Text heavy or user friendly? – Ensuring the right balance for self-serve resources

June 12, 2020

Companies are constantly looking for new ways to improve the customer experience and enhance their customer service.

And, as we consider the increasing influence of digitalisation in customer support, self-service is an area of particular interest for many businesses and industry experts.

According to research, around 6 out of every 10 customers who speak to an agent will have already been online to try and self-serve. The fact that they have tried to resolve the issue themselves and still end up calling to speak to an agent is a clear indicator that they aren’t getting the help they need.

But why is this the case? A significant amount of the self-service material that businesses make accessible on their websites isn’t user friendly and doesn’t serve its purpose. This could be for a number of reasons – it might not offer information on topics that are of interest to customers, the layout could make the instructions or steps difficult to follow, or it might use terminology that customers aren’t familiar with.

Making self-service resources effective, appealing, and engaging can streamline the customer experience. Not only can they filter out calls and prevent them from ever reaching the contact centre, but they can also help new agents to get up to speed quickly through how-to guides and provide a consistent level of service.

What approach should companies be taking to self-serve materials?

When it comes to self-service, companies should focus on what customers need. So, if a customer has little technical know-how, the content needs to guide them through the steps to be followed in a way they understand.

Technical steps may need to be provided by a technician who has a comprehensive understanding of the process. However, technicians tend to use jargon that users may not be familiar with. An author that is familiar with the customer journey and can view the information through the eyes of the user should, therefore, review technical content and adapt it accordingly.

The most useful self-service content is a combination of text and graphics. It’s important that this isn’t text-heavy, presented in detailed paragraphs or bullet-pointed lists. Instead, it should direct the customer to the solution they need in a step-by-step manner, with graphics or images to accompany each step.

Video content is a somewhat debatable topic. While many see video as a great way to deliver how-to guidance, this may not necessarily be the case. It can be helpful in showing users how to resolve their issue but, if it is more than a minute or two long, users will quickly lose the thread and need to stop and start it frequently to follow the steps. Clear, plain written steps can be readily referred to at the customer’s own pace.

Finally, once easy-to-follow, user-friendly self-service content has been created, it’s vital that it’s kept up to date. Software is constantly changing, meaning that if your content isn’t current it can be incredibly confusing for users, defeating the object of it being there in the first place.

Self-service resources can play a key role in improving the customer experience. However, for these to be effective they must be clear, concise, and produced with the user’s needs in mind.

To find out more about how self-service can enhance your customer service model, please get in touch.

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