History of Helpdesk and its impact on businesses

Defining “Helpdesk”

Helpdesk generally refers to a physical space that is often manned by someone from the customer support team of a company.  In recent times, it is just a means to reach out to a company when some help is needed. Most companies give out an email ID, support website address and toll-free phone number to their customers. Customers can reach the company through these when they need help.

 

“Help Desk” or “Helpdesk”

This is one of the popular questions that is asked about this topic. Many of dictionaries of popular dictionaries only had the word “Help desk.” But Cambridge Dictionary online had the word “Helpdesk.” It calls it the Business English. But the underlying meaning behind both the terms remains the same.

 

History of Helpdesk

In the first half of 20th century, companies heavily relied on the use of face-face interaction to resolve issues of their customers. To get their problems solved, customers had to go to the company’s store. Companies hired special staff to communicate with customers. This facility later came to be known as the Helpdesk

With the introduction of new technologies, the second half of 20th century saw a transformation in the field of customer support. With the use of Telephones and Telephone switchboard, helpdesk assumed a new approach. Customers used the telephones to voice out their problems and companies had to hire new personnel and set up call centers to customers reaching by phone calls. Training the support staff was essential to organize and handle customer inquiries to ensure that customer needs are met efficiently. A lot of money was invested in this form of Helpdesk.

There was a big leap in telephonic customer support when the Interactive voice response (IVR) was introduced which reduced the investment by a good amount and also reduced the workload of the support staff.

The advent of the Internet created new avenues for the Helpdesk to be implemented. Customers could contact helpdesk through the Internet, and this led to the massive use of email and live chat systems for Helpdesk. Companies even outsourced their helpdesk personnel to low-cost countries, and customer support became a big industry employing millions of people worldwide. For example of helpdesk company, Concentrix is a business services company, started in 1991, and it provides services to major companies in various sectors.

As the companies grew, the number of customers and their needs also grew. E-mail could not be used as the primary channel of customer support because every new query became a string of emails and it was tough to prioritize and resolve each of the problems. A new form of Helpdesk was needed, and it evolved as Helpdesk Software.

 

Helpdesk as a Software

In the 2000’s, companies began to use a diverse kind of software packages to deal with customer-care issues. Interactive and participatory software programs were designed for submitting and tracking issues to help customers and support agents.

These software packages were collectively called as the Helpdesk software. These are software packages which enable the customer-care operators to accept, track and respond to support requests in an organized fashion. It makes the Helpdesk service more efficient and enterprising. They could provide

  • Self-service portal
  • Service-level agreement (SLA) management
  • Support ticket management and
  • Feedback monitoring

 

Creating a Modern Helpdesk

The 21st century saw a sharp rise in micro investment companies and small businesses which have fewer employees compared to regular-sized firm or corporation. These companies cannot afford to hire many numbers of support staff and hence focused on making the excellent self-service portals which reduced the workload on support staff to a great extent.

These self-service helpdesks do not require a separate Helpdesk software but can be incorporated into a business website by means of extensions called Helpdesk Plugins. These Plugins work as Knowledgebase to create and organize the support articles given by the company and is equipped with various features to meet the needs of the customers to serve as a Self-service Helpdesk.

Building an excellent customer support Helpdesk from your business website has become the key to achieving best customer satisfaction. There are several ways in which a great customer support Helpdesk can be done.

 

Helpdesk Software Vs. Plugin

There are many differences between Helpdesk software and plugins; the main difference is in the needs of the company and the money it can invest to buy the Helpdesk.

Helpdesk software can be of crucial when many number agents are working to resolve support tickets. It is very much beneficial when there are various teams (departments) working with the helpdesk and helps to reduce time and personnel and can resolve issues efficiently.

The cost of a Helpdesk software depends on the company size, the size of the team, and what the business needs. Most of the software is not a onetime buy and needs to be renewed every month. This would be trivial if both the investment and the team is small, and especially if you are a startup.

The Helpdesk plugin, on the other hand, is a onetime buy option and much less of cost comparing the Helpdesk software.

Software in the form of plugins can be easily integrated with the website platform which is better than using a separate helpdesk software where you need an independent platform only for the support work.

 

Helpdesk Knowledge Base

A Knowledge Base (KB) is a software program which organizes information so that it’s easily searchable and browseable. So creating a self-service helpdesk with a KB is the best way to help customers find the help that they are searching. There are features in a KB with which it can get optimum results.

 

The superiority of Self-service portals

According to ITworld Canada, companies are investing 30% more every year in their Helpdesk programs and in developing their KB articles.

In a small set-up, providing self-service articles are the best way to meet customer needs because 40% of the customer queries are repetitive and mostly the queries are for guidance to using the product rather than troubleshooting. Even if troubleshooting is involved, it would mostly be an earlier solved issue than a novel problem.

Also, customers do not like being treated like machines, especially when they talk to IVR (Interactive voice response) which can be frustrating many times and when issued with a support ticket, they are made to wait for a long time which is not good for business.

Impacts of Helpdesk plugin on business

Self-serving Helpdesk plugins have become a phenomenon in customer support industry. They have many advanced features to empower your business. They have impacted modern business in several ways, which are:

Updated and New articles

Creating and editing the articles is the backbone of maintaining any Helpdesk portal. With the Front End Editing option, writing new articles and editing olds articles has become very easy with just one-click the open the editing option. This becomes handy when you are always working towards creating the best user-friendly articles.

Customization for your Brand

The very looks of your support site can help differentiate your brand. A support site has to be customized for a user-friendly interface, reduced complexity, and better styling. Advanced Hero Branding and Drag and Drop elements features is available in the Plugin which allows for the best customization to promote your brand reach.

 

More Consistency and Satisfaction

When a customer talks to different support executives, the information they receive may be inconsistent, or they may not be satisfied with the information they are given. In the case of helpdesk articles, customers can be referred to the respective articles to ensure the consistency in support.

This adds credibility to the business because of their accuracy and consistency. Customers can find what they want by themselves, giving them gives a sense of satisfaction which they would not get while asking help from a support executive.

 

Time-saving by easy Findability

In a self-service helpdesk, customer need not spend a lot of time to find the exact support information because they use a search bar which provides a keyword search.

This search option is equipped with the Live Ajax search which provides the best matching results by Keyword Prioritisation and Partial keyword matching, in a very short time.  This option saves a lot of time, and the accuracy of this feature ensures that the customer finds the specific articles.

Save a lot of Money

Since the Helpdesk plugin encourages self-service, the number of staff can be reduced and by that the amount spent on employing and training customer service executives is brought down. This empowers the entrepreneur to invest more money in other departments other than customer support.

The onetime buy option of the Helpdesk plugin is also a major money saver because the monthly subscription of the software version cost a huge sum on a regular basis..

 

Best User Experience and excellent Flow

A self-service portal powered by a Helpdesk plugin has all the articles arranged adequately in their respective Categories and has a Table of Contents which shows all the topics and sub-topics arranged in hierarchical order.

There is a consistent flow to the articles which are read by the customer, and they need not have to search every time for the next article. This creates a continuity of information provided, and the enhances the user experience.

 

Grouping the end users

Due to the market needs companies may like to create customer groups depending on the products bought or by their location. Some companies may even have their support as a premium feature for their product.

Having a Helpdesk-login for each user or user group could help in these cases, and for this purpose, the Helpdesk plugin would have User Access Control and Password Protection feature to set a priority element or when your support articles changes with different customer groups.

 

Analyzing the Performance

Determining the overall performance of the customer support is a must for any healthy business. Extensive analytics and insights are there in Helpdesk plugin which helps you to understand your customer needs and will enable you to optimize your support for customer satisfaction.

Provide proper Feedback

Having a good feedback system helps you to understand how happy your customers are with your support. Rating the support articles is the best way to get this feedback. A Voting system with like or dislike options, and emo-voting is given by the Helpdesk plugin to meet this need. With this system, you can know which articles your customer likes and which ones need a change. Updating your articles based on this feedback will give a sense of involvement for your customers which is crucial for business.

 

Best WordPress Helpdesk Plugin

With all things said and discussed the Helpdesk With all things said and discussed, it is clear that the Helpdesk plugins have a huge impact on business. I would like to introduce you the best one available in today’s market.

It is the Helpie, most powerful and advanced Helpdesk WordPress plugin available. All of the features mentioned above are present in Helpie, and much more features are also available. It is a is a simple and powerful plugin for you to organize documentation/knowledge of any kind for your WordPress business website. It also has a 24/7 support, which is critical for any website which is using a plugin.

If you don’t believe me, check it out in Codecanyon, a trusted site for all WordPress plugins.

