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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO

SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT FOR FAST-GROWING COMPANIES

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT FOR FAST-GROWING COMPANIES © 2013 desk.com. All rights reserved.

© 2013 desk.com. All rights reserved.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX

I. INTRODUCTION

I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

I. INTRODUCTION

SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX I. INTRODUCTION THE RISE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT Self-service support is on

THE RISE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

Self-service support is on the rise — customers want it and support teams need it. If you are a fast-growing company, can you afford to not take self-service support seriously?

It’s official

What’s worse, is that fast-growing companies are feeling the brunt of this force as their rapdily-growing customer

base has forced management teams to make massive adjustments in a short amount of time. But should that stop

them from providing absolutely stellar customer service? Absolutely not.

consumer

expectations of customer support has reached new heights that nobody believed possible.

One form of customer service on the rise is self-service support - a cost efficient and effective way to provide accurate product information to customers. In fact according to Forrester, 72% of customers prefer self-service to resolve their support issues over picking up the phone or sending an email. 1 In this “Ultimate Guide,” we will be

touching on the foundation of self-service support – primarily, what this level of support means to fast-growing companies as well as their customers and organization.

We hope you walk away with the following insights:

• A firm understanding of the various types of self-service support and their benefits

• The agent productivity advantages and monetary value of investing in self-service support tools

• Steps on getting started with knowledge base content and how to keep it fresh and relevant

• Examples of awesomely designed support centers and what makes them effective

• How to measure the success of a support center and ROI of self-service support

You will be exercising both sides of the brain as you learn about the nitty gritty numbers of the ROI of self-service and the creative aspect of designing a great experience for your customer. Complete with visuals, case studies as well as concrete facts and figures, we hope you enjoy this guide and walk away with a better knowledge for your

self-service support efforts!

a better knowledge for your self-service support efforts! 1 Forrester Research, Do “Your Customers Want to

1 Forrester Research, Do “Your Customers Want to Telephone Your Service?” 2010.

I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX I. INTRODUCTION SELF-SERVICE GLOSSARY Self-Service

I. INTRODUCTION

SELF-SERVICE GLOSSARY

Self-Service Self-service is the act of a customer resolving his or her question using product information provided by the company.

Self-Service Support Self-service support is an organization’s efforts to supply their customer base with accurate product

information in hopes that they can resolve their own questions. Self-service support tools may range from a support center, FAQ, instructional guides or step-by-step videos.

Support Center An online support center (also known as a customer portal or help center) is a self-service portal for customers to seek a knowledge base of instructional articles, FAQs, how-to videos and more. They typically contain product or service information that allow customers to actively resolve their own questions.

Knowledge Base A knowledge base is an entity within a support center. The content of a knowledge base is unchanging information presented in a logical order and is written in an manner determined by the company, rather than the user community.

determined by the company, rather than the user community. FAQ FAQ or “Frequently Asked Questions” are

FAQ FAQ or “Frequently Asked Questions” are predominately found in a support center. An FAQ is a perfect format for customers that typically have the same problems.

Community or Forum The basic structure of a community or forum is a set of discussions written and promoted by the users or consumers. They encourage product usage as well as provide users with the opportunity to collaborate with one another.

Tickets or Cases A ticket or case is an incoming inquiry from a customer.

Agents Agents are a businesses’s team members that receive and resolve tickets or customer inquiries. They are an essential component of a customer support strategy as they are the individuals that serve the customer day in and day out.

essential component of a customer support strategy as they are the individuals that serve the customer
I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

I. INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS A SUPPORT CENTER?

A support center is an online resource for all product information and is the beating heart of self-service support. With a well-constructed support center, customers can accurately resolve their problems at all hours of the day. However, a support center is only as good as the tools that populate it. Unfortunately, not every size fits all so it is up to the company to make the necessary strides to find which tools are the most effective for them.

