How we improved self-service for our customers
Last updated September 21, 2021
A common part of a growing company’s journey is beginning to build and sell multiple products, along with the original one you used to launch the business. As that happens, your relationship with customers will necessarily evolve and you may need to reconsider what customer-centricity looks like for your brand.
Zendesk has evolved from a single customer service product to a unified family of products focused on improving customer relationships. Our product family helps organizations understand their customers, improve communication, and offer support where and when it’s needed most.
Initially, as we grew our product offerings, we had online help centers for each of our products to make it easy for customers to help themselves. When it comes to our self service, we know that the best customer experiences are relevant and seamless.
Many times that means having multiple help centers set up for different products or brands, as we did. As more of our customers adopted multiple products, having separate help centers was actually creating more siloed experiences. Users had to manually move between help centers to find what they needed.
A year ago we kicked off an effort to figure out the best way to provide a unified, intuitive self-service experience for all our customers. Our customer support self-service team, headed by Melissa Burch, worked to better understand how our customers used our help desk resources and how we could work together to provide them an improved experience.
By improving our own customer service offerings, we aim to learn best practices we can pass along to our customers that enable them to do the same.
The goal: a simple, unified customer experience
Self-service is increasingly the first place customers go when they need help. Harvard Business Review’s data shows that 81% of customers try to take care of a problem themselves before reaching out to a representative.
To create a simpler self-service experience for our customers, we decided to bring all our help centers into one place, to ensure that our customers have a seamless experience when seeking information about any of our products.
To do that, we thought carefully about the customer experience, working out the paths customers take when seeking the answer to a question. Melissa’s team studied the help centers of other multi-product companies that we admire to gain ideas for what worked. And we brought together people from multiple departments here at Zendesk to work out what we needed to do to make it happen, and execute on the plan.
Getting aligned for a better experience
While one help center would provide a better, more unified experience for our customers, we wanted to ensure that finding product-specific help was still easy. That meant not only ensuring findability, but also that our help center has the look and feel our customers expect from our brand as a whole and with the individual products that they use.
We had already developed a consistent brand voice that we used across the help center and all other materials for the brand. We wanted to do the same thing visually for our self-service materials. Our designers developed a theme for the help center that makes it easy for our customers to navigate and search for information, and that allows each of our products to retain their unique look and feel, while feeling distinctly ‘Zendesk’.
Making the experience more consistent across products was one goal, but it was important to us that the design of the new—now much more extensive—help center was customer centric.
Knowledge is only as useful as it is findable, and we wanted to make it simple and seamless for users to get the help they need. We thought carefully about how people search for information when they have a product question, and what we could do to make their experience more valuable.
We benefited from a few advanced features:
A strong search function
One of the benefits of bringing our different help centers into one place is providing a single search across all product content. Customers with multiple products now have one place to turn to for any information about their Zendesk products, and our help center search uses an algorithm that quickly delivers them the most relevant information for their query. We also made it easier to filter search results by product with visual guides on the search results list that helped users see what product the content pertains to.
Once a customer visits the help center, we wanted it to be as easy as possible for them to find any information they need. We designed it so that content relevant to the information they look up shows up in the article, and the search box is always visible at the top of the page.
And since organization is key to an intuitive experience, we used flexible hierarchies to group our content into more granular browsing experiences. Linking related pieces of content together at multiple levels was key creating to an intuitive experience across our multi-product content.
Answer Bot in the Web Widget
Self-service is increasingly being leveraged to support customers in 1-1 support channels, and we wanted our updated help center to meet that customer expectation as well. Our customers can now get automated support in a conversational channel, with in-context answers for what they’re looking for and, when needed, when needed, escalate their issues to a human representative.
What’s coming for our self-service
Bringing our help centers together is just one step in our mission to create a more relevant and seamless self-service experience for our customers. And we’re not done finding ways to improve the experience we provide our customers. We have big ideas for using technology to provide more personalized experiences to help customers every step of the way.
Our hope in the future is to make sure that every piece of information a person finds in the help desk is relevant and useful to their particular needs. Our customer support team will keep working to make sure we always understand our customers’ preferences. And we’ll keep using that knowledge to create improved experiences for our customers, while also providing our customers the tools they need to do the same for theirs.