Reduce the cost of running support with these tweaks to your help section
Multiple choice question:
Robert is having issues with a specific feature of the new app he just downloaded. After trying several times to figure out what he’s doing wrong, his next steps are what?
- Robert submits a support ticket asking what the problem is.
- Robert searches the app’s Help Center for an answer to his problem.
- Robert heads to social media to complain about the issue he is having.
- Robert finds a support forum to get help from people who have had the same problem.
Believe it or not, the first next step most customers take is searching for answers in a company’s Help Center. Most people prefer to find answers on their own. Your users or customers need to find an answer to their problem while they are having the problem and would prefer not to have to send an email and wait. So here’s the question: when your customers are having issues, is there a place for them to go for answers?
The day of the FAQ has long since passed.
A single page of FAQ is a good place to start but is not enough. A robust Help Center is important for several reasons:
- It will allow your customers to find answers without needing the help of your support staff (therefore reducing the amount of support you need).
- It will allow you to control the tone of the messaging. When customers can’t find answers, they often turn to online forums where the community (people who are not employed by you) attempts to answer their questions. You don’t control the tone and messaging here, and there is the potential for other frustrated customers to bad mouth your company or product.
- A robust, easy to use Help Center creates a great customer experience. When a customer can turn to your Help Center to easily find answers thanks to the amount of detail and effort you put in, it translates to a positive experience with your brand.
There’s more to building an awesome Help Center than having a ton of instructions. Here are some best practices to ensure your Help Center is serving its purpose.
Look at your product/service and chunk it apart into logical pieces. From these pieces, you should decide on categories that will be your overarching navigation. Once you have your categories, build sections and then articles within each section.
If your company is using a Help Desk platform, there is likely an option to build your Help Center using the platform you are already using for support.
Check out the 53’s Help Center. The navigation is logical and makes it easy for a customer to figure out where they need to go.
As you are creating each section of your Help Center, put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Never assume that they have a base knowledge. You should also never assume they are tech savvy or have a base knowledge of the internet.
Be proactive with what you’re putting in your Help Section. Meet your customer where they’re at and walk with them to a solution.
Research Common Problems
Search your emails and get an idea of common problems and issues. Search forums to see what people are asking and saying about your products and services and talk to your support staff or anyone who interfaces with your customers. Make sure that you have a good understanding of how and why common problems occur so that you can guide customers to solutions in a helpful way.
Create a Getting Started Guide
You should always have a Getting Started Guide to answer preliminary questions, guide users through basic features, or give them the information they need to get started.
If you head back to 53’s support section, you’ll see that front and center is a “Getting Started” video. This video explains exactly how their products work so that customers can start using their products without searching the help section for answers.
Index your Help Center and make it searchable
Just because the answer is in your Help Center does not mean your customers will find it. Your Help Center needs to be well indexed and searchable. Articles need to be properly tagged so that no matter how your customers are searching, they will find the answer they are looking for.
Your Help Center should also float to the top of online searches. Many customers head directly to their favorite search engine to find answers to their problems. You want to make sure answers from your Help Section are at the top of their search results and not answers from an online forum.
Your Help Center is a living, breathing section of your site. You should go back and update it frequently. This means you need to pay attention to the support emails you are getting and the responses that are being given. If you introduce new features, you need to add sections on how to use those features.
You should also gather feedback within your Help Center in the form of surveys or simple “Was this answer helpful?” questions. If you plan to gather feedback, consider carefully where that pops up on the screen and when.
Decide on whether you need a forum
Forums are usually built-in to Help Centers and can be a good option depending on your product and community. Opening up the forum within your Help Center may help you build your community faster and with more integrity. It could also take some of the work off your plate by having passionate experts helping others.
You should consider whether or not you have the resources to manage a forum (someone needs to watch over what’s being said). You should also consider whether it’s appropriate for other users to answer support questions.
Don’t go it alone
Most help desk platforms have a Help Center attached where you can very easily create something that is searchable, multimedia friendly, and intuitive. They also usually allow you to skin a Help Center that looks like your site.
Your Help Center is an important part of customer service, customer support, and your website. It’s essential to build one that well developed and, well, helpful. Need help? We’re an email away! The Yeomen are experts at building amazing Help Centers for our clients. Drop us a line or find out more about our services.