LAYOUT BEST

Some adequate self-service support tools include:

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX Video There is no better way to describe a step-by-step
Video There is no better way to describe a step-by-step process than through video. a
Video
There is no better way to
describe a step-by-step
process than through
video.
a
to describe a step-by-step process than through video. a Community Provide customers the opportunity to connect

Community Provide customers the opportunity to connect and interact with fellow users to encourage the usage of best practices.

with fellow users to encourage the usage of best practices. FAQ “Frequently Asked Questions” Create an

FAQ “Frequently Asked Questions” Create an FAQ to avoid repetitive questions from customers.

Create an FAQ to avoid repetitive questions from customers. Knowledge Base A knowledge base holds all

Knowledge Base A knowledge base holds all of the product information within a support center.

questions from customers. Knowledge Base A knowledge base holds all of the product information within a
questions from customers. Knowledge Base A knowledge base holds all of the product information within a

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

I. INTRODUCTION

I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV.

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT THE RISE

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

APPENDIX II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT THE RISE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT In today’s

THE RISE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

In today’s world of speed, immediate solutions and interconnectivity, customers expect resolutions to their problems in the snap of a finger. SNAP! Unfortunately, these expectations have forced fast-growing companies to quickly resolve customers’ problems or risk losing their business. Expectations including:

• 69% of customers said they were on hold too long when seeking help from a company

• 41% of consumers expect an email response within 6 hours

• 30% of consumers that tweet a customer service question expect a response within 30 minutes

• 71% of online chat customers expect assistance within 5 minutes

One can only imagine the stress of meeting these expectations with limited personnel and a rapidly-growing customer base. That is why fast-growing companies are investing in support centers as they realize the cost benefit. According to a study from Gartner, the self-service industry has grown from $600 million in 2011 to $1 billion in 2012. 2 Self-service support offer benefits to customers and companies alike. Companies benefit by providing

cost-effective alternatives while customers can solve problems on their own time.

Fast-growing companies that invest in self-service support, such as an online support center, have noticed numerous benefits including:

• A decrease in ticket volume

• An increase in customer satisfaction

• Better use of their product or service

• More collaboration between users

• An increase in agent productivity

2 Gartner, “Serving the Self-Service Customer,” 2013.

“[Self-service support] is a critical necessity for agents who rely on standardized answers to efficiently answer customer inquiries. It is also important to customers, as 60% of consumers use web self-service knowledge to find answers to their questions. Expect companies to adopt best practices in knowledge management.”

- Kate Leggett, Principal Analyst, Forrester

I. INTRODUCTION

I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV.

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

UNCERTAIN ABOUT SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT? SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK

Investing in self-service support is a huge undertaking for any organization - especially fast-growing companies - that often do not have the time or resources to take on such a huge venture. It requires time, patience and manpower. However there is clear evidence that the benefits outweigh the time and energy spent. Support team managers or executives uncertain about investing in a self-service support should consider asking the

following questions:

support should consider asking the following questions: LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES • Does our organization have

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

• Does our organization have the flexibility and time to constantly respond to our growing customer base?

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX • Does it simply seem like there is not enough

• Does it simply seem like there is not enough time in the day to keep up with our ticket volume?

• Are customers wishing for self-service support from us?

• Do we have international customers that are not getting questions resolved due to time differences?

If these questions are difficult to answer or if there is a considerable amount of pressure from customers, it might be time to invest in self-service support, such as a support center. A solid support center gives customers the answers they need 24/7, cuts down on cases and can also be extremely cost-effective.

cuts down on cases and can also be extremely cost-effective. At Desk.com, we use our self-service

At Desk.com, we use our self-service support tools to easily create knowledge base articles and manage our support center.

I. INTRODUCTION

I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV.

