AI Knowledge Base: What It Is & How to Use One in 2024

January 19, 2024
Time:
8
mins
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‍Read this article to learn exactly what an AI knowledge base is, how it works, plus the top tips for using these systems to enhance customer support.

Whether you’re excited or sceptical about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), there’s no denying it’s transformed the business landscape.

In fact, 83% of companies report that AI advancements have become a top priority for their business strategy.

When used effectively, AI solutions can help businesses and contact centres become more efficient, cost-effective, and productive.

They can also augment customer support by making service faster, highly accurate, and more accessible.

One example of these emerging technologies is the AI knowledge base.

With an AI-powered knowledge base, businesses can optimise performance while delivering an improved and more consistent customer experience.

But how exactly can you achieve these outcomes with an AI knowledge base? Do these AI tools and buzzwords really live up to the hype?

In this article, we’ll aim to explore and answer these very questions. We’ll cover:

  • Knowledge base defined
  • What is an artificial intelligence knowledge base, and how does it work?
  • How to use an AI-powered knowledge base for customer support (top tips)

TL;DR

Traditional knowledge bases are a static hub of information. AI-powered knowledge bases, by contrast, are dynamic tools powered by natural language processing(NLP), machine learning (ML), and generative AI (GenAI).

How to use an AI knowledge base for customer support (top tips):

  • Knowledge base content: Populate your AI knowledge base with comprehensive content, such as FAQs, product details, troubleshooting guides, policies, multimedia, etc.
  • Leveraging AI chatbots: Integrate a chatbot with an AI knowledge base for enhanced accuracy and a humanised bot experience.
  • Use across channels: Extend AI knowledge base tools to live chat and social messaging. Utilise systems like Google Agent Assist for real-time guidance, improving customer support.
  • Customer feedback: Collect feedback post-AI interactions for continuous improvement. Implement feedback forms that customers can submit to help you evaluate performance and enhance the knowledge base.
  • Regular maintenance: Update and maintain knowledge base content regularly for accuracy. Conduct audits, monitor queries, and involve support teams to fill information gaps.
human hand reaching out to AI robot hand for help

What is a knowledge base?

In the context of customer service, a knowledge base serves as a comprehensive database of information that assists both consumers and agents alike.

Essentially, a knowledge base is a centralised hub containing a wealth of information in the form of articles, guides, FAQs, and troubleshooting resources.

Imagine it as a virtual encyclopaedia tailored to your specific organisation - including your branding, products/services, company policies, processes, etc.

For customers, a knowledge base can serve as a self-help trove, offering instant access to help and solutions without the need for human assistance.

For support teams, knowledge bases provide a database of information, helping agents find answers and solutions for customer queries.

customer service agent using laptop

What is an artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge base?

An AI knowledge base is also a repository of company information - but one that’s integrated with AI solutions.

While traditional knowledge bases are static archives of information, their AI-powered counterparts are dynamic systems that can perform tasks and evolve over time.

By leveraging artificial intelligence, an AI knowledge base can:

  • Process and understand the inputted content
  • Retrieve relevant information for agents and customers
  • Interpret customer queries and generate accurate, on-brand responses
  • Automate customer support requests and repetitive tasks

This takes the power of a knowledge base to the next level, turning what was once just a collection of information into an intelligent tool that can actively assist customers and agents

The role of natural language processing, machine learning, and generative AI

AI knowledge bases work by using a combination of natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), and/or generative AI (GenAI).

These AI technologies serve different purposes - let’s break them down:

  1. Natural language processing: NLP allows an AI knowledge base to understand human language, including words/phrases, sentences, prose, context, and linguistic nuances. This allows the AI to process text/written content (e.g. articles, documents, FAQs) and extract key information. It also helps the system interpret user queries expressed in natural/human language, making it easier for customers and agents to interact with it.
  2. Machine learning: ML enables an AI knowledge base to be trained by learning from the data/information you put into it. With machine learning algorithms, the AI can recognise patterns in the data, make predictions, and improve its performance over time.
  3. Generative AI: GenAI is used by AI knowledge bases to create new output/content based on the information it’s given (i.e. the data in the knowledge base, plus the user query and interaction context). This means that the system can go beyond predefined responses, generating highly detailed and accurate outputs in a conversational manner. It also makes the AI more versatile, giving it the ability to comprehend and respond to a wider range of queries/inputs.

