How to Design a Great Customer Help Centre
Set your business apart with a customer support page that does more than just tick a box.
March 5th, 2018
Historically, consumer-facing websites have been guilty of creating difficult-to-navigate contact pages, all designed to throttle inbound contact volumes. These pages make customers feel like they’re a nuisance – like the cash they spent wasn’t enough to earn the right to ask a question.
If you’re a growing business looking to differentiate yourself, that’s your opportunity. To set your business apart, create a customer help centre that does more than tick a box. Go out of your way to design something that truly helps customers get their answers easier and faster.
Below, we’re going to work through some key lessons we’ve learned by working closely with growing retailers. But for those looking to get straight to the point, our headlines from the best online help centres are to:
1. Make it painless – you don’t have to push customers to get in touch, but don’t stand in their way if they want to
2. Make it relevant – you have a lot of data about your customers’ orders and preferences, so use it to personalise their customer service journey
The first DO of a good support page is to make it easy to find. Don’t nest it so deep in your navigation menus that customers need to get out a map and compass. Minimally you’ll want it in the footer, and in the header too if you’re looking for brownie points:
Next it’s about clarity. Use simple language, and clear calls-to-action. And above all – don’t clutter. If your customer has specifically avoided the FAQ's section and is looking for a contact page, it’s because they want to talk to you. They want to ask their question directly. There’s nothing wrong with putting the most frequently asked questions alongside your contact channels, but make sure they’re just that – those most frequently asked.
Not all customers are the same – and studies have proven that channel preference differs by query type as well as demographic. It’s important you give customers a selection of customer service channels, so they can choose the avenue that makes most sense to them.
Contact page designs should account for that variety - and it's simple enough to achieve without too much custom development. Widgets like this one make it pretty plug and play, provided you've got your social media pages setup and the ability to insert snips of code onto your website.
Make sure you don’t neglect instant messaging. It’s important to provide more than just telephony and email - 28.9% of customers prefer to use online chat or messaging apps to interact with online retailers (37% for customers aged 18-34). This consumer preference for instant messaging is great news for modern customer service teams because web chat is the most cost-effective channel when it’s done well. (Check here to read about using those customer preferences to shift volumes into the right channels).
By taking it a step further and providing an indication of response times on each platform, you can also help them make a decision that matches the urgency of their question. The goal is to make it as painless as possible for customers to reach a resolution – giving full disclosure about your availability and responsiveness will help make sure they choose the right channel.
4. CUSTOMER EFFORT
It’s important to minimise customer effort on your contact page – providing a well-planned FAQ system is the ideal method to help customers find an answer quickly and easily. Presenting your audience with a wall of FAQs is intimidating, and will exacerbate any frustration they’re already feeling.
Instead, sort your knowledge base into logical groups and create a navigation system that leads customers to the question (and answer) they want.
The Eventbrite approach to its FAQ page design is a great example:
At the very least, provide a search box too. If they’re not sure where their query fits, they’ll still have a fighting chance of finding it:
Every time a customer places an order, your order management systems (OMS) and customer relationship management platforms (CRM) will collect a huge amount of data. You know an awful lot about this customer. So, when they’re on your help page, use what you know to predict their question, and provide the answer. For example, you could help them out by displaying links to their recent orders, or displaying FAQ sections for just the products they own:
With GDPR coming into effect, you won’t be able to leverage cookie data as effectively, so don’t be afraid to ask customers to sign in so that you can offer them a better experience.
On the whole, creating a support centre and optimising those pages is about streamlining. Make it effortless for customers to get a fast, accurate answer to their specific question. The best support pages focus on answering questions and providing a great customer experience, rather than deflecting volume.