 


Helpie 1.6 – Wakanda

This release of Helpie ( v1.6 ) celebrates the technological advancement of Wakanda to be a force for good.

This feature now makes it possible to edit all your Knowledge Base main page components with Elementor.

Updates:

  1. Hero section – Shortcode, Widget, Elementor element
  2. Frontend Stats – Shortcode, Widget, Elementor element
  3. Category Listing:
    1. Shortcode, Widget, Elementor element
    2. Filtering: By Topics
    3. Sorting: Alphabetic, By Article Count, Custom ( drag and drop )

Try the demo now: http://helpie.pauple.com/

We have also created a new demo website that you’ll love: http://helpie.pauple.com/wiki-demo

Please share your ideas and suggestions.


Helpie Version 1.5 – Starman

We have just released a new version of Helpie WordPress Knowledge Base plugin – Helpie 1.5 ( Starman ). Honoring the great Starman ( SpaceX mascot for Falcon Heavy Launch ), we push forward to making your favorite WordPress Knowledge Base even better.

Here’s what we have for you:

Article Listing Module:
The new Article Listing module can be used from your main page, as a widget, a shortcode, an Elementor element with full styling capabilities.

Read More

Envato Automatic updates:

Update Helpie right from your WordPress Dashboard without any 3rd party plugins.
Read More

Enhanced Search:
The search now shows matched content and also the category/topic of the article

Have questions or suggestions, email us at hello at pauple.com


THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE BASE AND WHY YOU NEED IT

Knowledge Base: a basic idea

In this Age of Information, it no wonders that you have come across the word “Knowledge base” multiple times on the Internet especially if you are a businessman or a person involved in directly/indirectly in a business. So, let us see what this Knowledge Base is.

A Knowledge Base (KB) is a computer software which captures human knowledge, converts it into a machine-readable form and uses this knowledge to solve problems which only human could solve. It is a well-organized database which allows the user to perform semantic and logical operations.

 

NOTE: Knowledgebase could also refer to the content of a particular field of knowledge for example, I could say “I have a good Knowledge Base for Psychology” which would mean that I have general background knowledge for studying Psychology as a discipline.

 

But the Knowledge Base which we are referring here is a computer software which is proving to be significantly helping in business.

 

Knowledge Base and Knowledge management

The efficiency of a KB highly depends on how the system manages the knowledge. Hence, a range of strategies known as Knowledge management which enables you to create, curate, share and manage knowledge across the whole company is the crucial factor for a KB.

Knowledge management focuses on improving self-service, i.e., a person tries to find information by themselves without other person’s help. It gives faster access to the relevant articles without having to go through irrelevant ones, thereby providing competitive advantages in terms of time and energy and improves the performance of a person or a company to a great extent.

Know more about Knowledge management (KM)

 

Applications of Knowledge Base

In 1980’s KB systems were first used in Expert systems were among the first truly successful forms of artificial intelligence (AI) software. Since then, they have been applied in various fields and platforms.

A major change in their application was brought by the Internet. With the rise of the Internet, documents, hypertext, and multimedia support were critical for corporate databases. They are mainly applied in Knowledge application technologies which include:

  • expert systems
  • decision support systems
  • advisor systems
  • fault diagnosis (or troubleshooting) systems
  • help desk systems.

Is knowledge base same as a database?

A database is an organized body of related information. It behaves like an adequate storeroom in which can store all things in the house. It can store everything and will give everything it has on the matter, and one has to search what he/she wants within the massive pile of data. Inventory systems, and library software etc., are examples of databases.

Knowledge Base, on the other hand, is precise, like getting an expert opinion on a specific problem or a query. It is smarter than a database and has a logic behind all of the data it contains and understands the rationale behind each question and provides only the relevant results. In short, KB gives easy access to accurate and consistent information.

 

Knowledge Base and Wiki

At first glance, KB and Wiki might feel like the same, but there is a fundamental difference between them.

The Wikis are primarily a collaborative tool in which people from all over the world can contribute to the contents. The famous world renown Wiki is the Wikipedia. In Wikipedia, all the articles are created, edited, and collaborated by people from all over the world, and if one reader disagrees with the content, they can edit the content and publish it instantly. Though this makes knowledge sharing faster,  the accuracy and legitimacy of the articles are questionable, and due to the vast number of contributors, the articles could be inconsistent and inaccurate.

KB, on the other hand, are specially appointed resources, in which articles are written with clarity and proficiency. The items in KB are written by experts in the respected fields. It is ensured that readers get expert opinions which are accurate and consistent.

In KB readers are users or user groups, and the articles are made explicitly keeping them in mind. The critical aspect of KB is the user being able to ask questions and get accurate answers.

 

Knowledge Base examples

Many corporates are using KB systems mainly for their Web Content Management. KBs have helped many companies to grasp the digital workspace which has efficiently increased their General communication, Peer-peer collaboration, Idea generation and innovation and sharing and retrieving of flies.

One example of a big company relying on KB is Microsoft which had developed its Product support service website as a KB. It came to best use when havoc broke out during Microsoft’s release of its first version of Windows Vista which had multiple malfunctions (bugs) and errors. Millions of Windows users were in need of support and KB came to their rescue. Most of the customers were able to find help using Microsoft support website without having to make actual contact with Support staff.

Another example of KB is Salesforce Knowledge base software which is used for Customer relationship management (CRM).  This software stores, customer contact information like names, addresses, and phone numbers, as well as keeps track of customer activity like website visits, phone calls, email, etc.,

By organizing nearly all of the world’s information, Google has become the world’s most famous search engine. But can we do more? Can we organize all this information in a better way? The world’s answer to these questions is called the Knowledge engine which tries to understand the query rather than merely searching for keywords.  The Knowledge engine is just one future application of KB much more are in development.

 

Open-source and Free Knowledge Base

KB is widely used to help small businesses and customer service, teams. They are built on different platforms depending on the platform which the business and support websites are built. The various platforms on which these websites are built are Tumblr, WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, etc., Some of these KB’s are Free Knowledge Base and are available to download as an Open-source Knowledge Base.

 

But in the World of Technology,  a KB requires constant support and updates to meet the advancements and competition from other companies. Hence, a premium KB is better equipped to meet our needs rather than Open-source and Free KBs.

 

Key features of a Powerful Knowledge Base:

 

Preference to ordered articles

According to a Forrester report, self-service has a better satisfaction rating than virtual agent interaction. Customers don’t like to call for support because the support staff take a lot of time to understand their query and often put the customer on hold. They prefer to find help by themselves and hence look for support articles.

 

So creating a well-structured and categorized support articles is the key. A KB which can help create a dashboard with a table of contents and a drag and drop feature to change the order of contents could come in handy for managing the articles.

Save time and money

If you are running a company, especially a startup then you will have a ton of support work to do which takes a lot of time. You would also spend a ton of money in finding the most talented people to take care of your customers. This can be efficiently reduced by using a KB which helps the customers to find support articles by themselves, hence saving the company a lot of time and money. An excellent knowledge base can dramatically reduce the money spent on customer support.

 

Better customer experience

Search is the core feature the help the customers to find the right help quickly. A power search in your KB can do wonders for your user’s experience. This feature would have Instant Ajax search (an algorithm that searches for keywords in contents) which is incredibly fast and accurate and so getting the best help in a minimal amount of time.

 

Provides a feedback system with Insights

Customers often feel that the content in the support articles does not match their expectations. So getting customer feedback is essential to meet the customer’s needs. Having a KB which provides a voting system for your articles and an insight engine to help you get the best insights to improve your self-help articles.

They will help you see:

 

  • What users are searching for
  • How popular your articles are
  • Whether your articles are hitting the mark and resolving customer queries
  • More liked/disliked articles
  • Overall user happiness score
  • Your most happy/unhappy customers

 

Restrict access to your content

Let’s say that support is a premium feature for your product which you want to give only to paying customer, or you have two different contents for types of customers or customer groups (example, a long-time, and a new customer). Then you will need a KB to provide User Access Control with added password protection which will let you restrict each customer to limited support content.

 

Easy documentation and Editing

The nature of support content itself is to be reviewed continuously and edited based on user experience. For this purpose, easy product documentation, and editing feature is needed. KB should have Frontend Editing (editing of page content directly by just clicking a link) feature which can enable the user to do the necessary editing.  Frontend Editing is super useful and easy to edit.

 

Increase your domain authority

Customers will search for support articles mostly on search engines like Google and because of your KB articles which are easy to find with keywords which are optimized for Search, there is more traffic to your domain. This increases your site’s SEO and domain authority. A good KB is marketing in itself.