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

UNCERTAIN ABOUT SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT? SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK

A well-built support center that is maintained by a company and is highly utilized by customers, has the potential to be a huge cost-saver for support teams. The table below is a study from Forrester that represents approximate costs of specific customer service channels per customer contact. A self-service contact from a customer is easily the most cost-efficient. To put this into a better perspective, the cost of 25 web self-service contacts equals about

one email contact from an agent.

contacts equals about one email contact from an agent. Self-service support is not only evolving as

Self-service support is not only evolving as a cost-effective customer service channel, it has also developed into a huge demand from consumers. A 2012 study of more than 13,000 consumers by the Customer Contact Council

found that 57% of customers preferred to use self-service over the Web - compared to phone-based interactions with agents at 42.3%. 3 The implementation of a support center is no longer a want, it’s a necessity.

VI.

CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

Customer Service Channel

Approx. Cost Per Contact

Call center technical support

$12 and higher

Call center CSR

$6 and higher

Web chat or callback

$5 and higher

Email response

$2.50 to $5 and higher

Web self-service

$0.10 or less

$2.50 to $5 and higher Web self-service $0.10 or less Source: Forrester Research 3 1to1 Media,

Source: Forrester Research

3 1to1 Media, “Serving the Self-Service Customer,” 2013.

I. INTRODUCTION

I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV.

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT REDUCE TICKET

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

REDUCE TICKET VOLUME, INCREASE AGENT EFFICIENCY

SUPPORT REDUCE TICKET VOLUME, INCREASE AGENT EFFICIENCY With a rapidly-growing customer base, not only do agents

With a rapidly-growing customer base, not only do agents need to be productive, they need to be fast and agile as well. Customers place a heavy emphasis on resolution times especially when determining where to invest their money. In fact, 82% of consumers in the U.S. said they stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer service experience - of these, 55% said a company’s failure to resolve their problems in a timely manner drove them away 4 . Unfortunately for fast-growing companies, the rise of customers means the rise of ticket volumes - a huge problem when executives are performing a balancing act between building a business and answering customer questions as quickly as possible.

Nothing throws a stick in the spokes of an agent’s speed better than having to deal with a series of repetitive customer inquires - password resets, warranty registrations and plenty more. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: self-service support.

Of the numerous benefits self-service support provides, increased agent efficiency is a huge value. Self-service support keeps repetitive customer questions from ever reaching email or the phone lines - allowing agents to be more productive. Though a good self-service experience requires time and money investments in stellar knowledge base content as well as a strong support center layout, ticket volumes can be dramatically reduced allowing agents to focus on their speed and more pressing issues.

Primary Benefits from Implementing Self-Service Technologies

Increased efficiencies

33.3%

Reduced costs

17.7%

Greater customer satisfaction

15.6%

Reduced number of support requests

15.6%

Customer demand

6.2%

Improved profitability

3.1%

Source: Supportindustry.com survey, 2009

One important example of increased agent efficiency comes from Desk.com’s customer: TicketLeap. Before Ticketleap added their support center, agents spent 80% of their day on the phone helping one customer at a time. After investing in self-service support, TicketLeap’s team began seeing massive improvements in productivity. Today agents spend 20% of their time on the phone with complicated cases and 80% on email leveraging articles from the knowledge base.

4 RightNowTechnologies, “The Customer Experience Impact 2010 Report,” 2010

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT

Keep it Simple and Press On Building support center content is a daunting and rather arduous task - most notably, writing articles for your knowledge base. The hardest part is getting started. What are customers looking for? Am I making sense? The questions are endless. The key to getting started is to keep content simple - keep articles painless and easy to

understand than go from there. Senior Customer WOW Manager of Desk.com, Graham Murphy states:

Customer WOW Manager of Desk.com, Graham Murphy states: “Make sure you’re flagging cases that have a

“Make sure you’re flagging cases that have a need for self-help content. Keep a list and keep writing up those articles. Iterative improvement is the key. It’s not easy to write effective, successful documentation. It’s important to

remember, though, that it saves time in the long run. Just keep at it, even one a day if that’s all you can do. Just start.”

The best tip is to start with a small set of very broad topics or categories and work down from there. Over-structuring with too many categories that are too specific can lead to confusion for your authors as well as your readers. Over

time, opportunities for more forum headings or categories will become clear that will in turn, grow your knowledge base organically.

