The Swiftype Blog / Category: Knowledge Base

5 Ways Your Company Can Improve Customer Experience

Retaining customers is hard

Getting customers to try your product is really hard. Retaining them as happy customers year after year might be even more difficult.

“Our customers are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service” – Jeff Bezos

When a customer uses your product, whether it’s an HR platform like Gusto, an internal messaging platform like Slack or a marketplace like Uber, they are going to have certain expectations about how it should look, work, and feel. When a customer lands on your product’s home page for the first time, the clock starts ticking for you to make your mark and retain them as a long-term customer.

Great customer experience leads to increased retention

A great framework for thinking about customer retention is customer experience. What do people think about when they hear your company’s name? Would they recommend your product to their friends? Optimizing the customer experience that your company provides will help you to improve retention and boost revenue. When thinking about providing a better customer experience, there are many different customer touch points you can work to improve. Here are 5 ways you can improve customer experience at your company.

1 – Simple customer onboarding

Drive new users to your core features

A new customer has just signed up for your product. Your goal is to quickly help them to realize the core value of your product so they will incorporate it into their workflow or daily life. According to CloudLock, there are 150,000+ unique apps used by their 10 million users at over 750 companies. With so many apps on the market, you only have a short window of time to prove your product’s value to your new customer.

In order to help your customer understand the key benefits of your app, you should have a simple onboarding flow. You should be very strategic with your onboarding flow and not walk through too many of your features as this may overwhelm a new user. Your onboarding flow should highlight your key features and encourage users to take actions that you know lead to retention. You can use a tool like WalkMe or Appcues to easily add in-app onboarding flows to your product.

Img via Appcues

Furthermore, you can send new customers emails or other notifications to nudge them towards taking specific actions. For example, a project management app might send you an email with instructions for creating your first project and inviting teammates to collaborate.

Don’t rely on your documentation to guide new users

It’s really important to remember that most of your customers are not going to read the documentation before they try your product. They’re just going to start using it and expect to learn how it works. By providing in-app onboarding and sending informational emails, you can add structure to your new user experience and boost your retention rate.

2 – Have a well-documented help center with advanced search technology

Customers prefer self-service

According to the HBR, 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. Customers want to be able to help themselves, but all too often, companies do not enable customers to find what they need on their own.

Companies like Asana, Twilio, SurveyMonkey and Lyft have invested in creating high-quality customer knowledge bases and then making them accessible with advanced search technology. At Swiftype, we work with these companies and others to provide search technology that integrates with their help center platforms and enables effective self-service customer support. 

Resolve support tickets before they happen

Some companies that use Swiftype have been able to drive down the number of support tickets they are receiving by making their support ticket description field searchable. By suggesting relevant help and documentation to their customers as they file support tickets, companies are able to resolve support tickets before they happen and reduce their overall support load.

Data-driven customer support

Furthermore, using search in your help center enables you to recognize trends in search data. These trends, such as frequently asked questions or questions that return no results, will help you to decide what new support content to create and can also inform your product roadmap.

For more on using search in your help center see:

3 – Have a scaleable system for answering customer questions

What about questions that customers can’t find the answer for in your help center? Whether they issue a support ticket, come in through live chat or send you a tweet, you want to provide consistent and timely answers to their questions.

Img via Front

Give your support team the tools they need to succeed

In order to scale your customer support operations, you need a help desk platform like Help Scout or Zendesk and then a reliable platform for aggregating customer questions from disparate channels like Salesforce Service Cloud or Front. This will help you get the most out of your customer support team by quickly assigning new questions to team members and making sure they don’t duplicate their work.

In general, customers aren’t used to quickly getting helpful answers to their questions. If your company can do this, it will be a huge plus to you customer experience efforts and will positively influence customer perception of your company.

4 – Iterate based on customer feedback (listen to your customers)

“Listen to what your users tell you, improve your product, and then listen again.” – Sam Altman

This is a pretty straightforward tip but one that gets easily overlooked or even dismissed. As you continue iterating on your product, you’ll want to take customer feedback into consideration. Every company knows they should do this; the hard part about listening to customer feedback is deciding how much it should actually influence your product roadmap.

Customer feedback and your product roadmap

When it comes to building new features based on customer feedback, take a look at this post by YC Partner Geoff Ralston: http://blog.geoffralston.com/startup-priorities.

His post focuses on helping resource-constrained startups figure out what to build next, but I think it applies to software companies more widely as it’s very common to be constrained when it comes to developer resources.

Balancing feedback with product vision

Although customer feedback is a valuable tool for shaping product vision, it’s also important to draw some inspiration from other sources. Steve Jobs is well known for saying, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” (Source). This makes sense considering he conceived of the iPod which most Apple customers at that time probably would not have thought of, let alone have considered technically possible. So, it’s important to listen to customers but don’t let their feedback steer you away from testing out some big innovations.

As for collecting customer feedback, you should have a system in place for doing so. More on this in tip #5.

5 – Measure customer happiness (so you can keep improving)

Simply put, it’s important to measure customer happiness so you can work to improve it. We all know that it can be difficult to get customers to answer surveys, so you should aim to measure customer happiness in a simple and concise manner.

Easily measure customer happiness and loyalty with Net Promoter Score

One popular way to measure customer happiness is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a popular measurement because it’s a single question and research has shown that strong NPS ratings correlates with revenue growth (Source).