 

Support for KB

KB itself is a software which could be added to your website in forms such as add-ons and plugins. We all know that all softwares could malfunction and create errors. When you are doing business worth millions of dollars it can damage you big time if there is a malfunction. That is why you need a 24/7 support team ready for your call for help if such a situation arises.

 

Click this link To know more about Must-have features of Knowledge base

 

WordPress Knowledge Base

WordPress powers almost 29% of the whole internet, and many of the popular e-commerce and business websites are also built on WordPress. There are various knowledge base plugins available for WordPress. They help your users and customers find documents and FAQs with an organized knowledge base.

Most powerful plugin

Most powerful and advanced WordPress knowledge base plugin is the Helpie. All the features mentioned above are met entirely by Helpie, and much more features are also available. It is a is a simple and powerful plugin for you to organize documentation/knowledge of any kind for your WordPress website.

You can get Helpie now in Codecanyon which is a trusted site for WordPress plugins. Get it now!

You can also try a demo of how a KB works. Click this link To try a demo.


Best Practices in Knowledge Management: 5 areas that cry for your attention

 

Knowledge Management is the deliberate act of recognizing, validating, organizing, storing and communicating information relevant to the functioning of an organization, to key employees, to enable them preempt questions, solve problems, make decisions, change or rework strategies and processes in order to prevent obsolescence and maintain their competitive advantage.

You need to constantly review and update the knowledge management process itself to ensure relevance and competitiveness. Best practices from these 5 areas; knowledge collection, incorporation, mapping, resource cultivation and harnessing tech, will help you rethink your processes in a new light.

Look In and Look Out

Creating and adding value by utilizing knowhow, experience, judgment, and learning is a finite process with infinite mines.

These wells and mines of knowledge may exist within an organization, and just as likely, outside, and may need to be ushered in. Learning from competition may come to your mind as an often used quip and just as important may be to learn from any individual, company or industry known for a best practice. If it works for them it most likely will for you as well. So you need to look inwards and outside your company to obtain complete and competitive knowledge.

Your firm cannot rely too long on current knowledge and must strategize to actively acquire knowledge of new markets, technologies, recipes, consumer insight, value addition, and at times even the way the legal and regulatory environment is shaping up in the geographies you operate in.

The potential to learn from many sources, if built into the knowledge management system, will enable you to deliver superior value with your competitive advantage becoming accretive over time.

When you have decided to look outward, make sure the flow of knowledge between the two organizations is smooth and supported by established measures for its implementation. The learning process is smoother if the knowledge resides in a sister concern or joint venture.

Establishing an agreement with a non-compete or joint research clause and agreeing with clear guidelines on which part of the knowledge belongs to which organization and how it can be utilized or patented may be an option you can explore. Poaching expertise may be the last option, including the option of outright purchase of the knowledge, but this could to be an expensive process most of the time.

Digest well Avoid Constipation

It’s easy to constipate on knowledge when you acquire or store it for its own sake. You will suddenly find yourself overwhelmed with the quantity and diffusion of information leading to decision paralysis. For your knowledge management strategy to be successful, the sequence from knowledge creation to dissemination has to marry re-evaluation, re-adjustment, and re-thinking of the processes to entune with the new learning. This leads to optimal processes and working conditions.

The continuous sharpening of knives, in terms of knowledge, skills, technology and in some cases behavior, ultimately gives you the winning edge that differentiates the value offered to your customers versus your competitor.

You need to know what to imbibe. Understanding your company’s value proposition becomes critical here in terms of what exactly contributes to improved organizational outcomes and results. It’s a step too easy to fall into the trap of ascribing more value to apparently valuable information but which is not critical to the fulfillment of your promise to the consumer.

Healthy digestion should naturally lead to healthy assimilation as well. Here you need to chew over the importance of linking all knowledge processes within your organization. Different parts of your value chain generate and use different bits of knowledge. The integration of all into one drives organizational purpose. The process that stores information in a silo will tend to become your weakest link in future.

Map to Understand

Prepare your knowledge map using mapping tools. Mindmap works like magic. Differentiate the focus areas from the lacking areas.

Focus area: To ensure your knowledge management processes are integrated with your business processes, you need to specify the focus areas, which will be your value proposition and business critical knowledge. Map and use this knowledge to realize strategic objectives, e.g., improving manufacturing efficiency, reducing service costs or reducing downtimes.

Organizational priorities need to be linked with knowledge priorities. Specific processes need to be given measurable outcomes e.g. savings. This value chain has to promote full organization’s participation in key management periodically reviewing knowledge needed, available, gap and allocate resources to fill this gap.

Lacking areas: We are in the knowledge era and the future belongs to companies with knowledge management ingrained in their DNA. In order to develop strategies to exploit the knowledge in products, processes, services, practices, and norms, you need to find gaps and plug them by accessing, developing or buying this lacking knowledge. You need to harness technology and use measurable models and analytics to constantly measure this gap or lack. Keeping an eye on the width of this gap will surely be akin to keeping your finger on the pulse of the organization.

Convert People to Resources

If you are in the same industry, chances are, you are competing with the same resources.

How effectively you are utilizing these resources is a function of your embedded processes and standard work practices, management practices, stage of evolution of the organization, complexities within the organizational culture, environment and social fabric, skills and know how that exists that the firm is able to pay for and retain and finally pools of cumulative experience.

Every one of these factors is directly affected by knowledge embedding over time and like the proverbial elephant can be valuable resources or degenerate into redundancy and liability.

If your business is knowledge intensive, you need to first locate stakeholders of highly valued activities. The next step is to establish resources and recipients of critical knowledge and identify the assets needed in each step of the process in order to create an inventory of explicit and tacit knowledge used and needed.

In a resource based organization, the knowledge within becomes the center of its competitiveness. This is particularly true in certain technology intensive and new generation organizations.

The cultivation, development, and retention of these resources hence become its primary need.

How valuable are your employees to you?

Imagine for a minute half of them working for your key competitor.

How much do you lose?

Learning in this context becomes a more complex issue and has a value attached to it and every employee with tacit knowledge will have a quantifiable replacement value.

Alliances and collaborations with external partners enable firms to learn from each other and thus accelerate the movement of knowledge.

Cultivating resources necessitates an ambient organizational culture, objective setting and reward system.

When knowledge capture and sharing are enumerated in the objectives, resistance is reduced. Motivation can be built around incentives for sharing. Recognition as an expert within the organization and open recognition through awards and promotions go a long way.

More and more in our networked society, with every bit of new knowledge making a difference to millions of lives instantaneously, e.g., through publications, blogs, lectures at conferences, or sharing in knowledge communities, an employee’s recognition externally is gaining in importance.

Tech the Trouble

Technology has vast applications in knowledge management and can be adapted to capture, store and use knowledge. While software tends to be complicated, the tools themselves need to be designed such that the user is prompted to the right place.

Different groups of workers, focused at different types of activities, at different locations in the company have different requirements and levels of knowledge use and generation. All IT systems need to be integrated into the knowledge management system to ensure communication and crosstalk to be seamless and connecting processes throughout the organization.

Every activity involves learning and boredom, the more repetitive the activity the more the latter. Tasks that have been specialized to the extent where thought and learning are not required, have been quickly replaced by technology.

We are today in the robotic age where the focus is entirely on maximizing the scope of tasks that can be mechanized. A crucial element that will be missing in future generations will, therefore, be the little nuggets of learning that smoothen the wheels of operation on a daily basis.

Can you be replaced by a robot?

The answer to this question leads you to think of the judgement and refinement your experience brings into decision making that the robot will not be able to.

Have you asked yourself as to what extent technology should be an enabler in your firm and where should you draw the line?

On a final note,

Vastly different are the knowledge management issues in small vs big organizations and in the manufacturing/product vs the service industry. You first need to know what business critical knowledge is and isolate methods for its capture.

Start by looking within your organization, but like an antivirus update, you periodically need to download or import to fill your knowledge gaps that will keep on arising. Make sure this gap doesn’t go too wide especially if you are in the newer economy. Learning and implementation have to be done by the staff and competency management here are essential.

By recruiting the right hands, you can delay redundancies.

New knowledge will be wasted if not immediately incorporated in renewing your systems, refurbishing your products or changing your processes and employee commitment tends to get reduced subsequently if they think its just routine knowledge capture.

Invest in your people through training to maintain productivity, or soon you will find they can all be replaced by robots. Strong leadership commitment is the backbone of any successful knowledge management system or process.