Identifying New Content Once the basic knowledge base articles are created, count on more to follow in time. A great practice is to empower agents to recommend new knowledge base articles from repetitive support cases. When similar case inquiries pile up, agents can “flag” the tickets as a candidate for creating a support center article. Once this practice has been implemented, there will be a significant drop in repetitive questions.

At Desk.com, we empower agents to flag knowledge base content candidates using our “labels” feature.
At Desk.com, we empower agents to flag knowledge
base content candidates using our “labels” feature. When
a Customer WOW agent experiences multiple customer
inquiries with the same question, they label them as
“Support Center Candidates” where the ticket is then
evaluated as a possible new piece of content.
label them as “Support Center Candidates” where the ticket is then evaluated as a possible new

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT HOW ARE THE PROFESSIONALS

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

HOW ARE THE PROFESSIONALS DOING IT?

STARTED WITH CONTENT HOW ARE THE PROFESSIONALS DOING IT? “Breaking down the different types of customers
STARTED WITH CONTENT HOW ARE THE PROFESSIONALS DOING IT? “Breaking down the different types of customers
STARTED WITH CONTENT HOW ARE THE PROFESSIONALS DOING IT? “Breaking down the different types of customers

“Breaking down the different types of customers and addressing their needs individually is really important. Also, a solid foundation of good documentation reinforced with plenty of product visuals helps customers learn more effectively. Documentation is an essential tool for the entire company when addressing features of the product, whether or not that is in a support setting.”

Talton Figgins, Support at Disqus

“We had tried creating text how to’s in the past and we found that our customers, with their busy work days, that they didn’t want to take the time to read and try the steps on their own. With video, we’ve seen a lot more interest from customers knowing that they can see exactly how to do what they want to do, but keeping in mind that we’re still here to help them out in case the video doesn’t match their situation exactly.”

Corey Maertz, Support at DealerFire

“I started when Rdio was in beta so I had the unique ability to create knowledge base articles as support cases came in. I think it can be really overwhelming when you’re starting to write articles not knowing what you’re going to put in there. You need to slowly track that stuff and pay attention to it and put it in your knowledge base daily rather than feeling like you have to have everything right at the get go. It will help you and it will help your knowledge base have everything that people are actually asking about.”

Madelyn Taylor, Head of Support at Rdio

help your knowledge base have everything that people are actually asking about.” Madelyn Taylor, Head of

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT PUTTING TOGETHER KNOWLEDGE

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT PUTTING TOGETHER KNOWLEDGE BASE CONTENT The first step

PUTTING TOGETHER KNOWLEDGE BASE CONTENT

The first step of researching and preparing knowledge base content is to categorize customers’ habits, common problems and preferences, using the words and phrases they would use when searching for help.

Content is King Completing any task in a fast-growing company requires efficiency and organization. Building knowledge base content is no different - the key is to lay out content in a simple and visual way such as a diagram. Putting together a diagram of knowledge base content is an absolute must for organization. Below is a simple, yet effective diagram for building knowledge base content.

Keep the customer experience in mind through a series of broad topics (marked in purple). These can be specific products that may require multiple articles, getting started resources, FAQs and much more. Once this has been accomplished, designing the website will be a piece of cake. Remember, the design and layout of a support center should be built around the content - a support center should not be designed and then filled in with content (it

won’t make any sense to the customer).

- a support center should not be designed and then filled in with content (it won’t

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

MAINTAINING FRESH, RELEVANT CONTENT

STARTED WITH CONTENT MAINTAINING FRESH, RELEVANT CONTENT Getting started with content is 50% of a self-service

Getting started with content is 50% of a self-service support strategy. The other 50% is maintaining the knowledge base content so that it is fresh and constantly relevant to the customers’ needs. If one loosens the reins and forgets to update content, customer satisfaction will immediately go down and it is much more difficult to catch up than to constantly maintain. Below are a couple of methods to always having fresh and relevant knowledge base articles.

