6 tips for building a thriving Help Centre

Published August 22, 2013
Last modified August 22, 2013

Help centre tips
Customers want to help themselves. They are more technically savvy than ever and have come to prefer the DIY approach to solving their issues and answering their own questions. In a recent survey, 67% of respondents said they prefer self-service to speaking with a representative. And a whopping 91% said they would use a company's online knowledge base to meet their customer service needs.

The goal of this paper is simple: we want to help you build an all-in-one knowledge base, community, and customer portal. All of which can be accomplished with Help Centre.

Why you need a Help Centre now!

  • Increase customer satisfaction by providing better service and meeting the needs of customers who prefer self-service
  • Reduce costs and increase efficiency by eliminating repetitive costs so agents can focus on more strategic tasks
  • Grow your business community and build deeper connections between your company and customers

1. Planning: Start with goals

Help centre goals
Whether you are just starting to think about launching a Help Centre or simply improving what you have, the first and most vital step is to define what it is you hope to achieve. Is your purpose to reduce the number of support tickets submitted to your staff? Or is it simply to foster relationships and engagements amongst your customers and employees? These are some ideas to think about, but the important thing is to identify the right goals for your business and work to get consensus up front amongst key stakeholders.

Learn more:

Information to include in your knowledge base
Six questions to ask before setting up your community

2. Measure for improvement

Help centre measure

It is important to begin measuring the performance of your Help Centre from day one. Keeping track of things like:

  • Community analytics stats
  • Resolution times
  • Percentage of issues resolved by staff vs those solved via the Help Centre

will help you understand if your Help Centre is effective and which areas need to be improved.

It's also extremely important to track the kinds of content utilised by your customers. Knowing this will help you decide what content you need more of, such as specific topics or FAQs.

Learn more:

How to calculate (and maximise) the value of your self-service channels

3. Mobile is not an "option"

Help centre mobile
It is important to provide a seamless experience so your customers have the same level of service, whether they're visiting your Help Centre on a laptop, tablet or phone.

As noted by the Zendesk Benchmark, the rise of the mobile consumer is clear. Everyone has heard about the consumer shift to mobile with the rise of smartphones and tablets; these trends are apparent in consumer preferences for engaging with brands through forums and help centres.

Learn more:

Using the mobile layout

4. Employee participation and moderation

Help centre employees

Self-service doesn't mean setting up a site and not getting involved. Your employees should take an active role. It shows that you are listening to and care about customer behaviour and feedback.

And by employees, we don't just mean your customer service team, we mean everyone:

  • Marketing: see how customers interact with each other and help foster those relationships. The Help Centre is also a great way to find and become familiar with your customer evangelists.
  • Product and support: help answer questions and respond to comments. These departments working together can take what they learn from the community and use it to speed up the feedback cycle. They can also use this opportunity to listen to ideas from customers and collect feedback.
  • Sales: being active in the Help Centre connects your sales, the front line of your business, with your customers. Also, the Help Centre gives excellent insight for an ongoing sales cycle.

Learn more:

Help Centre guide for agents and end-users

5. Focus on the user experience

Help centre employees
User experience is incredibly important. You might have done everything right in terms of getting people to your site, but if you don't provide a great experience, they won't stay long and won't return.

It is extremely important to provide easy navigation to the things that matter most. For example, Search is an important feature that your customers will be looking for. Make sure it's easy to find and use. Ask yourself: Can I provide and promote the things that matter most to my customers? Can I organise all my content in an effective way?

It's also important to create something visually appealing — to give customers a place where they will enjoy spending their time. Consider adding rich media options. Many customers have come to expect features like videos, webinars and images alongside text. Look for expertise on your web or design team for best practices, and test, test, test! Your Help Center is always a work in progress, so look at what works and what doesn't, and adjust accordingly.

One of the best ways to get customer feedback is to ask for it: Did they find what they were looking for? Do they have suggestions for improvement? A short survey can take you a long way towards creating an engaging user experience.

Learn more:

Resources for designing your Help Centre
Optimising your content for search
6. Put on your marketing hat!
Help centre marketing
What's the use of a Help Centre if no one is using it? Once you have selected your technology, set your goals, and built out your site, you need to drive users there. With this step, it is important to involve your marketing team, or at least to start thinking like a marketer. How are you going to invite and attract visitors? How are you going to promote the site or even particular aspects of the site? And, are there ways to leverage the community to help support other marketing programmes?

Learn more:

Driving traffic to your knowledge base and forums

What's next

With the right partner and the right advice, help centre set-up and maintenance are easier than they seem. Define your goals early so they can guide your implementation, and always keep the customer at the forefront as you make decisions. Once your help centre is set up, you can begin measuring success right away—success that will only increase as you continue to stay involved.

See some great Help Centres in action

Start using Help Centre today!