As Peter F Drucker, the American management guru once said, “The single greatest challenge facing managers in the developed countries of the word is to raise the productivity of knowledge and service workers” which brings to focus the importance of the manner in which knowledge is handled within an organization.

Knowledge Bases are essential for any organization focussed on improving their Knowledge Management. Do check out our own Helpie WordPress Knowledge Base Plugin to take your organization’s Knowledge Management to the next level.


4 Knowledge Management Models That Can Supercharge Your Organisation

 

Each organization has its own unique knowledge management strategy (KM) and modeling.

You would agree that it really helps to understand if the strategy addresses the strategic needs of the organization.

Knowledge itself is the ability to apply the tacit and explicit information in problem-solving, decision making or effecting an improvement within the core values of an organization.

A KM model is a structured way to look at the process of KM used by an organization in order to investigate its properties and tailoring it to the organization’s specific needs. All models basically have four parts:

  1. Information capture
  2. Storage
  3. Customization
  4. and use

Some models like the Nonaka Model elaborates more on the “Use” and “creation” parts while the Zack Model concentrates more on the customization part or the refinement of the information.

At first, the information captured needs to be processed to distill only the business critical knowledge, also called strategic knowledge, which has to be verified and validated by key stakeholders.

This information stored in usable formats has become Knowledge. This knowledge has to be distributed to the relevant target group and enables the user to solve problems for example. This process of converting information into knowledge that can be used is called the Knowledge Management Cycle.

 

The 4 comprehensive and widely used KM models are elaborated here:

 

Nonaka and Takeuchi Model

Here the focus is on knowledge creation. In order for innovation to take place, the bar has to be raised, first, in the sphere of knowledge creation. The model defines and elaborates on the 2 types of knowledge, the explicit knowledge which is well documented and tacit knowledge which is a result of years of experience and hence is likely to unconsciously reside at the back of the mind of the expert using this knowledge.

Since knowledge creation is a continuous process and occurs in both a planned and accidental way across the organization, this model considers the capture of this knowledge as the key to continuous improvement.

Nonaka also specifies the 4 methods of knowledge conversion:

  1. Socialization (tacit to tacit)
  2. Externalization (tacit to explicit)
  3. Combination (explicit to explicit) and
  4. Internalization (explicit to tacit)

 

Explicit knowledge can be processed by either a human or computer whereas tacit information can only be processed by the person who holds it. Let’s now look at each of the methods of knowledge conversion.

Socialization: This is where knowledge sharing takes place through presentations, demonstrations, one-on-ones etc. It can be between two individuals over coffee or a formal open-up session. It may also take the form of a mentorship program where the objective itself is the systematic download of tacit information onto a successor.

Externalization: Here knowledge is stored to disseminate in a planned manner e.g. through publication, presentations in seminars and conferences etc. Academic institutions and research and development centers have this as their priority as they are viewed as the source of information dissemination.

Internalization: Simply put this is training with a purpose. If you need to fix your water heater, you first “internalize” or learn the “explicit” knowledge which the user manual may contain in order to then use this knowledge to troubleshoot. Similarly, an organization may need experts to pore over certain documented information to troubleshoot a manufacturing line to reduce rejections or streams of financial data to plug profitability leaks.

Combination: Here knowledge enhancement and adaptation takes place. The tacit information is combined with explicit information to create knowledge adapted or enhanced to tackle a specific problem or about a particular project.

 

ZACK Knowledge Management Model

The model put forward by Meyer and Zack defines the various stages of a KM cycle emphasizing the “refinery”. The stages of information collection to conversion into usable knowledge have been enumerated as; acquisition, refinement, storage and retrieval, distribution and presentation or use.

Each of these stages is networked using pure logic in order to facilitate analysis of the knowledge repository and clear mapping of each of the stages of the KM cycle. Let’s look at these stages a little more closely:

 

Acquisition of Data or Information

At the information, stage focus is given to the quality and accuracy of the information. This in the context of where our materials come from and what specifications they carry can range from, scope, breadth, depth, credibility, accuracy, timeliness, relevance, cost, exclusivity etc.

Imagine buying wheat flour for making biscuits in your factory.

You have many vendors of wheat flour and each has given you a different specification and price for the same flour and delivery schedule.

It would be impossible to compare and come to a purchase decision even if quality and delivery schedules are the same. In this case, the data capture needs to ensure the information is standardized and only comparable data which is important for biscuit manufacturing is captured in a standard format.

In acquisition, the guiding principle is “Garbage In Garbage Out” which means people have to be trained to get first time right, whatever information they put into the system to get analyzable data downstream.

Refinement

After acquiring information, it has to be stored, but all information cannot be stored. First, the information has to be converted to knowledge packets. This helps storage and retrieval to become easy in the future. This process of conversion of information to knowledge packets is called refinement.

There can be many types of refinement applied to the information depending on the requirements of the organization like:

Physical, e.g., migrating from one medium or location or software to another.

Logical, e.g., restructuring the information into preset formats, indexing and integrating this information into a larger group of information to be used later.

Cleaning, e.g., getting rid of redundant information or duplication or even removing unnecessary parts of the entire information package.

Standardization, e.g., tailoring all information into predefined templates in order to make comparisons easier and improving the usability of the information.

Storage and Retrieval

The repository of information nowadays tends to be in the form of customized software, but traditional businesses still store files, folders and other printed and written information.

This information will be used downstream during the stages of product creation, e.g., information required for recipe and label creation, packaging, and claim elements, etc.

Distribution

Here the various recipients of the information are defined, and the mode in which they may receive this information is also defined, e.g., mails, prints, dossiers, etc. The timing and frequency at which they are to receive this information and even form or language may need to be specified.

Presentation

This is the final step where the hitherto fore considered “information”, is going to take the shape of “knowledge”.

Presentation of the information, depending on the complexities of the organization, has to consider the recipient. Each recipient will have particular needs for different parts of the information whole. Tailoring and packaging the information for each group of recipients increases productivity.

Feedback is generated from the final users of this knowledge in order to continuously improve the repository and eliminate redundant information or add new elements to the information capture.

The Meyer and Zack model is considered one of the best models having an end-to-end scope and covering the entire organization giving a complete picture of all the elements of a robust KM model.

 

BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS Model

( image here )

 

This model is basically a management framework that outlines “how organizations generate, maintain and expand a strategically correct stock of knowledge to create value”. All types of knowledge are recognized by this framework and may include information databases, information technologies, communication infrastructure, organizational intelligence, skills, and know-how latent at certain function etc.

The schematic diagram above shows the “Get”, “Use”, “Learn” and “Contribute” stages. These stages are linked to the strategic need of the organization.

Get Stage: Specific information required to make decisions, solve problems, or required to create new products or services, is sought or procured.

Use Stage: Here this information is combined in various ways by individuals or groups in order to make the information usable, e.g. for innovation or renovation.

Learn Stage: Whenever knowledge is used in a business environment, regardless of success or failure of the venture, new knowledge is generated. In order that the same mistakes are not repeated and to use the new knowledge to improve competitive advantage, integration of this new knowledge back into the system is fostered.

Contribute stage: Here the employee contributions are sought in order to continually update database and repositories. This is one of the ways of documenting tacit knowledge.

 

WIIG Model

 

Karl Wiig, proposed his KM model in 1993 with the claim that knowledge will be useful and valuable only if it is organized and synchronized. According to Wiig, the ultimate purpose of KM is “to make the organization intelligent-acting by facilitating the creation, accumulation, deployment, and use of quality knowledge.” Through his KM cycle, WIIG attempts to show how knowledge is built and used by individuals and organizations.

The 4 stages of WIIG’s model are:

 

Building knowledge:  from external and internal knowledge sources covering both tacit and explicit knowledge.

Holding knowledge: Storing the information in specific and easily retrievable physical formats and in people through training.

Pooling knowledge: Using appropriate KM systems to ensure cross-talk between pools or groups of experts.

Applying knowledge: Here the use of knowledge is in changing or improving the work processes so that new knowledge is automatically embedded.

 

Some of the defining characteristics of the Wiig model are

Completeness: Whether tacit or explicit there are several sources of knowledge, each with incomplete information. When building knowledge for the organization the completeness of this knowledge is an important step to utilization.

Connectedness: To understand the big picture and realize how knowledge may be used it is important that different parcels of knowledge are interconnected. This helps pull out related information quickly and assimilate in decision making.

Congruency: This is the alignment between facts and figures, concepts and content to the organization’s objectives and the utility will be directly proportional to how the knowledge becomes a crutch for problem-solving.

Purpose and Perspective: Capturing knowledge with a particular perspective is to look at the elements that may be required in future for a particular purpose. This would enable us to glean information from a particular point of view and increase relevancy to the user.