LAYOUT BEST

Add an Expiration Date

PRACTICES

One the easiest and most effective tips is to put an expiration date on knowledge base content. Product features change as well as interfaces - it’s easy to forget to go back and refresh articles. However, once a date is on the

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX calendar, teams are most likely to uphold a content refresh

calendar, teams are most likely to uphold a content refresh initiative.

Include a Rating System Another very simple and important way to maintain fresh content is to implement a rating system into knowledge base articles - meaning readers can rate their satisfaction with the content. A rating system is a key and almost

mandatory feature to have in knowledge base content.

Customer service evangelist Greg Meyer suggests: “Identify the top 10 highest rated and lowest rated knowledge base articles that your customers use, and rewrite them on a content calendar.” By refreshing your highest rated articles, you are keeping popular posts fresh.

highest rated articles, you are keeping popular posts fresh. Using Desk.com, readers are able to rate
Using Desk.com, readers are able to rate knowledge base articles. Our Customer WOW team constantly
Using Desk.com, readers are able to
rate knowledge base articles. Our
Customer WOW team constantly
monitors these ratings to gauge the
health of articles and determine if it
needs a refreshment.

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT

CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT TOP 11 BEST PRACTICE TIPS FROM THE

TOP 11 BEST PRACTICE TIPS FROM THE PROS

Getting started with content and your support center layout is an enormous undertaking. However, with a solid plan and a little elbow grease, the benefits are endless. Here is a list of eleven best practices from professionals that have years of experience in the field of customer service and self-service technologies.

1. Curate your content thoughtfully and organize it

6. Always keep Search front and center, easy to and

LAYOUT BEST

clearly

easy to use

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX 2. Provide a feedback mechanism, (and listen to the

2. Provide a feedback mechanism, (and listen to the

feedback)

3. Review content frequently to make sure information

is up to date and useful to customers

4. Moderate forum discussions; it is important that the

brand has a strong presence

5. On your website, guide the customer to self-help

options. Provide a single entry point for help options,

don’t confuse them with too many choices

7. Offer one final try to match the request with suggested

answers before an email submission

8. Recognize the user; don’t bother them by collecting

extraneous information as if they were strangers

9. Use links within the product or application that point

to self-help choices, and keep that information current

10. Provide mobile self-help options

11. Provide an easy and clear escalation path. Don’t

make it difficult to contact you directly

Best practice tips from Graham Murphy, Dan Stern, Madelyn Taylor and Talton Figgins

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES GETTING STARTED WITH

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

GETTING STARTED WITH DESIGN

Self-service support is a key tenet of a great customer experience - sharing information with the customer motivates them to help each other and increases product usage in return. However, simply having a support center available does not guarantee customers will find it useful. Unfortunately, customers have a low tolerance for information they can not locate so the design and layout of a support center are critical factors.

design and layout of a support center are critical factors. Check out some common layouts of

Check out some common layouts of support centers to help get the creative juices flowing:

of support centers to help get the creative juices flowing: This support center layout is very

This support center layout is very common. Some of the key highlights include:

• Search bar is front and center and easy to locate

• Articles organized into topics makes navigation very easy for the user

• Contact information is a click away in case the user can not resolve their issue

is a click away in case the user can not resolve their issue A support center

A support center built with an emphasis on simplicity

and clarity is always effective. Here are some highlights:

• Iconography is a great way to break up the clutter of help topics and is visually appealing

• Contact information is clearly defined

• Search bar is the key asset of this page

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES AWESOME SUPPORT CENTERS

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

AWESOME SUPPORT CENTERS

Fitbit has multiple products in their product line. Unfortunately, with each product comes unique problems.
Fitbit has multiple products in their product line.
Unfortunately, with each product comes unique
problems.
By using iconography to lay out each
product, users are easily able to locate the product
they have and solve their problem from there.
A “Most Viewed” column is a great way to bubble
up common questions for the user to see. This
is also a great way to reduce annoying, repetitive
tickets agents might commonly see in their inbox.
Fitbit’s search bar is easy to find and includes
topic suggestions that makes an easier search
experience. Search bar is their main priority and it
pays off for the customer’s experience.
makes an easier search experience. Search bar is their main priority and it pays off for
makes an easier search experience. Search bar is their main priority and it pays off for