In summary, NLP helps AI knowledge bases to understand language, ML means they can learn/adapt, and GenAI gives them the power to create advanced, human-like outputs.

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How to use AI knowledge bases for customer support: Top tips

Now that we’ve covered the basics of AI-powered knowledge bases, let’s dive into the top tips for using them to enhance customer support.

1. Ensure comprehensive knowledge base content

The effectiveness of an AI knowledge base is determined largely by what’s put into it - so it’s crucial that you input a variety of relevant data and information.

What’s included in an AI knowledge base might vary depending on your industry, but the following components are a good place to start:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Compile a comprehensive list of common customer questions and their answers. This helps the AI provide quick responses to repetitive queries/issues.
  • Product/service information: Include detailed resources covering everything customers and agents might need to know about your products/services. This should cover features, specifications, updates, usage instructions, user manuals, how-to guides, and any other relevant details.
  • Troubleshooting guides: Provide step-by-step guides or support articles for troubleshooting problems that are encountered frequently.
  • Technical documentation: For more complex products or services, you should include technical support documentation that delves deeper into specifications, configurations, and advanced troubleshooting.
  • Policies & procedures: Document your company policies, warranty information, return/exchange policies, customer support processes, and any other procedures that customers or agents may need to know.
  • Multimedia content: In addition to text-based content, you might want to include images, videos, or other visual elements within your knowledge base. Visual aids can be particularly helpful for explaining complicated solutions or information.
  • Website content: Some AI-powered knowledge bases allow you to input information directly from your business website. With Talkative, for example, you can do this by simply copying and pasting URLs from your site. From there, the system can learn from your website content and branding, plus any other knowledge base resources you import.
  • Metadata & tags: These play a key role in organising and categorising a knowledge base, helping the AI to retrieve and present relevant information quickly. For instance, if a customer asks about returning a product, the system may respond using resources tagged with ‘returns’, ‘exchanges’, or ‘refund policy’.

By incorporating all these elements into your AI knowledge base, you’ll create an extensive and effective resource that can provide the support your customers and agents need.

happy agents in contact centre

2. Leverage AI chatbots

Conversational AI has significantly advanced the capabilities of chatbots, making them a valuable tool for digital customer service.

Instead of relying on a limited selection of pre-scripted responses, AI bots can now serve as virtual agents and AI assistants - capable of human-like and contextual customer conversations.

One of the ways chatbots do this is through integration with an AI-powered knowledge base.

With Talkative’s GenAI Chatbot, for example, you can train a bot by integrating your business’ knowledge base articles and resources.

And, as we mentioned above, you can quickly and easily import URLs from your company website, allowing the bot to learn from your site content.

Once trained, the chatbot uses a generative AI model (OpenAI) to generate responses to customer messages based on the dataset you’ve provided.

In turn, the support your chatbot provides becomes more detailed, precise, and humanised, reducing the risk of your bot being unhelpful, inaccurate, or too “bot-like”.

It also means you can rest easy knowing your chatbot can deliver highly accurate and on-brand outputs - thereby mitigating chatbot limitations.

AI chatbot benefits

3. Use across multiple channels

It’s not just chatbots that can benefit from AI knowledge base tools - this technology can also be integrated into other contact channels like live chat and social messaging.

Take Google Agent Assist as an example.

Google Agent Assist is an AI system that can offer real-time guidance and recommendations to agents during chat/messaging interactions with customers.

It works by using your website knowledge base plus previous interaction transcripts to provide a selection of relevant response suggestions for each customer message.

Although Agent Assist isn’t technically an AI knowledge base itself, the fact that it’s trained with knowledge base data and can use this information to generate responses makes it an extremely useful knowledge base AI tool.

Agent Assist can use your knowledge base dataset to provide the following types of responses:

  • Article suggestions: A link to a relevant knowledge base article or document is provided, which can then be shared with the customer as a resource to help them resolve their query.
  • FAQ Assist: If a customer asks an FAQ, the answer is automatically imported from your website and appears as a response suggestion.
  • Smart Reply: AI-generated responses are suggested based on the current conversation and historical data (i.e. your previous interaction transcripts).

