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We’re building Spoke on a fundamental premise: we believe business software can be lightweight and delightful. Underlying that premise is a fact we talk about less, but is very important—other internal ticketing and knowledge base solutions are not lightweight and delightful.
There are myriad reasons why our competition falls short. Some ticketing systems were re-purposed from other use cases like customer success or engineering, resulting in a Frankenstein system that’s overly complex and unintuitive. Some knowledge base solutions compound the problems they seek to solve.
At Spoke, we haven’t just made a few changes to a system built for another group and rebranded it as an internal support tool. In fact, our tool is designed specifically—and exclusively—for internal support teams.
The outcome: Spoke is simpler and smarter than the competition.
This review of one of our competitor’s products expresses a common complaint we hear from users of other ticketing systems:
“[I]t can be years’ work to get everything set like you need… Some of the basic settings are so deep and so spread out, you’ll spend hours reading through Help articles to understand how to customize your ticket form.”
Many businesses have internal support teams that are overworked, understaffed, and operating on insufficient budgets. These teams are already strapped for time, and the overhead of an excessively complex ticketing system only compounds their problems.
That’s why we built Spoke from the ground up with a laser focus on simplicity. Spoke makes it simple to find knowledge, get help, distribute information, and provide support.
Ticketing systems are usually only designed to be used by support teams. Most even have per-agent pricing models that reflect that use case. And beyond that, most are too complicated for casual users: “They are clearly made by some engineer who thinks it makes perfect sense and were never tested on someone who was already frustrated and impatient.”
The problem: our competitors focus primarily on the agent experience. This leads to a system that makes sense to support teams but is baffling to the people who need to request support:
“I think that the UX can be dramatically improved. Especially for customer-facing end-user experience (the non-technical customers).”
At Spoke, we’ve optimized for both the agent and requestor experience. According to the team at Evernote:
“Spoke has a look and feel that people are used to, which is likely why it has high adoption [by our employees].”
Even knowledge management systems—which are typically viewed as more accessible than ticketing systems—can be overly complex. Take this review of a popular knowledge management solution: “I use the product every day, yet I am constantly fumbling around trying to find where to go to do what I’m trying to do.”
Spoke doesn’t require any technical expertise or specialized knowledge to operate. We’ve focused on designing a product that’s intuitive—one that replicates how people interact with the tools they already use at work. This leads to simpler onboarding, greater adoption, and fewer support questions regarding how to use the tool.
Before we started building Spoke, we realized that employees were often forced to use different systems for knowledge and service requests. We asked people how they currently find information at work. Some said they use a ticketing system; others said they use a knowledge management system. Often, those two answers came from people at the same company.
We wondered, “Why have two separate systems that essentially do the same thing—get people’s requests answered?”
Making matters worse, employees aren’t certain which system to use for which questions. For example, to read about your company’s laptop refresh policy, you search a wiki. To request a new laptop, you submit a ticket. But often, the response IT sends back to a request for a new laptop is a link to the laptop refresh guidelines.
Why force people to jump through hoops to determine which system to use for what inquiries when the end result is often the same thing? It’s counterproductive and mentally taxing.
So we built Spoke to be a central, solo repository for company information—a place where employees can get answers to their questions and request services from support teams.
People no longer have to wonder where to go for answers or support. They just ask Spoke.
We also discovered that IT support teams often use ticketing systems, while HR teams use knowledge management systems (wikis, intranets, shared drives, etc.). But the bottom line is that both IT and HR perform the same types of tasks—they answer questions and provide services—so both can benefit from the features of ticketing and knowledge management tools.
With a combined ticketing and knowledge management system, IT and HR teams get the benefits of both products—and both teams can use the exact same tool.
But IT support and HR aren’t the only teams with knowledge the whole company can benefit from—or that help other employees by answering questions and providing services. Office managers and facilities teams also provide internal support. Sales, marketing, and legal teams—not to mention subject-matter experts—answer lots of questions for their coworkers.
Spoke is designed to be used by the entire company: departments, teams, and subject-matter experts alike. In fact, Spoke works best when everyone uses it. As more people use Spoke, more information gets added to your knowledge base, making it easier for people to find the information they need to do their work.
Most ticketing and knowledge management systems live outside of the tools people are already using to do their work. To open a ticket, you have to find the intake form. To look for knowledge, you have to find the right wiki.
Spoke works in the systems people already have open all day. In addition to making requests in Spoke’s web app, people can ask questions and open tickets via Slack, email, and SMS.
And unlike other tools, Spoke’s Slack integration doesn’t require third-party apps or custom coding to set up. Our native Slack integration is so easy to set up that anyone at the company can do it. And once it’s set up, people can:
Once people can ask questions and request support in the systems they’re already using, it’s much easier to get them to use your designated tool instead of bypassing it and going directly to support team members for help.
For lots of companies, adopting a new knowledge management tool can be terrifying, particularly if you’ve already spent a lot of time and effort adding knowledge to an existing tool.