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE

SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES AWESOME SUPPORT CENTERS

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

AWESOME SUPPORT CENTERS

The Space Heroes support center is fun and designed around their brand. The customer feels
The Space Heroes support center is fun and
designed around their brand. The customer feels
they are in their element and overall comfortable
with the support center.
a customer can not find the article he/she is
looking for, Space Heroes’s contact information is
only a click away. Make sure an escalation path is
easily laid out for the customer.
“Browse by Topic” is a simple and effective way
layout for customers to easily navigate. With just
a few clicks, customers can locate and
read the article they are looking for.

If

customers to easily navigate. With just a few clicks, customers can locate and read the article

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES AWESOME SUPPORT CENTERS

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

AWESOME SUPPORT CENTERS

Search bar is front and center along with an FAQ section. This is a great
Search bar is front and center along with an FAQ
section. This is a great layout as simple questions
can be taken care of right away in this division of
the support center.
SquareSpace takes the customer experience very
seriously as they lay out three important topics
right off the bat. The customer is able to
immediately get started or escalate an issue.
SquareSpace allows users to create their own
website. Videos are easily at their disposal to
learn the product with ease.
allows users to create their own website. Videos are easily at their disposal to learn the
allows users to create their own website. Videos are easily at their disposal to learn the
I. INTRODUCTION II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

FEATURES TO CONSIDER: COMMUNITY

III.

GETTING STARTED

Presenting customers with self-service options and sharing product knowledge can vary in numerous ways and is determined largely by your strategy. The trick is to determine which option is the most effective for your customers.

WITH CONTENT

Communities have grown to be a major success for a number of companies.

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

Are Communities Right for All Fast-Growing Companies? Communities are generally very positive for almost every company. They encourage product usage as well as provide users the opportunity to collaborate with one another. However, businesses should consider where to focus their self-service efforts - for some organizations, it might not be in a community.

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX If a product can be configured in many ways -

If a product can be configured in many ways - meaning there might be more than one way to be successful with it - customers may appreciate networking with other users to figure out best practices or compare methods. Reading about the different strategies and experiences can inspire customers and increase product usage. Or, they may discover more efficient ways of achieving an outcome.

If a product or service is straight forward and there are little methods for using it, a community might not be a priority. In which case, a solid knowledge base will probably be the best route to go.

knowledge base will probably be the best route to g o . Desk.com’s customer, Fitbit, offers
Desk.com’s customer, Fitbit, offers a number of solutions and services that can be configured in
Desk.com’s customer, Fitbit, offers a number of solutions and services
that can be configured in many ways. To encourage product usage and
inspire customers, they embedded a community into their support center.
All questions, discussions, ideas and problems are recorded and routed
straight to Fitbit’s support team.
center. All questions, discussions, ideas and problems are recorded and routed straight to Fitbit’s support team.

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE

SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT III. GETTING STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES FEATURES TO CONSIDER:

IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES

FEATURES TO CONSIDER: MOBILE SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

PRACTICES FEATURES TO CONSIDER: MOBILE SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT Not only do customers want their issues resolved in

Not only do customers want their issues resolved in the shortest amount of time, they also want them resolved on the go. Consumers are increasingly seeking self-serve customer service content such as knowledge base articles and forums using their mobile devices. In fact, 50% of smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile customer service app to try to resolve their issue before calling a contact center. 8

Mobile self-service support offers fast-growing companies a revolutionary opportunity to provide self-service experiences of higher quality in the wake of a less lenient and more demanding customer base. Through this form of support, companies will reduce inbound ticket volumes, unify support channels and reduce waiting times - all while

serving one of the largest growing audiences: mobile customers.

