Sometimes B2B software users need product support beyond basic help documents. In this blog post, we discuss how incorporating user-generated content (UGC) can enrich your help center and boost customer satisfaction.
Whilst B2B software vendors do their best to maximize user experience and create easy workflows within their products, there are times when customers need a little extra help. Newly on-boarded customers, for example, or those ready to up level their use of the product can find themselves stuck and turning to your support documentation for help.
Typically, users are funneled to some static FAQ pages, or company-created ‘user guides’ that are never in-depth enough. When it takes too long to find an answer – or worse, when there simply isn’t an obvious answer to their issue – you’re unknowingly cooking up a recipe for frustration, which is a surefire way to have your customer questioning the business value of investing in your solution.
What happens when users can’t get the information they need in the format they need it?
It’s widely accepted that people consume and digest information in different ways. So it’s vitally important that you support your customers – your bread and butter, no less – by offering them how-to, help, and guidance information across a variety of different mediums and forms.
Whilst one person wants a detailed, step-by-step written instruction guide, the next needs to digest that same information by popping in their headphones and watching a short and engaging tutorial video. Some users want to dive into the details of the product documentation, while others would rather find out from peers how they are making a tool or service work best.
Remember that attention spans are limited, and our ability to focus is decreasing over time (ouch!). If your users can’t find what they need quickly, easily and in a format that makes it easy for them to digest, they’ll quickly move on – spelling disaster for user adoption.
So how can you get better?
Traditional FAQs don’t really cut it anymore. They are difficult to maintain, quickly outdated and often too generic to answer the question your customer is really struggling with.
The best self-service solutions today offer a rich variety of text, video, tutorials and user-generated content, such as questions, answers and discussions between peers actually using the product. They combine product documentation with featured content and file uploads, ensuring that there is always an easy way for their users to get the solutions they need.
The good news is that a community-powered help center which combines official company documents and guides with user-generated content makes it effortless for you to do this.
Top tip: Review which types of content your audience interacts best with and what they find most helpful, and provide more of those to take your knowledge base from strength-to-strength! Take a look at viewing and rating stats on tutorial videos versus detailed how-to posts, for example, and start providing more of what you know works.
But what about the content quality?
It’s often difficult to determine upfront which content pieces are most relevant. The reality is that relevance and helpfulness will evolve as your product does and as customer challenges or sticking points change. This is where user validation comes into play. The most powerful validation tool you have at your disposal with a community driven Help Center is the ability for users to mark answers as helpful, or verify that problems have been solved.
A smart help center uses this data to build cumulative insights over time, so it can filter and display the very best solutions for each individual’s specific challenge – making it easy for users to continue seamlessly working with your product.
Top tip: Make it really easy for your users to upvote or downvote content with a strategically placed ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ query that’s impossible for them to miss. The more users give feedback on the helpfulness of a topic, answer, or piece of content, the stronger your knowledge base becomes – so make it quick and simple.
There’s little need to be concerned about content quality when your community platform facilitates smart content ranking based on relevance in this way. This, combined with a simple yet clear moderation policy enables you to make use of user-generated content to significantly increase the amount of valuable, relevant content to support your customers.
Top tip: Organize your content based on use cases. Labeling and tagging in this way (and empowering your users to do the same) not only maximizes the quality of search results and gives a better user service experience for you customers, it also helps you build a structured knowledge base within your help center – and Google’s SEO bots just love that!