With the Talkative platform, you can integrate with Google Agent Assist and use it to help your agents provide a faster, higher-quality customer support experience.

agent using AI Agent Assist

4. Utilise customer feedback

Customer feedback is a goldmine of insights that can fuel continuous improvement for both your AI knowledge base and customer service processes.

The best way to collect feedback is to ask for it after a customer has used your AI knowledge base resources.

For instance, with Talkative, you can design a custom feedback form that appears automatically at the end of every AI chatbot interaction.

This will allow customers to rate and review the service provided by your AI bot, giving you valuable insights into the service quality and outputs your AI knowledge base is providing.

In turn, you can use these insights to uncover customer perceptions and make targeted improvements to your AI knowledge base and its contents.

customer interacting with agent via live chat

5. Continuously maintain & update

Maintaining your AI knowledge base is an ongoing commitment - and it's an essential practice for long-term success.

If you fail to keep your knowledge base up-to-date, the AI’s performance could suffer, and it may produce inaccurate outputs.

So, be sure to regularly audit and update your knowledge base content to reflect any changes in products, services, branding, policies, or industry standards.

It’s also important to monitor customer queries so you can identify any information gaps in your knowledge base that need to be covered.

You can encourage your support teams to contribute to this process, too, based on their interactions with customers and the issues they encounter regularly.

By keeping your AI knowledge base well-maintained and up-to-date, you’ll ensure it remains a valuable resource for customer support that helps rather than hinders.

AI brain improving over time graphic

Benefits of AI-powered knowledge base systems

By implementing and using an AI knowledge base effectively (with the help of the above tactics), you can achieve the following outcomes…

Improved customer self-service

Many of today’s consumers want the option to help themselves with their queries.

Case in point, 40% of customers prefer self-service over human contact, and 81% say they want businesses to increase their self-service offerings.

By integrating your AI-powered knowledge base with a chatbot (as explained above), you’ll create an advanced self-service tool that customers can use to get lightning-fast answers and solutions.

These systems can even provide links to relevant articles and resources, making your knowledge base content more accessible to consumers.

By improving self-service with AI, you’ll empower customers to resolve more issues independently - leading to a better digital customer experience and a reduced workload for your agents.

happy self-service customer using laptop

Empowered support agents

AI knowledge bases and their applications don’t just help customers - they also empower your agents to perform better.

In fact, one study found that customer support agents who use AI can handle 14% more queries per hour, compared to those not using AI assistance.

With AI-powered knowledge base tools, agents can quickly access relevant information, improving average response time and facilitating faster resolutions.

Plus, with an AI knowledge base chatbot automating more customer interactions, the demand on your agents will decrease.

This reduces the chance of work-related burnout, leading to higher employee morale and increased productivity.

happy call centre agent

Optimal efficiency & performance

With an AI-enhanced knowledge base automating customer support and boosting agent productivity, you’ll likely see improved efficiency and performance over time.

By integrating AI into your knowledge base, you can boost efficiency and performance through:

  • Shorter handling times
  • Faster responses & resolutions
  • Higher chance of a first-contact resolution
  • More advanced automated customer service (and self-service)
  • Better technology and information access for agents

Considering these factors, it’s no surprise that research has found AI tools can boost employee performance by 66%.

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The takeaway: Enhancing your knowledge management system with AI

It’s undeniable that artificial intelligence is here to stay.

The role of AI in customer service and business operations is only going to grow as technology continues to advance.

With this in mind, it’s important that industry leaders are able to adapt and leverage these technologies effectively - or they may get left behind.

Fortunately, Talkative can help you get started.

In addition to our GenAI knowledge base chatbot, we offer the following AI tools for customer service:

In addition to AI solutions, we offer a complete suite of customer contact channels and capabilities - including live chat, web calling, video chat, cobrowse, messaging and more.

We also facilitate seamless integrations into leading contact centre systems and CRMs. In fact, our Salesforce integration is one of the most in-depth on the market.

Want to learn more? Book a demo with Talkative today.

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