Is Mobile Configuration Right for All Self-Service Support Strategies? There is little doubt that consumers are going mobile. While statistics vary, the popular consensus is that within a few short years the usage of smartphones will exceed PCs. With steam quickly picking up in the direction of mobile and self-service, businesses in nearly all industries should consider in this investment to preserve the customer experience.

The mobile self-service support benefits include:

• Customers can solve their problems on the go

• Decreased ticket volume

• A unified self-service opportunity across multiple channels

• Reaching a mobile demographic

50% of smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile customer service app to try to resolve their customer service issue before calling a contact center.

- Echo Research

8 SpeechCycle and Echo, “SpeechCycle and Echo Research Study,” 2011.

calling a contact center. - Echo Research 8 SpeechCycle and Echo, “SpeechCycle and Echo Research Study,”

V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

STARTED WITH CONTENT IV. DESIGN AND LAYOUT BEST PRACTICES V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT HOW

V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT HOW THE PROFESSIONALS ARE DOING IT? “Power users can

HOW THE PROFESSIONALS ARE DOING IT?

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT HOW THE PROFESSIONALS ARE DOING IT? “Power users can do some amazing thing
OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT HOW THE PROFESSIONALS ARE DOING IT? “Power users can do some amazing thing

“Power users can do some amazing thing with Desk.com, especially when it comes to implementing custom code to expand the core functionality of our product. Despite having a team of support rockstars on staff, there’s always a point where a request is simply beyond the scope of what we can handle. Providing a community Q&A environment creates the opportunity for customers to help each other in such situations, while simultaneously making our support center more robust than ever.”

Graham Murphy, Senior Customer WOW Manager at Desk.com

“We want to offer customers a way to find answers to their questions easily and efficiently. The objective of the Desk.com implimentation is to have a clean and easily navigatable Support site so people can quickly find answers to your questions. If I’m a customer, I’d prefer to find the answer to my question myself rather than calling or writing an email to a support rep.”

Jay Kershner, Senior Director Customer Service at Fitbit

“When you track Google Analytics, over time you’ll get amazing data.”

Madelyn Taylor, Head of Support at Rdio

VI. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

VI. CONCLUSION

SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT: THE ESSENTIAL FOR FAST-GROWING COMPANIES

SUPPORT: THE ESSENTIAL FOR FAST-GROWING COMPANIES According to Forrester Research, we are now in the “Age

According to Forrester Research, we are now in the “Age of the Customer.” Self-service support is no longer considered an advantage but a pinnacle factor in the success of a company. Today, customers are connected to more options than ever before. Being the customer’s first and remaining choice is a critical competitive advantage - and competition is fiercer than ever. To win, fast-growing companies must be laser-focused on understanding their

customer base and engaging them better than anyone else.

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

Enabling self-service support is not an easy deployment. It requires time, money and structural changes that many fast-growing companies can not sacrifice. Meanwhile, many companies that have made the

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

the V. MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX change are reaping the benefits

VI. CONCLUSION

APPENDIX

change are reaping the benefits of better customer satisfaction, reduced ticket volumes and increased revenue. Furthermore, they have in turn become more agile, performance-oriented and customer-focused.

Unfortunately, online support centers are only as effective as they are designed and utilized by customers. The layout and design of a support center is crucial as customers are increasingly losing their patience and falling off at the slightest obstacles. Content is equally important as stale or confusing content can lead to customer frustrations and ultimately, loss in business. Companies must stress the importance of design and content to get the full benefits of self-service support.

