So your company just bought another one and you, the support website owner, have to figure out how to somehow meld the two support websites. What do you do?
- Confirm how the underlying tools (for the knowledge base, online forums, case tracking) will be merged. If the two sets of customers overlap, the tools should be merged for the convenience of the customers — but it may take time! If there is little overlap between the customer sets, you may be looking at two different set of tools for an indefinite amount of time.
- Establish how entitlements work today and in the future between the two companies. Much like tools, entitlements, including the definition of support portfolios, are often merged, eventually, if the customer bases overlap.
- Create a temporary “dispatch” landing page for support. Normally we strive for landing pages that present immediately usable KB documents and threads, company news, and descriptions of support contracts, but during the interim it may be impossible for the landing page to do more than show the paths to the separate support portals. (Many times we see the acquiring company’s existing, rich landing page with a discrete option to navigate to the portal of the acquired company. Think about how the customers of the acquired company feel about that!)
- As tools and entitlement systems merge, restore a fully-functional landing page. Remember that, if your customers are frequent visitors of the support portal, they will bookmark the portal that interest them rather than navigate through the temporary dispatch landing page so the introduction of the merged portal will require a re-launch.
This and many other tips are discussed in the Great Support Websites workshop, scheduled to start on November 29th. Five convenient online sessions and you will be done by mid-December — with a custom critique of your site. For more information or to sign up, go here.
Interested in a complete redesign of your site? Contact me.