At Spoke, we’ve heard these horror stories time and time again:
“With great power comes great responsibility and great potential to make an absolute mess of things. Deployment of this tool to a large user base would require some serious preparation to establish access schemes, permissions for user groups, best practices for editing and creating new content, and organizing content within the spaces.”
With Spoke, you don’t have to start over—and you don’t have to take time upfront to build your knowledge base.
Spoke helps you build your knowledge base organically. People ask questions, you supply answers, and while supplying those answers, you simply select an option to add the answer to the knowledge base.
It’s that simple. There’s no need to have an entire group dedicated to building your knowledge base or take time from people’s existing work to document knowledge.
Second, if you already have knowledge documented somewhere else—on a shared drive, wiki, or even just saved locally—just add that documentation to Spoke when you answer a question. Spoke supports knowledge base entries that are links to other URLs, offers a native Google Drive integration, and lets you upload files from your local machine.
Plus, when you add an entry to your knowledge base, you can set a reminder for yourself or your team to go back in and update it later, helping you ensure the knowledge you’ve saved stays accurate and up to date.
Spoke is a simpler alternative to other internal support tools because it:
For support teams, this simplicity translates into greater adoption and easier onboarding:
“Spoke offers a better user experience for the end user. If anything, our help desk got more usage in the beginning of adopting Spoke. People realized it was a resource they could use and it became a normal thing. They know Spoke is the way to get help.”
But Spoke is more than just simple; it’s also smart. And that brings with it a whole host of additional benefits.
Another complaint we hear from our customers frequently is that searching their knowledge base doesn’t work:
“The search function is not very precise. Its very hard to find things if words are not spaced accordingly or have the right symbols (ex: -‘s).”
In some cases, we’ve even heard of companies having to hire employees just to manage their knowledge base:
“We have had to hire someone who focuses on keeping [our knowledge base] organized and reducing the amount of duplicate pages. In a complex organization, it can be difficult to know where to find things, and the search functionality is not great.”
Spoke doesn’t require people to conduct a search. Instead, they just ask a question—exactly like they’d ask a coworker. If the answer to the question is in your Spoke knowledge base, it provides the right answer instantly.
And while the typical ticketing system has a knowledge base feature, it’s often only accessible to support personnel. That means that even if the answer is easily accessible in your knowledge base, someone still has to take time to go into the ticket, search for and find the right answer, and insert and send the response. All of that time equals lost productivity:
“For article management, it was a cause of headache… We knew that the article existed in the system, however sometimes we just could not find it at all. When there are poor searching functions, we cannot encourage the customer to use the help center.”
Spoke sends the right answer directly to the requestor automatically. It’s a completely hands-off approach to answering questions, distributing knowledge, and providing support.
How? Spoke is a smarter solution that uses AI and machine learning technologies to instantly and automatically answer questions and provide support. This leads to increased productivity companywide.
Using AI and natural-language processing, Spoke understands what people are looking for when they ask questions. That means your employees don’t have to know the precise keywords to use to find the information they need. They just ask in the same way they’d ask a coworker—except it’s even better because they’re not actually interrupting a coworker!
After that, Spoke uses machine learning to provide the right answer. On top of a basic text search, Spoke also takes into account similar questions which have been asked—and previous user behaviors—to come up with the best possible answer.
Once it finds the right answer, it sends it to the requestor instantly.
But it doesn’t stop there. Every time Spoke provides information from your knowledge base, it asks the requestor if the provided information solved their problem. This helps it improve its answers over time and ensures that everyone gets the information they’re looking for.
And if someone replies that the answer provided wasn’t right, Spoke creates a ticket and automatically routes that ticket to the appropriate team.
When employees answer questions, they can add their answers to Spoke’s knowledge base. Then, the next time it’s asked, Spoke can provide that answer automatically.
This leads to increased productivity for everyone.
Our customers report getting as many as 50% fewer support tickets after adopting Spoke (versus the maximum of 25% boasted by our competitors).
That means support teams have more time to spend on important, strategic initiatives instead of answering repetitive questions—which also increases job satisfaction.
And it’s not just support teams that benefit from instant and automatic answers—the people who need support benefit, too. Instead of being blocked on their work while waiting for someone in support to get around to answering their questions, they get the info they need right away.
Spoke connects employees to information and each other, letting them get answers to questions automatically, find knowledge wherever it lives instantly, and request personal support when needed. And all without ever leaving the systems they already have open all day at work.
When we say Spoke is an innovative ticketing and knowledge management system, we’re not just using the term “innovative” for marketing flair to make it sound more exciting.
In fact, we designed Spoke from the ground up specifically to be innovative—new and advanced, an improvement on what’s already available—in all of the ways described above.
But don’t just take our word for it. If you want more proof, learn more about how we helped IT support and HR teams at Evernote, First Round, Pantheon, and Scoot improve their workflows, provide better support, and boost productivity companywide.
Ready to experience Spoke’s innovation firsthand? Sign up to try Spoke for your company, or request a demo and we’ll show you how it works.
Answer these two quick questions to get a customized introduction to Spoke.