 

Conclusion

Modelling in KM is the science of pictorially depicting the KM framework that shows the integration and inter-relationships between various elements in a lucid manner. Models broadly try to capture all the different processes within an organization, the unique knowledge requirements of each of them and facilitate a system of acquiring and storing this knowledge to enable continuous learning and improvement in the functioning of the organization. A knowledge management framework is one which captures all the relevant aspects of KM with appropriate detail. As organizational needs vary, each model must choose its key focus areas and areas of redundancies so as not to waste time and resources in capturing irrelevant data.


Create a Knowledge Base for your WordPress website with Helpie  [Step By Step Tutorial]

Do you have a website for your company/organisation?

Do you have a Woocommerce store?

Do you sell any products or services online?

Then, you need a Knowledge Base / Documentation Area for your website.

Here’s why,

There are a number of topics like Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions that you just cannot skip from your website. Then, you have other information like Shipping Policy if you are shipping products, return policy and the list goes on.

Having a section of website specifically dedicated to these documentation of product/service information is crucial to

  1.  Protect yourself from legal/communication problems about your product/service
  2. Provide a better customer service to your customers and potential customers alike. Potential customers will look at the product documentation as a validation of your brand as a whole

Here’s what a recent survey revealed relating to this:

  1. 66% of the people look for warranty information before purchasing
  2. Around 50% look for shipping information from the documentation
  3. 47% look for payment information
  4. 64% people feel uncomfortable without a clear return policy
  5. 6/10 people feel concerned about credit card safety. They would not buy from you if you don’t have clear documentation regarding that ( in addition to SSL )
  6. 81% people do online research about your product and your categories. This is an excellent opportunity for your documentation to shine through. Write excellent tutorials that users would find via Google and increase your chance of getting noticed for multiple keywords related to your domain.

Now as promised, let me walk you through the step-by-step of creating your own Knowledge Base/Documentation area for your WordPress website.

Assuming you already have your own WordPress website, let me help you get started with Helpie.

Step 1:

Have a look at what Helpie can do for you and then you can purchase Helpie here. Before that you might be asked to create an account with Codecanyon/Envato ( Codecanyon’s parent company ).

Step 2:
After you have purchased the Helpie plugin, go to your User menu bar ( at the top-right corner ) -> Downloads.

  • There you will see Helpie listed along with any other themes/plugins you have purchased.
  • Click on the download button near Helpie and in the dropdown options click “Installable WordPress files only”.
  • This will download only the Helpie plugin files you need to install the plugin.

Then you can install the plugin to your WordPress website as usual. That is,

  1. Go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin
  2. Click ‘Plugins’ -> Add New Plugin ( in the dashboard menu )
  3. Upload Plugin and select the zip file you downloaded.
  4. Go to Helpie under Plugins and click Activate

You are now ready to go!

Step 3:

Helpie requires no more setting up. You can just go ahead and add new knowledge base articles.

After you have written your first article, choose a category from the right sidebar in the same Add article page.

Then publish your article.

Step 4:

Customising your main page.

If you want your documentation to reflect your brand’s styling, then you can make use of Helpie Style settings to customise your Main Page.

Hero section:
The Hero section is your brand’s frontier within the knowledge base. Here are some ways to customize your Hero section to truly reflect your brand.

  • You can change the default title/subtitle and add your own title/subtitle.
  • You can change the background color or even add a gradient color to your background.
  • Choose from our collection of vector images to match the mood. For example, you can choose our desk image for your team’s internal documentation.

Categories Listing section:

Depending on the purpose of your knowledge base/documentation and how you intend to use it, you might want different templates for how your categories are listed in your Knowledge Base’s main page.

Helpie comes with 3 templates which you can choose from: Boxed, Boxed1, and Modern Categories Listing templates.

You can now add more articles or check out the various features of Helpie and use them as you fit.


Create a Wiki website with a WordPress Wiki Plugin / Theme in 2018

There are 2 easy ways to do this: Using a WordPress Wiki plugin and using a WordPress Wiki Theme.

Announcement: If you are interested in a wiki, you might want to try the awesome, Helpie KB Wiki plugin right now.

 

Are you looking for tools to help you build a modern Wiki website?

Do you want something more easy to use and powerful than the traditional wiki software?

Here’s my guide to help you create an awesome wiki website with WordPress.

Wait. Can you create a Wiki with WordPress?

Yes, you can. You can use WordPress and even get help from some WordPress plugins to create your own wiki website.

Who needs a Wiki website anyway?

If you want to collaborate on content in any way, you need a Wiki. You might want to create a wiki for a game, your favorite sports team, content sharing within your organization, etc.

You could even want to create a private/personal wiki for yourself to collect and organize your learning.

So what should you look for in a Wiki software? Let me walk you through just that.

 

Must-Have Features:

 

Frontend Editing:

The ability to edit content from the frontend or the same page as the content is very important for a wiki. This is where most people who try WordPress give up because by default WordPress does not come with front-end editing.

But, with Helpie plugin installed to your WordPress website, you have the frontend editing feature that makes Wiki what it is.

 

Access Restriction:

You might want only your fellow Starwars fans to access your Starwars wiki or you can allow only your company’s employees to access your company’s wiki.

This is where Access Restriction features become a necessity.

With Helpie plugin + WordPress, restrict access to specific people ( by WordPress’ user roles ) to your entire wiki. You can also restrict access to specific user roles for each topic.

There’s also access restriction that works by password protection, ie. you create passwords for specific topics and send them to people who you want to access those wiki articles under those topics.

 

Topics:

Any properly organized wiki should have topics under which articles are organized. The wiki also should have topics with subtopics under them when necessary.

You could do this well in WordPress based wikis.

 

Table of Contents:

To make navigation easy on your wiki website, you can use a site-wide Table of Contents in your sidebar.

Your Table of Contents should let you show all your topics and subtopics with corresponding links. This will make it super easy to navigate the entire wiki.

 

Rich Text Editor:

Rich Text is the way of the modern web. Almost every category of web tools now feature rich-text editors, but some traditional wiki software still have not-so-rich rich text editors.

But while choosing a wiki platform, you should definitely expect a rich-text editor.

This is another place where WordPress shines.

 

Rich Media:

The Rich Text Editor is incomplete without the ability to insert rich media files like images, videos, gifs, etc.

Not to worry, WordPress + Helpie is definitely the best way to go if you care about rich media.

You can upload media to your WordPress directly or use videos from a third-party like Youtube or Vimeo. If you are using a shared hosting service and expect a high volume of traffic, I would recommend hosting your videos on third-party platforms like Vimeo or Youtube.

 

Wiki Front Page:

Creating a clean, clear and organized front page for your wiki is very important. This is also where you can brand your wiki in a way that stays in your audience’s mind.

Your wiki WordPress plugin/theme should have a way for you to brand your wiki, have a simple and organized listing of topics and most importantly a search tool that’s located prominently in your front page.


Feedback System:

Your users should be able to share their feedback on your articles. Feedback could be

  • Comments
  • Votes

Your wiki’s feedback system can be used even by your fans who do not contribute to your wiki. Feedback in the form of comments or votes is an easier way for them to communicate and contribute to the discussion in the article.

 

Search:

The more your wiki grows, the more prominent the search feature is going to be.

This is why your search needs to be powerful and super fast. These are some of the must-have features for your wiki’s search:

Live Search Suggestions:

No one wants to type in their entire search term. If your wiki’s search can auto-suggest as they type in the keyword, it’s a good experience for your user. Users nowadays expect this by default as it’s how all popular websites including Google work.

Search Speed:

Your wiki’s search should be able to look through thousands of articles and return the correct search suggestions and results within a second. All this with hundreds or thousands of users searching through at the same time.

Partial Matching:

People don’t often remember the exact keyword or phrase to search for. That’s why we need our search to return suggestions and results based on a partial match of the keywords in the content.

Keyword Weighted results:
Somewhere the simple match might not return the correct result, this is why you need a search engine that can weigh the keyword usage in the content and turn the most important results first.

These search features might not be something that’s part of a visible element in your wiki, but nevertheless, these features make a robust wiki.

 

Integration with Drag and Drop Page Builders:
The WordPress is rich with powerful page builder plugins that make your inner designer come alive.

To fully utilize the benefits that come from page builders, you should choose WordPress Wiki Plugins that are compatible with these page builders.

Helpie is compatible with almost every major page builders. If you want my recommendation for a page builder, I suggest Elementor.


