ideal for external and internal documentation of products, projects and services. The KMS software deploys automated content authoring for quickly organizing all content.
Documize offers snippets catalogue and content archiving as well for business documentation purposes.
Features of Documize KMS software:
- Collection of document files for creating searchable content
- Two-tier and reusable templates for an organized document library
- Nested structure creation for an easy editing and reading experience
- Multiple section types for composing the content
- Control workflows for approving and publishing content
Documize Pricing: Documize is a free knowledge management software for up to ten users. Monthly plans vary based on the number of users.
Starting price for 25 and 50 users is ₹ 5581 and ₹ 11163, respectively. Unlimited users’ plan charges around 111633 per month.
Best for: Open source web app for FAQs
phpMyFAQ open source & free knowledge management software offers automatically generated XML sitemaps for listing the FAQ articles alphabetically. This KMS system provides a built-in revision system for switching back to the older entries of FAQs.
phpMyFAQ working is based on the smart answering system that automatically answers the given set of questions by doing a full-text search of all existing FAQs.
Features of phpMyFAQ:
- Password protected backend for attachments, FAQ records, comments, groups and users
- Permissions & user-defined roles for reviewing and editing the content
- Search option in multiple languages and graphical reports for all searches made
- SSO support, HTTP and LDAP authentication
- Multiple active directory servers for multi-domain authentication
- User tracking for analyzing the quality of FAQs
phpMyFAQ Pricing: phpMyFAQ is a completely free and open-source knowledge management system.
Best for: Paperless document management through eForms
LogicalDOC free & open source knowledge management software offers a secure and reliable platform for organizing your digital documents. The document management platform provides intuitive tools for creating, co-authoring and coordinating all your document files.
The KMS system further provides access to version controls, workflow management, and event subscriptions.
Features of LogicalDOC:
- Multilingual text editing of metadata and content files
- Automatic indexing of data entries
- Support available for DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) image format
- Document and metadata customization based on custom properties
- Drop spot for quickly uploading multiple files
- OCR for transforming paper documents into full-text searchable folders/files
- Digital watermarking or stamping for converting files into PDF
- Zonal barcode for setting up different templates
LogicalDOC Pricing: LogicalDOC community edition has an open-source code and is available for free download.
Best for: Robust document & user management
OpenDocMan is an OIE standard-based, free and open-source KMS software for hassle-free document management. The knowledge management platform offers a centralized document storage system and easy user management to delegate documentation responsibilities.
OpenDocMan provides access control over files and a minimalist interface for delegating document management responsibilities.
Features of OpenDocMan:
- Full search option based on metadata, comments, author and department
- Document workflows for reviewing document expiration and notification updates
- Automated management server for all documents
- Multiple language support for around eight languages
- Quick management of document security based on user type
OpenDocMan Pricing: This KMS system is free and open-source with no additional cost.
Best for: Remote working in enterprises
Knowmax is an AI-powered knowledge management platform that provides solutions for healthcare, automobiles, telecom, e-commerce, and banking.
It helps ensure consistency across all channels and improves the discovery rate through the auto-tagging feature. The content gets auto-saved regularly to prevent data loss.
- Unlimited articles, documents, decision trees
- Custom branding of UI
- Feedback reports and time spent analysis
- Channel-based user management (Website, chatbot, mobile app, stores, contact centers)
- API and custom integrations
Knowmax Pricing: There is also a pay-per-module pricing system for this free and open source KMS system so that you pay only for the features you use.
Best for: Internal knowledge base for employee training
Proprofs knowledge management system lets users quickly get started with knowledge bases, help documents, manuals, and more. You can also add dynamic content to avoid repeating same information on different pages.
In case of data deletion, you can easily recover content from recycle bin. It provides multilingual support based on user location and preferences.
- Professional site and page templates
- Version control to undo new changes
- Help Widget embedding for contextual and guided help
- Reports and suggestions
- Integration with Freshdesk, Google Analytics, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more
Proprofs Pricing: This knowledge base management system offers a 15-day free trial. Essentials plan for private knowledge base starts at an annual price of INR 147.300 per user per month up to 25 users.
For public knowledge base that supports up to 3 users starts at INR 2209.500 for each author per month in an annual subscription.
Best for: KMS system for omnichannel customer support
Freshworks offers a Freshdesk knowledge base management system for teams to create and promote their knowledge base via SEO optimization.
Answers to frequent queries by agents can be converted to articles in a few clicks. It is easy to navigate to different categories, and you can add pictures, videos, and other files anytime.
- Omnichannel dashboard
- Bulk changes to multiple categories
- Article versioning for choosing best version at a time
- Instant article updates
- Custom reports and analytics
Freshworks Pricing: Freshworks KMS system offers a 21-day free trial. You can get started for free regardless of the number of agents. Paid annual plans start at INR 999 per agent per month.
