Summer is right around the corner for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere (and outside of San Francisco)—which means that it’s time to get in shape. And I’m not just talking about getting ready for the beach. It’s also a great time of year for your support team to address and show off the health of your Help Center. Why? Because throughout the course of the year, it’s easy to get busy and neglect your self-service offering. You’ve got articles, people are searching for them. Great. Out of sight, out of mind.
Chances are, however, your Help Center could be working—or working out—harder for you. Here are three exercises to optimize your Help Center for better performance and better outcomes. To demonstrate, we’ll look no further than Melissa Wilder and the support team at Lumo BodyTech. Melissa and her team spent one hour per week over a two-month period doing these exercises in Zendesk and Swiftype. After just two months, Lumo Bodytech has already seen up to a 50 percent decrease in overall weekly inbound ticket volume.
Exercise 1: Focus on NO RESULTS
If your Help Center emphasizes searching for content, the first thing to do is to look for searches that are returning no results. If customers are searching for content that you know you’ve written about, but still submit tickets, then something’s wrong. Perhaps they’re using terms you didn’t expect them to. For example, Lumo Bodytech customers were searching for the term “calibrate” without luck, but Melissa knew that she had articles addressing how to “align” products, which amounted to the same thing. To resolve this, she easily created a synonym set for: calibrate, align, aligning, and alignment.
Alternately, you may uncover that customers are searching for content that you haven’t written about, maybe as a result of a new product release or a marketing campaign, and you’ve identified a gap. In that case, consider publishing a new article to address the search topic.
Exercise 2: Convert LESS
Now that you have a good grip on how your search terms are performing, take a look at searches that lead customers to submit tickets. It’s important to examine these searches to determine why the articles returned weren’t useful. Review the order of the search results and re-inspect the body content of the top articles to see if they’re missing the mark, are incomplete, or out of date. You may also want to rearrange the order of search results for specific queries (where you can see, for example, that your users are clicking on the fourth result instead of the first three returned), or to remove results for queries when they don’t make sense. Your goal is to see conversions for specific searches decrease over time.
Exercise 3: Hit the WEIGHTS
As the author of your content, you know how you’ve structured your posts better than anyone else. So take control of the macro relevance of your search results. For example, if you want to surface content based on the best title match, make that adjustment. Or if the body text is more important than the title but less important than any tags you’ve associated with an article, make those adjustments. You can train your Help Center to search articles in targeted spots to return the best results.
Take a break—you’ve earned it
You know how every beach body advertisement inspires a fantasy of your future, best self? When you put the work in, you see results. These days, Lumo BodyTech’s Help Center is looking good—and so are their ticket numbers. On average, for every 6300 Help Center views each month, only 181 result in a ticket.
“Swiftype and Help Center have been amazing at driving self-service and deflecting tickets that would otherwise come into our inbox,” Melissa said. “For example, we found that our customers use different synonyms when they’re getting set up with our product. We were able to create synonym sets for these words and even pin our user manual to the top of every search so that this is the first thing our users see. It’s completely transformed our user experience and, now that we’ve seen a 50 percent reduction in new tickets, our team is able to focus on answering the tougher questions and our customer satisfaction rating has improved to 95 percent, the highest it’s ever been.”
When your Help Center is working its hardest for you, you’ll have more time for other support projects or to take some time off and enjoy your summer.
Swiftype helps you deliver powerful and relevant searches, and it’s only a coincidence that the author of today’s guest post, Eric Martin, used to volunteer as a real fitness instructor before shifting his attention to Help Centers. You can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary “Help Center fitness assessment.”