Best WordPress Wiki Plugins:

 

Helpie WordPress Plugin:

 

First comes a little shameless self-promotion. Helpie is Pauple’s Knowledge Base / Wiki plugin. It has got you covered with the basic features that you need in a Wiki plugin.

It has all the must-have features mentioned above.

The only place it lags is the revision system for wikis. This is where we are working on right now. You can use WordPress’s default revision system to tackle this as of now. Or you can use other WordPress revision plugins to handle that.

 

UserPress Wiki:

 

UserPress Wiki is another WordPress Wiki Plugin that has some small use cases covered.

Major Features:

Iframe Preview:
Get a preview of another related wiki page without browsing to / opening that page.

User Restrictions:
Create basic user access restriction settings.

Archives & Sorting:
Sort and organize your wiki by categories, sub-categories, by alphabetical order, by date, etc.

Track Changes:
Track the changes to wiki articles.

Flags:
Flag the wiki article to show if something is incomplete or incorrect.

History and Revision Notes:
See the history and revision notes of the wiki.

Live Search:
Get Live search suggestions as you type in your search term.

 

Pressapp’s Knowledge Base | Wiki WordPress Plugin:


Pressapp’s Knowledge Base | Wiki plugin has features that are good for a Knowledge Base and somewhat basic wiki websites. Even though it’s not enough to run a proper wiki, it suffices for some people’s basic usage.

 

Major Features:

  • Live article search
  • Drag and Drop article reorder
  • Article voting
  • Layout options
  • List articles shortcodes
  • Article and category widgets
  • Responsive Design

    Special mentions :
    Yada Wiki 

Best WordPress Wiki Themes:

Most WordPress Wiki Themes you see in the market are Knowledge Base / Wiki themes, so they are suited for a Wiki website in some cases, but in certain aspects like frontend editing/revision interface, they might not be.

 

Knowledge Base – A WordPress Wiki Theme

Knowledge Base is the name of this WordPress Wiki Theme. This is a clean and feature-rich Wiki theme built with Twitter Bootstrap. This theme is used in around 700 websites.

Major Features:

  • Responsive Layout
  • 4 Color Skins
  • BBPress Integration to support forums
  • Ajax Based Live Search

HelpGuru – A Self-Service Knowledge Base WordPress Theme

HelpGuru is one of the more popular Knowledge Base WordPress themes from Herothemes. It’s being used around 2,300 folks and has an average rating of 4.7/5.

 

Major Features:

  • Live Search
  • Article Feedback
  • Content Ordering
  • Article Attachment
  • Widgets Included
  • Configure With Ease
  • SEO Optimised
  • Translation Ready
  • Multi-Language Support
  • Premium Support

HelpGuru also has considerable integrations with WordPress’ customizer to help you customize your front page with ease.

KnowHow – A Knowledge Base WordPress Theme

 

KnowHow is another WordPress Knowledge Base Theme from Herothemes. This can well work as a substitute to a WordPress wiki theme. This is the most popular WordPress Knowledge Base / Wiki themes in ThemeForest which over 4,000 people using it. This comes with a few good WordPress wiki templates as well.

Major Features:

  • Provide Instant Answers
  • FAQ Page Included
  • SEO Optimised
  • Translation Ready
  • Multi-Language Support

There are other free WordPress wiki themes as well, but these are the themes that are well suitable for people who are serious about making a good Wiki website.


Importance of💡 Knowledge Management and Why You Need It

knowledge-management-wordpress

☄☄☄ There’s no way to understate the importance of Knowledge Management in the 21st-century organization.

If you are a business person, management student or someone who is involved in a business organisation or a non-profit organization, you might have heard the term Knowledge Management (KM). So, what is KM? If you search the internet for answers you get different definitions in each site, that is because there is no single definition for KM. Different organizations will continue to use different definitions of KM because their value chains benefit from different types of knowledge. Based on the type of knowledge that an organization intends on leveraging, there will be different approaches and definitions to KM.

KM is the process of creating and sharing knowledge thereby, maximizing their potential which makes them intangible assets of the organization. KM is about making significant knowledge available to the necessary people.

In his famous quote, Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, once said: “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”

In other words, knowledge management makes it easier to find the information or the people who hold the information you need.

A rough idea of KM

In earlier days, people used to learn cooking by reading recipe books. Tough people gained knowledge of the recipes they could not replicate the original taste of the dish. Nowadays, we have all the cooking videos on the internet and we could have better knowledge of how the materials are prepared and handled. But this still does not ensure that you could reproduce the original taste 100%. This is because the dishes depends in all of the practices of cooking, starting from hand-picking each of the vegetables, chopping techniques, handling the utensils and even the knowledge of the spread of heat in that utensil. If this complete knowledge is shared it could ensure that the taste if the dish remains unchanging even though cooked by many other individuals.

This provision is what knowledge management provides and in this Information era, KM can be crucial when it comes to large organizations which have a bulk knowledge in the form of experience and ideas, needs to chose what is important for innovation or for the growth of the company. Also when it comes to small organisations or start-ups, one significant piece of knowledge needs to be successfully transferred so that it can continue to exist.

 

Why you need a KM?

The importance of Knowledge Management cannot be understated. It can help any organisation to grow and to evolve. These are listed below:

 

Wilful nature of KM

The best aspect to KM is that it encourages individuals to share their knowledge willfully. This knowledge can be found in various methods starting from storytelling. There are companies which have made the submission of contents mandatory. They have created shared knowledge repositories, such as databases. But because of their mandatory nature, there is a lot of other supplementary information which is lost and there is bulk information collected which could be considered as Junk.

 

Network effect

KM could create a ‘network’ effect by allowing to connect people with the purpose of sharing knowledge, making that knowledge more easily accessible. Imagine that there are various groups of people working in a company like Developers, Testers, Marketing and Customer relations. The knowledge that is possessed by each of this group, on the whole, helps the success of the company. The communication that is between each of these departments is of relevance to all other departments. KM devises a way to best transfer this communicated knowledge to relevant people, so as to be able to take advantage of it or to ensure that relevant knowledge is not lost.

 

Knowledge as an Asset

KM is useful because it places a focus on knowledge as an actual asset, rather than as something intangible and considers intellectuality as a capital in organizations. Let’s say that a person has gained a lot of knowledge through his experience in a certain area of a profession and wants to pass this knowledge to others, most probably his successors. Here the knowledge in his mind must be communicated and the person not only should understand it, but also internalize it so that they can effectively use this knowledge.

 

Stimulates a Cultural change

Actively managing organizational knowledge can also stimulate cultural change and innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas. KM could provide a platform to interact. Interactions would take place in a structured process by giving the members a free and open atmosphere to explain their thoughts and ideas. This would create an atmosphere for the all of members to feel belonged to the organisation and mutual respect and understanding towards their leaders.

For example, GE (General Electric) an American multinational corporation has created a Change Acceleration Process (CAP) program which includes management development, business-unit leadership, and focused workshops. CAP was created to not only convey the latest knowledge to up-and-coming managers but also open up dialogue, instill corporate values, and stimulate cultural change.

 

Failures and Learning routine

knowledge-management-learning

To move ahead, one must often first look behind” and  “A productive failure is better than an unproductive success” is some of the words of wise men. KM provides a way to investigate the failures in order to identify the shortcomings and reasons for failures in organisations. It helps to share success and failures in the organization to create a culture of mutual trust and belief. Blaming others for failures leaves less chance for learning.

For example, the United States Army has created a learning organisation called the After Action Reviews (AARs) to continuously assess their units and to look for ways to improve. After every important activity or event, Army teams review assignments, identify successes and failures, and seek ways to perform better the next time.

 

Innovation and the Bigger picture

knowledge-management

A systematic creation and transfer of knowledge could trigger the innovation process. Imagine knowledge as Dots and KM as the network that connects the Dots. This network can help to identify the picture that remained hidden under the Dots. This could help you to understand and identify the potential markets which were right under your nose but you failed to notice because of the ignorance to see the bigger picture. KM makes room for active experimentation which usually does not affect the live system resulting in minimal consequence damage and provides a platform to understand cause and effect events. In other words, KM increases efficiency and productivity and allows you to work better, reducing the tendency to “reinvent the wheel.”

 

Increase in Customer Satisfaction

KM facilitates ways to speed up access to information and this is very useful for the sharing of knowledge in cross-collaboration projects help to increase the value offered to customers. The organization is able to give faster answers or shorten the time it takes to improve a product or service. This leads to better customer satisfaction.

