MindTouch is one of the early leaders in the Enterprise 2.0 space –their CEO, Aaron Fulkerson was a regular attendee on the conference circuit. Over the last couple of years however, MindTouch has gone pretty silent as  market conditions and heightened competition caused them to disappear from view. I bumped into Fulkerson in San Diego recently and he told me that the company has come through a pretty lean period (at one stage he had to lay off a large proportion of his staff) but is now back in growth mode. We’re seeing proof of that today with the announcement that MindTouch is announcing a partnership with Salesforce that enables CRM and Service Cloud users to leverage the MindTouch knowledge base solution. MindTouch is a company somewhat analogous to Salesforce – in the same way that Salesforce started aiming to disrupt the way CRM works, MindTouch has a vision to disrupt the way enterprise user manuals work.

The combined solution is pretty interesting, the MindTouch CRM Connector automatically scans the Salesforce support case and in real-time recommends to support agents the best help and product content from within the knowledge base. Support agents can select or drag-and-drop and then send from within the Salesforce case window. Similarly agents can post case solutions into the MindTouch knowledge base, without leaving the Salesforce window.

According to MindTouch, the combined solution will deliver the following benefits;

  • Faster, more accurate support ticket resolution
  • Better consumer product and support experiences
  • A seamless and unified help experience
  • Actionable data and knowledge collection from your frontline support team

Why is this important?

Institutionalizing individual knowledge, and then disseminating it out to support workers is critical in order to ensure customer service delivers quick and accurate support. However the knowledge base has traditionally been siloed and separate from the customer service solution. Any time a service agent needs to switch between two systems of record, a degree of cognitive dissonance occur which, at best reduced efficiency but at worst lessens the customer support outcome. Building a self learning knowledge base that feed in two ways to and from customer support agents is a key step to make customer service faster, more accurate and more resource-efficient.

Scott Collison from Salesforce speaks to this fact when he says that;

The way that software companies or cloud companies used to do support was “hey, we are going to have a documentation team, write up the docs, put them on website, hopefully you can find them.” You want to call someone, – that might be difficult or might cost you some money. But I think by incorporating the community into creating living documentation describing how to use software – that has been a huge thing for us.”

Collison and Fulkerson discuss the integration ,and the over arching trend in customer service, in the video below

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Ben,

    Thanks for your coverage. We’re really excited about this new offering being available in the AppExchange and so are our many customers using Salesforce.

    The lean time you speak of was a period about two years ago when I took a hard look at what MindTouch could be “best in the world at”. It was clear our strategy then as a general purpose enterprise collaboration platform would doom us to mediocrity. Or worse, the deadpool. I recognized that many of our customers, even then, were using MindTouch for a really exciting use case: reinventing the user manual.

    Reinventing the user manual can sound deceptively simple, perhaps even boring. You would be wrong though. Think about the last time you wanted to learn how to use a product better, or fix something with it…that probably wasn’t the best experience. PDF, static HTML, crappy knowledgebases…What if instead we could apply the last 10 years of innovation from web, social and mobile to a superlative help and product content experience? That’s what MindTouch has been focused on being the best in the world at. Cloud delivering a multichannel help system. Or, if you like, reinventing the user manual. 🙂

    I suppose this was a classic pivot, but because we already had so many of our customers using MindTouch for this use case we weren’t starting from zero. Remarkably we’ve managed to continue to maintain profitability and grow the company every year. Albeit a little more slowly at first. This year has been remarkable in terms of growth. I’m looking forward to making an announcement about our momentum (probably November).

    Thanks again Ben.

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