As experts predict retail e-commerce sales will reach over $4 trillion in 2023, brands must look at all facets of their online business and ensure they are optimized for growth—and that includes taking a look at their online Help Centers.
Help Centers are customer-facing support destinations on websites, also known as a FAQ page, that enables customers to self-serve frequently asked questions. Not only do Help Centers give customers access to easy, quick information themselves, the benefits of a well-oiled Help Center machine to the business itself are equally as important. If set up correctly, a Help Center can lower inbound requests and increase efficiency, all while keeping customers happy and improving satisfaction. Not to mention, a solid Help Center will improve overall website SEO.
Enabling brands to help their customers help themselves is a core fundamental of Gladly’s Customer Service experience. We are excited to share the following ten ways to get the most out of your Help Center just in time for this upcoming holiday season.
1. Author once, publish everywhere
First and foremost, having consistent answers across every touchpoint is vital to having an excellent customer experience as well as consistent brand tone of voice. Gladly’s Answer feature, which is a single knowledge base that allows you to publish standardized answers across all channels (both internal for agents to reference, and externally for your Help Center), gives you the ability to author questions once and publish everywhere. That means, what your customers see on your Help Center is the same information as they hear if they were calling in to speak with an Agent. In addition, Gladly’s Answers span across other self-service options on your website, such as chat (also known as “Sidekick”). Having consistent answers ensures all customers and agents see and use the same company information, regardless of channel.
2. Formatting your answers
The way you format answers to frequently asked questions is crucial for readability. Shorter, pithier answers are easier for customers to scan and digest over long, verbose answers that might cause key information to get lost. For example, the way that Eddie Bauer formats their answers provides information in a clear, simple way, making it easy to quickly skim and find what you need.
3. Leveraging keyword groups
Gladly’s Answers also gives you the ability to create keyword groupings. Keyword groupings enable customers (and even agents) to find answers more quickly and successfully, even when they aren’t using exact language. For example, if your company sells shoes, “sneakers” may be a more common term for some of your customers. In a case where you’re not leveraging keyword groupings, results on sneakers might not appear. Aside from pure synonyms, for questions on “returns”, you might also want to serve information on how to “exchange” with the hope of a customer purchasing something else in its place. Keyword groupings ensure that customers spend less time searching for what they are looking for and get access to what they need more quickly.
4. Hierarchy of Answers
It seems like a no-brainer to put the most important questions at the top of your Help Center page, but it’s also helpful to highlight your most important categories of questions and put those at the top of the page as well. Having strategic categories listed in order of importance, with corresponding questions listed in order of importance, help customers find what they need without having to search for it. In addition, in the case there are timely events that might impact your business—like a seasonal flash sale or an update on COVID-19 shipping policies—you’ll want to rearrange your categories to make sure they aren’t lost in the rest of the information or placed at the bottom of your Help Center. This ensures that things that are top-of-mind for customers are easily found. Hoka One One does a great job of prioritizing what matters most—they even go the extra mile by ensuring the top three categories are front-and-center.
5. Always include a Search bar
Speaking of search bars, when your Help Center is full of tons of information—from returns, to garment care and shipping policies—including a search bar is crucial for efficiency. Rather than scrolling through a long list of questions, customers can simply search for what they need. In addition, including double quotes (“”) around certain terms or phrases allows you to find content that includes all of those words (eg. “dress” “shrinking” “wash” “instructions”) or particular phrases (eg. “washing instructions”).
6. Account for multiple languages and locales
If you’re a global brand with a global audience, it’s important to have your Help Center tailored to different languages and locales unique to your customers. In the case of Allbirds, their business spans across the US, New Zealand, Japan as well as France. Each region has a Help Center with answers that are specific to their language and locale. This global approach means that customers don’t have to translate information to their native language and provides an overall better experience for them when looking for help.
7. Prioritize SEO
In some cases, SEO—which stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the process of increasing quality traffic to your website through organic search engine results—can be an afterthought when developing a content strategy, and in most cases, might not even be considered at all when developing content for your Help Center. Minor optimizations to your content can yield great improvements for SEO. For example, changing the URL structure to include answer titles could maximize search results. Rather than the URL structure ending with /5362059 you should change it to /what-is-your-return-policy. In addition, including some of your Answer content on your homepage can also help overall improve SEO.
Customers of ours have seen a +1,500% increase in Ranking Keywords since implementing these SEO improvements
8. Make sure your Help Center is easily accessible
Now that we’ve touched on a few strategies surrounding optimizing Help Center content, where you actually place your Help Center on your website is important as well. Aside from linking your Help Center in a clear and conspicuous manner such as your navigation or main menu, including another link above your contact information (like your business hours and phone number) will help prioritize self-service. In the case that a customer didn’t initially see your Help Center page, it’s one last effort to get them to help themselves before initiating an inbound call.
9. Optimize for Mobile
The US holiday shopping season on mobile is forecasted to be largest to date—preceding trends that weren’t expected until 4-6 years from now. Ensure the design and functionality of your Help Center on mobile will be just as great as it is on desktop to support the surges in customer traffic.
While we aren’t recommending a “mobile-first” strategy, it’s important to not forget about mobile when building or optimizing your Help Center from a content and aesthetic standpoint.
10. Continuously monitor search performance
The last important piece of the puzzle is to test and retest your Help Center’s search performance. Periodically reviewing your search performance reports will help you find opportunities to improve your Help Center—such as adding missing Answers or Keywords for top search phrases. Gladly robust reporting opportunities surrounding Answers, enabling brands and companies to continuously optimize their Help Center performance.
In conclusion, having a strong and well-thought out Help Center will help customers find information themselves, keeping them happy and reducing inbound requests to your contact center. With Gladly, not only does the content that customers see in your Help Center power other self-service opportunities, like on chat, it also powers the same content that agents can reference when helping your customers on other channels. And the best part is, all of this comes out of the box with Gladly.