 

Many companies have invested in KM systems

Many of the multinational companies have already invested KM systems. For example, GE (General Electric) has a Corporate Executive Council (CEC) to help executives cut through the noise, share information, and improve their decision-making. The CEC is composed of the heads of GE’s fourteen major businesses and the two-day sessions are forums for sharing best practices, accelerating progress, and discussing successes, failures, and experiences. KMWorld which is a magazine for articles on KM has released 100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management 2017 gives you the list of companies that have implemented KM systems in their organisations.

 

KM is the Future

Looking at the way the world is growing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is obvious that AI’s would replace most of the work done by humans in the future. Assuming that they could have equal access to the knowledge of the world. Their only difference could be in their KM system which determines how an AI would effectively use this knowledge.

 

The information mentioned here is just the layer of cream on a cake. There is lots of research done in KM and many models of KM also have come. The fact that KM is a necessity is irrefutable. Both now and for the future!

If you want to take your organization to the next level, I welcome you to try Helpie Knowledge Base plugin for WordPress.


Create a WordPress Helpdesk [ Guide + Plugins + Themes ]

Looking for a way to build a great customer support Helpdesk from your WordPress website?

No idea where to start?

In this article, I will take you through the must-have features and some advanced features that can be a powerful asset to have in a WordPress Helpdesk plugin.

And then, I will review a few WordPress Helpdesk plugins that match our criteria, at-least those that are closest.

You probably know what a Helpdesk is, but just for standardization, let me clearly define a Helpdesk in the context of popular use.

What’s a Helpdesk?

 

create-wordpress-helpdesk

A Helpdesk is a portal/website/part of a website which your users can get help from.

If you are selling products on your website, your customers would most definitely expect support for those products.

In fact, you can have a Helpdesk for any product or service that you sell.

A Helpdesk / Help center / Live Help / Customer Support or whatever you call it, should ultimately be about providing customer support.

Before we start, let me define a few terms from the context of the WordPress plugins ecosystem:

A WordPress Helpdesk plugin is supposed to be a plugin with the entire feature set of Support Ticketing, Knowledge Base and also a little more ( keep reading to see what other features a Helpdesk might have ).

But, most plugins called WordPress Helpdesk plugin have either Support Ticket or Knowledge Base features but not both.

A WordPress Help center plugin is the same as Helpdesk, and this term is commonly used by WordPress Support Ticket plugins.

A WordPress Customer Support system is the same as Helpdesk / Help center.

A WordPress Support Ticketing system plugin is just as it says, just the Support Ticketing features in a plugin.

A WordPress Knowledge Base Wiki plugin is a plugin that can be used to create a self-help portal/product documentation section as part of your Helpdesk. It could also be used to create a public/private Knowledge Base for varied purposes or a Wiki website.

A WordPress Product Documentation plugin is almost similar to a Knowledge Base plugin with mostly the same features, maybe lesser features. But, used with product documentation in mind. You can even use a Knowledge Base plugin to create a product documentation as mentioned.

A WordPress Support plugin usually mean a support ticketing system plugin.

If you are interested in any of these, you are in the right place.

Keep this in mind:

In terms of functionality, a Helpdesk should typically consist of a minimum of

  • Support Ticketing system
  • Knowledge Base / Documentation system

And there could also be

  • FAQ section
  • Forums
  • Live Support / Help Chat

Now that we have clearly established what a Helpdesk is, let me go through each part in detail.

KNOWLEDGE BASE:

A Knowledge Base is a part of any good Helpdesk system. You can use it as a self-help portal for your customers.

If you want a Knowledge Base as part of your Helpdesk, you will find this article on WordPress Knowledge Base plugins useful.

SUPPORT TICKET SYSTEM:

Now, we can talk about the Support Ticketing part of the Helpdesk.

The support ticket system is a mission-critical component of your customer support, and so you need a good set of criteria for choosing a WordPress Support Ticket plugin.

Who needs a Support Ticket System?

woocommerce-helpdesk

Woocommerce website owners:
If you have a Woocommerce website and you sell products, then you definitely need a support ticket system.

Your customer might have issues with payment, delivery or the product itself.

And there’s no better way to handle, track and resolve all your customer’s needs than using a solid WordPress support ticket plugin.

Tech Support for digital products:
If you sell digital products, you can also use a WordPress Support Ticket to provide tech support/basic customer support for your digital products.

This is great for people selling WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or any other themes or plugins.

There are many other digital products which you may be selling, but the bottom-line is if you have a WordPress website, you can use one of the awesome support ticket plugins to provide tech support.

Others who might want a support ticket system:

  • Customer care agencies
  • Support outsourcing/handling agencies
  • Call centers

Have I missed anyone? Let me know in the comments if you are looking for a support ticket solution that falls in any other use case.

Must-Have Features:
There are certain basic features that your support ticket system must have. You might not need these features when you get started but you will, eventually.

It’s better to start with a really robust plugin instead of trying to switch after some time.

Remember this while you use a plugin,

Customer Service should not be a department, it should be the entire company.

-Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

 

Feature 1: Email Support

email-support

Over time, there have been many channels and platforms where support is taking place, but email has remained consistent and a preferred channel for customer support.

This is not going to change for a long, long time.

Remember the predictions about the death of email?

Just not happening.

David Newman said,

“ Email has an ability that many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale “

For those reasons, your WordPress support ticket software/plugin should integrate well with email support.

Things to look for:

i) People can send email to your support email address, and that gets forward to your server and added to the support tickets list correctly.

ii) You and your customers should be able to reply to the support email thread, and that should also be synced to your support tickets.

Feature 2: User Roles

user-roles-wordpress

The Support Ticket WordPress plugin that you choose should have the basic roles that a customer support system cannot work without.

The must-have roles are Admin, Customer Support Agent and the Customer roles.

The Manager/Supervisor role is also used in almost every medium-sized support team.

Having the option of adding more roles and specifying specific permissions for those roles is a great feature to have.

The plugin’s features should be closely integrated with WordPress’ capabilities to have a smooth workflow that can integrate well with other WordPress User Role Editor plugins. This means that the permission and user role creation can be done with other plugins.

 

Feature 3: Ticket Management

wordpress-tickets-sorting

You probably know this:

Managing tickets is the biggest source of headache for customer support managers and support agents.

Consider that when you choose a Support Ticket plugin.

You will definitely need ticket management features for,

Filtering tickets based on customer, agent, ticket status, department or any other customer meta values. The filtering options could vary based on who is using it. Different roles like admin, manager, support agent and customer might have different filtering options based on their need.

Sorting tickets should work just as well as the filtering tickets options.

Admin actions that let the admin have control over the entire customer support system. Some actions that admin should be able to perform are adding new managers or agents, changing user’s role, etc.

Manager actions that let the support manager control what happens to his/her department. For example, the manager should be able to get notified if a ticket is unanswered for 24 hours.

Support agents and customers also should have specific actions that they are able to perform on what they are permitted to manage.

Feature 4: Reporting:

wordpress-tickets-report

If you really want to create an excellent customer service setup, then customer support reporting is super important.

You only improve, what you measure.

Here’s what Zapier recommends that you measure:

Volume:

  • Total Conversations
  • Total Replies
  • Total Volume by Hours or Working Hours

Response Time:

  • Average Response Time
  • Time to First Response
  • Response Time Bands

Happiness:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • In-Signature Happiness ratings

Product Trends:

  • Label/Tag Data

Having a reporting system that shows you the vital data of the working of your customer support is a powerful tool in your bag.

You can use this information to drastically improve your customer’s experience, money spent on support and of course, your bottom line.

 

Feature 5: Custom Fields for Ticket Creation Process

 

custom-fields-wordpress

Not every business is the same, neither is their customer support requirements.

Exactly why your support ticket request forms need to have fields that are specific to your organization.

Plugins that allow you to add your own custom fields are the way to go.

Custom fields are an excellent way to get more information on the customer’s issue.

The more information you get right at the start of the support process, the easier and quicker your support team can resolve the issue.

 

Feature 6: Search

 

search-tickets-wordpress

Search is super important for finding the tickets you are looking for faster.

Especially when you have hundreds of tickets, your search will make a lot of difference in your support team’s ability to find and resolve tickets faster.

The search will also be uniquely useful to administrators and managers for two reasons:

Looking through tickets to assign, take over or resolve
Look for tickets with common keywords to add to the Knowledge Base

 

Feature 7: Frontend Support

The issue I have noticed with a lot of WordPress Support Ticket plugins is that their customers have to access the WordPress Dashboard to create tickets or respond to replies to the support ticket.

This might work for some. But in general, this is not a great experience for your customers.

Never ever do this to your premium customers.

Or you risk damaging your brand.

