Salesforce Knowledge is a widely recognized knowledge management solution, but it’s not without its challenges. Despite being tied to the Salesforce suite of tools, Salesforce Knowledge (SFK) has a number of entrenched pain points that can’t be easily resolved with the tool.

At Shelf, we provide knowledge management products and services. We know from talking to our clients how many of them were driven to our product due to the problems with Salesforce Knowledge. In this article we dive into the top five most troublesome pain points experienced by users of Salesforce Knowledge.

1. Salesforce Knowledge’s Legacy User Interface and Experience

The most obvious problem with Salesforce Knowledge is its clunky user interface and unintuitive user experience. There are multiple areas that embody UI and UX, but somehow SFK manages to do poorly in all of them.

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Former users of SFK report the tool is very particular about how users engage with it. If a user is uneducated about how using quotation marks in a search might dramatically change the results, then they may not find what they need at all. Even if you grapple with the specificity required by SFK, its limited search ability can result in far too many results or none at all. These types of challenges diminish the claim SFK works “out of the box,” because it assumes you already know all the ways you have to work with the solution inside the box.

The inelegance of the experience is exacerbated by the lacking visual design of the interface. The cumbersome UI often requires one of your own team members to become a Salesforce expert so they can train your own company how to use the tool you’re paying for (some past clients reported dissatisfaction with Salesforce’s onboarding). Taking on your own onboarding costs may seem like a small — albeit annoying — problem, but it can become an expensive problem too. If you’re pursuing SFK for your organization’s call center then you’re likely already facing other challenges in the call center such as staffing and retention.

Add expensive onboarding to already-expensive staffing retention challenges and it’s easy to see how SFK’s poor UI becomes more than concerns about looking pretty. It is a significant contributor to your department’s inefficiency.

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Why Shelf is the Solution: Shelf offers an intuitive, modern interface that’s designed for efficiency and adaptability across devices. With Shelf, users experience a seamless transition and can immediately leverage its user-friendly design for maximum productivity.

Midjourney depiction of Salesforce Knowledge challenge with reporting an analytics

2. Salesforce Knowledge’s Reporting and Analytics Limitations

We often talk to professionals who want to perform a knowledge management assessment and an integral part of this process is understanding how your system works right now. For example, it would be useful to know which articles within your knowledge base are referenced most frequently when answering questions.

Where can you find that information within SFK? You can’t. It’s not captured.

This example shows how SFK can’t provide meaningful reports even when all of the information is contained to its own system. The problem with reporting is even worse when it comes to integrating with other tools. Past users reported challenges exporting data within SF to use with other analytics tools. Organizations need data to make informed decisions and you can’t do that if the tool tracking all your data and activities is incapable of providing that data.

Why Shelf is the Solution: Shelf provides robust reporting and analytics capabilities, capturing comprehensive metadata and enabling seamless integration with popular business intelligence tools. With Shelf, businesses gain actionable insights to drive performance improvements.

Midjourney depiction of salesforce knowledge wasteful spending

3. Salesforce Knowledge Lacks Integration Capabilities

We mentioned this in the previous point but it deserves its own: Salesforce isn’t great at integrating with other tools. This is likely because Salesforce (like other massive companies such as Microsoft) would rather offer you another product from their suite rather than integrate with competing tools. Cohesive product ecosystems can be attractive to high-level decision makers because they promise better efficiency. That sounds nice, but it’s also not true. What are the chances every business problem has been solved by the same company — especially a legacy company that’s success is driven by a product other than the one you’re using?

Why Shelf is the Solution: Shelf provides an open and flexible ecosystem. Our products can read knowledge and information across multiple sources. Shelf enables effortless integration with external and internal tools while breaking through information silos.

4. Salesforce Knowledge Has a High Cost 

Salesforce Knowledge offers two different types of licenses — read-only for free or read and write for a monthly cost. You may quickly discover a lot of your support agents will need read/write access to your knowledge base, so the majority of your licenses will be for the paid cost. The cost of the paid license varies per contract, but we haven’t heard of a rate lower than $50 per user per month (and it’s probably higher than that). This makes SFK one of the most expensive licenses for a knowledge management tool. It remains at a high price despite having poor UI/UX, substandard reporting, and few integrations.

Why Shelf is the Solution: Shelf offers a number of products at a rate starting at $10 per month per user. By choosing Shelf, businesses can optimize their spending and ensure a cost-effective knowledge management solution.

Midjourney depiction of Salesforce Knowledge poor AI abilities

5. Salesforce Knowledge’s Lack of Advanced AI and Automation

Finally, SFK’s use of AI isn’t very good. For example, past users have said the platform doesn’t appear to be self-learning. Agents have to dedicate time to identifying content that needs to be updated then manually updating it. This is an inefficient solution to an already inefficient tool. Knowledge management is very common in customer service and customers have an expectation of service that’s granted by the efficiency of AI. It’s what allows for self-help bots or improving the performance of support agents. If your tool doesn’t utilize AI to its full extent, your organization will be behind the competition.

Why Shelf is the Solution: Shelf offers advanced AI and automation features, including conversational AI, self-learning capabilities, and guided troubleshooting. With Shelf, organizations can enhance efficiency, reduce manual work, and provide superior customer support.

How to Resolve Salesforce Knowledge Challenges?

The challenges of Salesforce Knowledge pose significant risks for businesses attempting to compete in a space heavily influenced by AI. Usability problems, reporting restrictions, lack of integrations, high costs, and poor use of AI all contribute to a poor productivity and cost-effectiveness. We’re experienced with resolving these pain points; it’s why our customers come to Shelf for their knowledge management solutions. No one ever rocks a boat for choosing to stick with Salesforce, but — as the market becomes more competitive — you may not find much success either.