You’re probably “too busy” to use your own support website, but do take a quick look. Do you experience one or several common user frustrations?
Frustration #1: Too much fluff, not enough action
Support website users are not looking to read lovingly about how great support is, or how to use the website: they want to be able to quickly get answers, downloads, or updates on their cases. Working with test users we find that they do not read, they skim. Cut down on verbiage and focus on actions.
Frustration #2: Another world entirely (compared to the corporate site)
Too many support websites look antiquated compared to the main site, as updates and upgrades are lavished on the corporate site but don’t make it into the support site. If your site has not been updated in a year or more, it’s time…
Frustration #3: A big mess of systems cobbled together, badly
It is true that many support sites bring together multiple back-ends: the case tracking system, a community tool, a download mechanism, and more. But when the interfaces are wildly discordant it makes for a challenging user experience. At a minimum apply some consistent styling across the various properties.
Frustration #4: No content or cannot find content
Looks are nice but content is king. If there are only a handful of knowledge documents, the last one updated back in July, and a few meager threads in the community, the website will do nothing more than expose your poor treatment of online support users. You need to have a robust knowledge management program in place.
Frustration #5: Too much work
Some support websites require many, many clicks to accomplish the simplest tasks. Aim for all frequent tasks, especially searching the knowledge base, to be initiated right from the landing page.
Frustration #6: A barrier against cases
You’ve had that experience of wanting personalized help but not being able to find a phone number to call, or logging a case online only to be presented with irrelevant “useful information”. Don’t inflict that on your users. Self-service works best when personalized service is also available.
Frustration #7: Does not travel well
So the site looks beautiful on a big screen but many users will access it from their phone or tablet. Does it shrink into awkwardness or gracefully morphs into adaptive design? Take a look at your web analytics and check the percentage of users with mobile devices.
Do you schedule regular website audits? Please share in the comments.
And if you need help finding solutions to the frustrations you identified, we are here for you.