I recommend that you choose a WordPress plugin that has a clean frontend interface to handle your entire process and has a good user experience.

 

Advanced Features:

 

Feature 8: Macros

 

Macros are powerful tools for automating various parts of your customer support process.

In essence, Macros are a set of actions that modify the values in a support ticket based on specific conditions that you specify.

For example,

In an enterprise support software like Freshdesk or Zendesk, you can create a macro to send an automated, quick, personal response when a customer creates a new ticket.

 

Feature 9: Access Restriction

access-restrict-wordpress

You probably want only your customers to create a support ticket.

To make sure that only they can, and others don’t waltz right in and submit random tickets, you need an access restriction feature.

One way to go is to use another plugin like MemberPress to control access by memberships.

But if your plugin has in-built access restriction that’s specific to your need that’s even better. But that’s rare.

One final advice,

If you provide premium support, it would recommend a paid support ticket system who provide quality support.

 

Best Knowledge Base Plugins:

 

Recommendation #1:

helpie-preview-image

 

I can wholeheartedly recommend Helpie KB plugin for your Knowledge Base part of the Helpdesk. Not just because it’s ours, but it’s something we have built with the consideration of what a Knowledge Base plugin should be like.

Recommendation #2:

 

herothemes-plugin
Herotheme’s Knowledge Base plugin is another popular name in the Knowledge Base category, but it’s pretty costly at $129.

 

Best Knowledge Base Themes:

 

KnowHow:

knowhow-wordpress-theme

 

KnowHow is a Knowledge Base Theme by Herothemes, and it has over 4,000 sales. If you just need a basic theme for your Knowledge Base, you can use this.

Features:

Live Ajax search: KnowHow WordPress Theme has a sleek live search like the other themes from Herothemes.

Sidebar Navigation: The KnowHow Theme has a sidebar with the Knowledge Base categories and makes for an easy navigation of your entire Knowledge Base.

Multilingual Support: The KnowHow Theme has multilingual support and is compatible with WPML Multilingual Plugin.

FAQ: You also get the option to add an FAQ page to your website with KnowHow theme’s FAQ feature.

Also, you can reorder FAQ items, add a sidebar for FAQ a live search the FAQ items as well.

 

HelpGuru:

 

helpguru-wordpress-theme

 

HelpGuru is a little more advanced WordPress Knowledge Base theme by the same author, Herothemes. The design is a bit more modern, and it comes with much better integration with customizer that helps you customize the appearance.

A lot of big names use Herothemes’ themes.

The list includes Ghost CMS, Restaurant.com, OptimizePress, CrazyEgg, Procurify, Clutch.

Features:

Live search: Search your knowledge base using an Ajax based live search.

Article feedback: Get feedback on your articles to improve your articles to better serve your customer’s queries or correct a mistake.

Content ordering: Use a drag and drop builder to reorder your content.

Article Attachments: Add downloadable files to your Knowledge Base articles.

Widgets included: You can use HelpGuru’s widgets to add articles, categories anywhere on your website.

Easy configuration: HelpGuru has a good set of admin panel options to let you config your Knowledge Base website with ease.

 

Best Support Ticketing Plugins:

 

Awesome Support WordPress Plugin:

awesome-support-plugin

 

Awesome Support is one of the most popular WordPress Support Ticket plugins currently and is used on 6,000+ websites. It’s a free plugin with a lot of paid pro-extensions.

Pros:

Email: It has some good email support features that let your customers submit tickets via email. Reply to emails by your agents and your clients is also possible.

Custom Fields: You also have the option to add custom fields to the ticket submission form. This is a real plus.

Sorting and Filtering: There are some nice sorting and filtering options that help you find those tickets that you are looking for.

See all features and try the free version here >>

 

WP Support Plus Responsive Ticket System:

 

wp-support-plus-responsive-ticket-system

WP Support Plus is being used on over 10,000 websites currently, and it’s easily the most popular plugin on WordPress.org.

Pros:

Frontend Ticket Management: WP Support has a better frontend ticket management than the Awesome Support plugin. The filtering, sorting, etc. are much better too.

User Roles: The WP Support Plus WordPress plugin has a supervisor role (aka Support Manager role ) for managing the agents.

Advanced Filtering: With the WP Support Plus plugin, you can do advanced filtering and also save the filtering options.

So the next time you login in, your favorite filter is already set.

See all features and try the free version here >>

 

Sola Support Tickets:

 

sola-support-plugin

Sola Support Tickets is a relatively new WordPress Support Tickets plugin but has a couple of interesting features in the pro version that you might like. The pro version is also relatively cheaper than Awesome Support’s or WP Support Plus’ pro versions.

Pros:

Macros: Using Sola’s macros, you can create custom responses to your customer’s tickets. This is a standout feature in the Sola Support Tickets. But this is a premium feature.

Departments: Sola WordPress Support Ticket plugin gives you the ability to assign tickets to different departments and its agents. This is also a premium feature.

See all features and try the free version here >>

SupportEzzy – WordPress Ticket System:

 

supportezzy-wordpress-plugin

 

SupportEzzy is the only premium plugin in this list, but its very affordable and gives you good value for your money.

Pros:

Vue.js App: What this means for you is that your frontend where your customers manage the plugin is a pretty robust ‘app’ in its own right.

It’s a dynamic frontend app that updates and works without the need to refresh the page. Vue.js is the javascript frontend framework technology that’s increasingly preferred by standalone app developers.

Integrations: Another thing that sets SupportEzzy apart is its integration with other platforms/plugins that you could be using,

  • Envato
  • Gumroad
  • Woocommerce
  • Skype

WSDesk – WordPress Helpdesk  Plugin:

 

WSDesk is another freemium plugin with amazing premium features. The premium version of the plugin is definitely among the best in terms of features. The plugin is also updated frequently with new features and bug fixes.

Pros:

Triggers and Automation (aka Macros): This is one of the best features of WSDesk which is somewhat lacking in the other plugins. It saves a lot of your time and energy and lets you sit back while you automate most important aspects of your customer support.

Auto Suggestion System: Autosuggestion system helps you reduce support time by redirecting users to your knowledge base articles.

Here’s a list of the other premium features of WSDesk as well:

  • Auto Tagging And Assigning
  • Auto Suggestion System
  • Ticket Custom Views
  • Triggers & Automation
  • Automated Emails
  • Customer Feedback Survey
  • Agent’s Satisfaction Rating
  • WSDesk Backup & Restore
  • WooCommerce Fields & Reports
  • One Year Support & Updates
  • Email Support System
  • Ajax Based System
  • Wonderful UI
  • Agents Reports
  • Customizable Ticket Fields
  • Agents Management
  • Customizable Support Form
  • Attachment support
  • Import Zendesk Tickets
  • Unlimited Agents
  • Reporting and Analysing Tool

Apart from these standout support ticketing plugins for WordPress, I have to mention some other notable plugins.

Other notable plugins:

  • Wphelpdesk
  • JS support ticket
  • Zendesk for WordPress
  • Freshdesk for WordPress

 

Best Support Ticketing Themes:

These are currently the most promising WordPress Support Ticket themes.

One point to note is that most of the themes in this category promote themselves as WordPress Helpdesk theme, but only a few are truly that.

 

TicketLab by BigBangThemes

 

ticketlab-wordpress-support-ticket-plugin

TicketLab is a premium WordPress Support Ticket / Helpdesk theme that lets you run a support ticket website by yourself.

Pros:

Clean Interface: TicketLab has a clean interface for your customer support portal. Both your clients and your agents have access to the frontend dashboard.

This is a much better experience for everyone.

Integrations: TicketLab has a couple of very useful integrations, Trello and Github.

This is excellent for support teams that use Trello to track bugs and issues. And also the development teams that use Github to develop, track issues, commit and manage releases.

There are also integrations with Envato, Zendesk and Visual Composer that might be worth looking into.

 

Helpdesk by JanStudio

helpdesk-wordpress-theme

 

To clarify, Helpdesk here is the name of the theme. Helpdesk calls itself the WordPress Support Center theme. It’s a premium theme as well.

Pros:

BBPress Compatible: Helpdesk Theme is compatible with BBPress, that makes it easier for you to integrate an entirely new facet of customer support.

You now have Ticketing + Forums.

Envato Integration: If you sell products on Envato, then this theme can help you verify your customers with the Envato purchase code validation API.

Important Note:
The reviewed features are just the unique and important aspects that caught our eyes. Please read the products’ documentation or try their demo to get a full view of the product.

If this article was helpful or if you have any questions or something to share, please comment below.

Bonus: Get a free demo of Helpie Knowledge Base plugin now