How to Make Your Support Tool Look and Feel Sexy on Your Website

By Ariel Harkham, Business Development Director at WalkMe

Whether it is to purchase the latest shoes at the lowest price or manage projects with far better efficiency, the internet has rewarded us with powerful tools for getting things done. It has become the place to go to rely on ultimate task management.  However, often enough, when we do attempt to get things done efficiently, we get stuck, confused, or quite simply get lost due to inefficient web design in task management software. So, then what’s the whole point of managing tasks through these online services if we can’t even manage our way through the service’s site in the first place?  The solution to this problem relies on support tools, which promote self-tasking.  Self-tasking tools, which serve as an effective support solution, have been in effect for quite some time, and though they are helpful, many people prefer to flip their browser to Google, YouTube, or even lengthy help files to seek assistance.  The frequency and popularity of this search engine alternative begs the question: why go elsewhere when the support is right there in front of the user?

To answer this important question we will first need to scope out the problem. There have been four main areas of supporting the end-user to self-tasking completion on a given website: Help Desk, User Manuals, Video Tutorials, and Live Chat.

User Manuals

For most websites, a word-like document, accessible by a series of links on their “help” or “support” pages, user manuals are the main support feature for web-platform users.

Presentation – plain, hidden, and text-heavy

Help Desk

This is accessed by one of two ways: by phone number, which is most often hidden from the users’ view; or a blanket email page for users to map out the problem and wait for a response at the publisher’s discretion.

Presentation – generic, uniform, no engagement potential whatsoever

Live Chat

This solution generally sits in the corner of the page, often activating itself unannounced for conversion purposes and is usually outsourced technology, which is unable to provide the real-time support advertised.

Presentation – out of place, high-harassment potential and impersonal

Video Tutorials

This service usually is planted in the help page and is often antiquated as the site goes through a number of revisions before a new video is.

Presentation – static, overdone and out of place

The question remains as to why more useful support platforms enjoy such low usage and are more likely to be discarded for the ubiquitous search engine.  The answers vary; however, these more static support options frequently lack efficacy and produce overall site-confusion due to the constant re-orientation of emoving back and forth through the guide and the actual interface.

The elephant in the room: the layout and design of these inefficient support options.

For many of these tools today, they will work, but they are often placed away from the user’s eye-view, such as the corner of a page, or the “attic” of a site.  When presented, they hardly look attractive; they are stolid, static, generic and uninviting to the user.

Changing this is easy – Making your support tool sexy is not as hard as you would imagine.

Don’t Hesitate to Stand Out

Make the tool visible and available and when accessed make it prominent: Tip balloons are a good example. The tip-balloon actually sits right in front of the user, interacting with the element that is challenging for the user, right there in front of them, prominent, bold and accessible.

Provide Customization Flexibility for the Website Owner

Give the publisher the ability to play around with the design features of a support tool.  After all, the website owner is fully aware of their users’ needs and wants.  Let them use and manipulate color schemes, fonts, and of course size and shape to match their site or app identity.  This way, the user sees a tool that’s not only pleasant to the eye but organic-looking to the sites overall aesthetic.  Color and shape add to the inviting aspects of the platform, enticing the user to remain on the page and take advantage of these tools that they see have paid attention to the details.

Don’t Badger Your Users

No one wants to access help only find themselves trying to endlessly exit out of it after the fact. A help tool that badgers the user will only upset them and guide them into never relying on the tool again.  Part of being sexy is giving the functionality of its tool a shy nature. If the user has had enough, the tool should be able to know it, leaving the user wanting to come back for more.

Push the Boundary of Intelligent Interaction

Personalize the user experience of your customers to provide them with your most important elements they need to see based on their needs and their context. Do you need to show your users how purchase a certain product from a specific area on your website only for your logged in users?  Make that simple for them by adapting your system to be intelligent enough to act based on the user’s context.  Not only are you just pushing the level of technological intelligence based on user behavior and context, more than that, you are creating holistic customer experience – a simple yet personalized experience that provides the user only the elements they need to see, based on the users’ context, pushing the limit of tech intelligence reliant on user behavior.

is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe