Your customers- even those who prefer to seek live help from a support agent- want to know whether you offer self-help resources online. An online knowledgebase demonstrates your commitment to giving them whatever they need in order to have a positive experience with your product. It shows that you stand behind your software, but are open to feedback and to the possibility that customers may need a helping hand. And, of course, a well-designed self-help option is the most efficient and the most cost effective of any support channel. In this segment of our series on multi-channel success, we will look at some ways to get the most from your knowledgebase.
Use self-help throughout the product lifecycle
Although a knowledgebase is often thought of as the minimal cost solution for mature products, you can use self-help to effectively supplement newer products as well. At the beginning of a product lifecycle, use your self-help site as the go-to for product release notes, tips, training schedules and user guides. Driving customers to this site for information like this will get them familiar with this channel early on. As products move on in their life cycle, make sure you are training support agents on use of the self-help resources from a customer perspective. Agents who understand your customer’s use of this channel can assist customers in solving their own problems and can provide valuable feedback to you about strengths and weaknesses in the knowledgebase. As your product reaches the end of its lifecycle, other support channels can be phased out and customers directed exclusively to self-help for their support needs.
Integrate self-help with other channels
Most self-help solutions will offer ways to connect customers from self-help to another channel, or to direct customers to self-help, as appropriate. Some solutions will “push” an offer of chat or phone support if a person’s behavior on your website indicates that they may be getting nowhere with self-help. This is especially useful on websites where customers are making a purchase or a decision about a purchase, and customer frustration may cost you a sale. Other solutions will run automatic searches on your customers’ support submissions, and suggest possible self-help resources before the agent begins to handle the request. In addition to freeing up your agents to work on the issues that truly require their attention; this will please customers who can solve their own problems right away with the correct self-help resource, instead of waiting for a reply. This works well when your customers frequently experience issues after normal support hours, when they would otherwise have to wait until the next day for a response. The correct use of features like this will be specific to your customer base, your company’s individual support needs, and the mix of support channels that you already have in place.
Gear your knowledgebase to customers of all technical levels
One frequent source of customer aggravation is a mismatch in the level of technical detail that your customers need and the level of detail provided by support. Often, a support agent will take a customer through a set of basic steps or questions when beginning to troubleshoot a problem. These questions are necessary, but they can still annoy customers who think of themselves as technically savvy. In other cases, customers may become embarrassed when speaking to a technician, because they are less familiar with your software or with computers in general. A knowledgebase article is objective and eliminates any issues with how agent communication is perceived in this regard. More technically savvy customers can skip over the more detailed steps or screen captures that are essential for other customers’ self-help success. If these customers still end up needing to call support, a well-trained, experienced agent will be familiar with the available self-help resources and can pick up troubleshooting at the same place that your self-help resources left off, rather than having to take customers through a set of scripted steps.
When you choose Hudson Software as your support partner, you can have as much or as little control over your knowledgebase as you like. If you would prefer to create and manage your own self-help knowledge, we will host the site and give you the tools and assistance you need to get started. Or, put our experienced team to work for you. We will monitor your customer activity and create relevant, effective content based on our interactions with your customers. Contact us today for more information.