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By Gerry Carr

On 2015-01-14

Your simplest customer support change in 2015: next-gen interactive guides

As the new year lies out ahead of us for customer support professionals many of the same challenges remain - how can I reduce the resources needed to help users find what they need? The literature grows daily in the user-focused design, UX, customer experience and CRM fields on how best to reduce the friction between what a user wants to find and how the provider makes it available.

Is it fair to wonder whether in these discussions is the new generation of interactive guides being considered as part of the solution mix?

What’s new about the new generation?

Interactive guides – that’s to say guiding people through an online experience – is not new in itself. However, they have never properly found their place in the customer support mix because of the difficulty in implementing a guide. In the first generation it was essentially a layer on top of a page that had to be:

  • Designed and specified by the marketing or customer experience team
  • Handed to the web development team for prioritisation
  • Built into the application (JavaScript and CSS complexity added)
  • Tested
  • Changes pushed back to the web team.

All of these changes were then at risk of instant obsolesence when changes were made to the website.

The new generation of interactive guides like that from Nickelledcompletely remove the technical dependence to launch. A simple browser extension is all that is required and then the person creating the guide can point with pixel accuracy to the place they want to highlight and build a multi-stage or even multi-page guide for the user. Changes and updates are simple and instant and the interaction journey of the user can be tracked.

Take a look at this example on creating an article on Wikipedia.

Sounds great; but what impact can you expect to see in your business?

The impact of next-generation interactive guides

Reduction of incoming support requests (especially the repetitive ones)

If users again and again ask the same question, to the point where your support team have cut and paste answers, then this is a key sign that an interactive guide can help. Very often your team are simply walking the user through the website and this is an expensive and wasteful process. An interactive guide puts this information exactly where users need to see it, at their own pace and as a natural part of the process.

More users helping themselves

If you find some users struggle to do some fairly standard activity and your support team spend a lot of time walking them through it either online or on a call then this is a classic indicator that an interactive guide might help. Think perhaps of listing a product for sale, or the process of adding a hotel to a travel site. The impact of introducing a guide should be to see many more successful visits with very much fewer expensive interactions.

Happier customers and users

No-one wants to spend their time on a support call for a routine process or, even worse, abandoning the transaction altogether. Let’s be clear though, 1-1 interactions are still very valuable, but so much better when they are adding additional rather than base value. This is why we see interactive guides used most successfully as one part of a multi-channel approach and when used right it should make the personal interaction the most valuable part of the relationship. The result is happier customers and a better online reputation.

Rapid on-boarding of new users

The better a user understands your product and service then the more they will use it and the less they will call with entry-level questions. Of course they will make contact but the quality of the conversation will move from frustration at being unable to start with a new service to richer conversations about how to get more value from a product or service.

How to get started

Next-gen guides are so easy to build that you can have your first sample guide available in minutes. It requires no impact on your existing site as the guided version is hosted on Nickelled so you can easily build and demonstrate a version internally with zero permissions required. After that the Nickelled team will happily provide advice and guidance on the best way to implement, test and manage the guides for the users you need to provide support for. Make it simple for everyone.

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