Best for: Public or private self-service knowledge bases
Document360 provides a clean user interface for creating knowledge bases for customers and internal teams in several languages. You can easily migrate the content from your existing platform to this knowledge information system without drastic changes to SEO traffic.
To avoid data loss, you can keep several versions of any article. It works with chat, helpdesk, analytics tools, and more.
- Category manager to organize articles
- Branding elements
- Advanced search with article suggestions
- Self-service portal
- Automatic scheduled and manual backups
Document360 Pricing: You can access the KMS system through a 14-day free trial. The annual pricing for the Startup plan starts at INR 3616.690 for every project per month. You can also go for Business, Enterprise, Enterprise Plus versions.
Best for: Public knowledge base
HelpJuice knowledge base software lets startups and small businesses create SEO-optimized articles and upload them in bulk via CSV. You can easily embed the knowledge base within your application and restrict access for different types of users.
There are automated and manual backups in this KMS system so that users can download or restore the content in a single click.
- Article planner to convert ideas to reality
- Customizable themes
- Instant search for content, including images and PDFs
- Analytics to understand article performance
- Integration with MS Teams, Salesforce, Zapier, and more
HelpJuice Pricing: All plans of this knowledge management platform come with a 14-day free trial option. It is priced at INR 8857.680 for up to 4 users. For more users, you can opt for Run-Up, Premium Limited, and Premium Unlimited plans.
HubSpot Service Hub
Best for: Knowledge management system for customer service
HubSpot Service Hub is a knowledge management software that helps users create articles and documentation for FAQs. You can choose formatting and styling options for the knowledge base that suits your brand.
As the knowledge base is integrated with other features like live chat, help desk, and more, businesses get a centralized view of all customer data.
HubSpot Service Hub Features
- SEO optimization features
- Usage data tracking and reporting
- Branding components
- Feedback surveys
- Multilingual support
HubSpot Service Hub Pricing: This knowledge management software offers a free plan. Paid editions start at INR 3323.385 per month.
Best for: Scalable IT knowledge base
Zendesk knowledge management software offers an easy-to-use interface for everyone, from startups to enterprises. It has an editor module with pre-built templates that can be used to create IT knowledge base, internal knowledge base, and FAQ tool for customers or support agents.
With an omnichannel dashboard, this knowledge management software offers support for over 40 different languages.
- Custom branding
- Automated answers via AI
- In-built reports and analytics
- Self-service portal
- Full-text search
Zendesk Guide Pricing: This knowledge base management system offers a free trial and is a part of the Zendesk software suite. Annual pricing for the Suite Team plan begins at INR 3616.886 per agent per month. You can also go for Suite Growth and Suite Professional plans.
Tips for Choosing Best Knowledge Management Software
There are numerous knowledge management tools in the market. To choose the best one for your business, consider the following:
Understand your current business requirements
Choosing the best knowledge management software means understanding your current business team requirements as well as the future scalability options. This way, you do not have to worry about the flexibility and reliability of your knowledge base when your business grows.
KMS solution that’s easy to use
Create knowledge bases should not be time-consuming. With a good knowledge base management system, you should create any form of hierarchical structure you want. It should be easy to locate sub-categories nested deep within categories.
To streamline all activities, integration with existing systems like helpdesk and third-party applications is important. There is a single source of truth and thereby a consistent experience across all the tools.
Users do not have to do repetitive administrative activities like adding permissions for different systems.
If you deploy the right knowledge management system for your small business, it can reduce customer support expenses significantly while improving customer satisfaction. This can prove to be a game-changer and drive your growth.
- Why use a knowledge management system for small businesses?
A knowledge management system that helps manage the constant changes in data and processes of a small business as it grows. It can provide critical information to agents and customers quickly.
This can reduce ticketing and in-person support costs. With multilingual support, businesses can provide services globally in the future.
- What is the importance of a knowledge management system for enterprises?
Organizing a growing huge amount of data can be challenging for enterprises, but a knowledge management system helps store it in a single location.
Self-service options allow customers to resolve most issues themselves. Service agents are more confident in providing support due to quick data access.
- What are the common knowledge management system types?
Common knowledge management system types include customer service knowledge bases, community forums, research libraries, knowledge management systems for enterprises, among others.
- What are the four components of knowledge management?
The four components are people, process, content/ IT technology, and strategy. With these elements, users can create or use the knowledge to manage their organization better.
- What are the key principles of knowledge management?
The knowledge management should be such that the knowledge base stays relevant over time. The knowledge base must be scalable, accessible, secure, shareable, and stored in a central location. It should also align with the business.
- What is the purpose of knowledge management?
The purpose of knowledge management is to organize documentation and be up to date with the organizational changes. Employees and customers can find the information they want on their own.
It can improve employee productivity and help in training new employees during onboarding. This can decrease both external and internal support tickets.