As customer expectations continue to rise, self-service is no longer a “nice-to-have” or a “maybe” for companies on the rise. Rather, self-service support plays an increasingly crucial role in the retention of customers and encouragement of further growth. By measuring the ROI and the success of their self-service strategy, fast-growing companies will easily notice the success of their customers.

and the success of their self-service strategy, fast-growing companies will easily notice the success of their

APPENDIX

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

APPENDIX

TICKET TO SUCCESS: THE TICKETLEAP SUPPORT CENTER

APPENDIX TICKET TO SUCCESS: THE TICKETLEAP SUPPORT CENTER Keeping Customer Support DIY Last year TicketLeap did

Keeping Customer Support DIY Last year TicketLeap did $52 million gross ticket sales, which means they powered a lot of events. One way they’ve helped users stay DIY is with the TicketLeap support center, powered by Desk.com. The support center is updated on a regular basis and kept current with useful articles.

LAYOUT BEST

Before Ticketleap added the support center with Desk.com agents spent 80% of their day on the phone helping one

PRACTICES

customer at a time. “We selected Desk.com specifically for its ability to easily build a knowledge base,” says former TicketLeap CTO Keith Fitzgerald. Today agents spend 20% of their time on the phone with complicated cases and

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX 80% on email leveraging articles from the knowledge

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX 80% on email leveraging articles from the knowledge base.

80% on email leveraging articles from the knowledge base.

Tips for Creating a Top-Notch Support Center So how did TicketLeap turn the support center into such a useful and powerful tool? “Our knowledge base is regularly updated every two to three weeks,” says Allison Berger, TicketLeap community manager.

TicketLeaps’s Tips for Keeping the Knowledge Base in Shape

• After each product update, check related articles to ensure content is still relevant

“We want to make ticketing the best possible experience for buyers and patrons and fans to get into the event versus being looked at as the barrier of entry.” - Tim Raybould, President & COO of TicketLeap

entry.” - Tim Raybould, President & COO of TicketLeap • If a customer asks a question

• If a customer asks a question and a topic doesn’t exist yet, create it

• Add images and use the html code

I. INTRODUCTION

II. SERVING IN THE

AGE OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

III. GETTING STARTED

WITH CONTENT

IV. DESIGN AND

LAYOUT BEST

PRACTICES

V. MEASURING THE

EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT

VI. CONCLUSION

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX APPENDIX NEXTDOOR BUILDS COMMUNITIES ONLINE AND OFF

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX APPENDIX NEXTDOOR BUILDS COMMUNITIES ONLINE AND OFF The hot

APPENDIX

OF SELF-SERVICE SUPPORT VI. CONCLUSION APPENDIX APPENDIX NEXTDOOR BUILDS COMMUNITIES ONLINE AND OFF The hot startup

NEXTDOOR BUILDS COMMUNITIES ONLINE AND OFF

The hot startup Nextdoor is a hyper-local online network that is all about neighbor-to-neighbor communication. Nextdoor’s growing user base relies on the website every day. It’s growing so quickly that dealing with the influx of customer requests is a top priority.

Homegrown Challenges and Desk.com Solutions Nextdoor also wanted to have a system in place that supports their neighborhoods leads — usually the Founding Members of Nextdoor neighborhoods who are strong inviters and active community leaders — who typically have unique and more complicated support requests. For example,leads set up their neighborhoods and might need

expert attention right away, while a community member can find answers to frequently asked questions in the help center. Using custom fields in Desk.com, support specialists can record whether the case is from a community member or a lead. That way, when they reach out again, inbound interaction rules correctly route cases and can even send them to a specific support specialist.

Before implementing Desk.com, the team at Nextdoor used a shared email account for support emails and an internal tool to create a very basic FAQ page. Almost immediately after implementing Desk.com, the support team deflected a lot of member questions and emails due to the searchable knowledge base that is full of tailored articles. Support requests dropped by almost 50% after the team moved help articles to Desk.com.

“I try to provide support in a timely manner and find ways to improve the process and the content. If I find something that is confusing in a help article, I can easily go in and edit it to make it more clear.” - Theresa Burns, Support Specialist at Nextdoor

a help article, I can easily go in and edit it to make it more clear.”

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o

o

o

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just a few clicks Create an intricate, beautiful online support center to match your brand and
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