Img via Zapier

How NPS works

If you’re unfamiliar with NPS, it is calculated based on the responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is based on a 0 to 10 scale.

Customers who respond with a 9 or 10 are called Promoters and you can expect them to be loyal customers. Customers who respond with a score of 0 to 6 are considered Detractors, and those who respond with a 7 or 8 are labeled as Passives.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. So, if 40% of respondents were Promoters and 15% were Detractors, your company’s NPS is 25.

Other NPS notes:

  • Because many companies measure their NPS score, you can benchmark your score against your industry to get a feel for how you’re doing.
  • As part of your NPS survey, it’s a good idea to ask a follow up question like, “Can you share why you rated us a 6?”
  • Tools for measuring NPS: SurveyMonkey, Promoter.io, Wootric

Getting started with Swiftype

After implementing Swiftype, SurveyMonkey noticed that over 90% of people that visit their help center find the information they’re looking for without contacting a support specialist.

Swiftype Customer Support Search enables companies to quickly help their customers find what they’re looking for. After implementing Swiftype, SurveyMonkey noticed that over 90% of people that visit their help center find the information they’re looking for without contacting a support specialist.

Interested in implementing Swiftype for your help center. You can sign up for a free trial here or learn more on our website here.

Do you use Zendesk for customer service and support tickets? Check out Swiftype for Zendesk.

Want to improve your customer support experience? Think search.

Key takeaways:

  • Customer support really, really matters
  • Customers want to help themselves
  • Search can help you drive down support ticket volume
  • Search analytics help you identify gaps in your documentation
  • Customize search results through a drag-and-drop interface

Great customer support creates loyal (and profitable) customers

We all know that customer support is incredibly important. In case you’re not fully convinced, consider these stats:

  • 3 in 5 Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience (Source: American Express)
  • News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs)

Furthermore, it’s much easier to do business with existing customers than new ones. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.

So we know that keeping our customers happy is important but how should we support them? According to the HBR, 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. Customers want to be able to help themselves, but all too often, companies do not enable customers to find what they need on their own.

Customer support search

At Swiftype, we handle a wide variety of search use cases including customer support. Swiftype Customer Support Search helps companies to get the most out of their support documentation through advanced search technology.

Swiftype powers customer support search for Twilio, Lyft, SurveyMonkey, Asana, AppDynamics, Segment, PagerDuty and many others. After implementing Swiftype, support specialists from these companies spend less time answering support tickets and more time creating new documentation.

How Swiftype decreases support ticket volume

Swiftype actually helps you resolve support tickets before they happen by suggesting relevant help and documentation as your customers file support tickets. Customers are looking for immediate answers, so they’re happy to quickly find the answer they’re looking for.

Swiftype suggesting documentation

If your customer doesn’t think that the suggested documentation answers their question, they will go ahead and submit their support ticket. Over time, you will recognize trends in the support tickets that are submitted and be able to improve your documentation. As your documentation improves, customers will be able to self-service more and more.

Some of Swiftype’s other powerful features:

  • Search analytics
  • Drag-and-drop results ranking
  • Custom weighting
Swiftype Search Admin Dashboard

Data-driven customer support through search analytics

One of Swiftype’s most helpful features is search analytics. With search analytics, companies can see:

  • Overall search volume
  • Words and phrases that their customers search for most frequently
  • Queries that are returning no results

After seeing this data, companies can create content to directly address their customers’ questions that are going unanswered.

For example, Twilio noticed lots of customers were searching about session initiation protocols (SIP), but had never had time to develop in-depth content about that subject. After seeing the data, they developed an FAQ for SIP questions, and they saw the support tickets about them fall significantly.

Furthermore, Swiftype makes it really easy for companies to access their analytics by sending a weekly email with key metrics.

Drag-and-drop results ranking

Swiftype enables companies to customize search results on a query-by-query basis through a drag-and-drop results ranking tool. Whether they want to re-rank content based on trends they see in the search data or pin a new piece of content to the top of the search results, companies have complete control over their help center’s search experience.

Drag-and-drop results ranking

Custom weighting

Swiftype gives you granular control even if you’re not technical by enabling you to adjust the weights placed on each of the fields in your indexed data. With a simple slider, you can adjust the weight placed on a field and then immediately test the impact that your change has on your search engine. If you don’t like the effects of your change, you can restore the default setting with the click of a button.

Custom weighting dashboard

Getting started with Swiftype

Swiftype Customer Support Search enables companies to quickly help their customers find what they’re looking for. After implementing Swiftype, SurveyMonkey noticed that over 90% of people that visit their help center find the information they’re looking for without contacting a support specialist.

Interested in implementing Swiftype for your help center. You can sign up for a free trial here.

Want more information? Learn how about “How Asana, Twilio, SurveyMonkey and Lyft optimized their customer support centers”.

Do you use Zendesk for customer service and support tickets? Check out Swiftype for Zendesk.

Meet Zhen Liu: Got Questions? We have Instant Answers!

HowCanIHelp

We live in a world where the solution to nearly any problem can be solved instantly. When you need the answer to a question, there’s Google, or Siri. If your refrigerator is empty at dinnertime, you have Postmates or Munchery to the rescue. So when you need help for a product you purchased or service you subscribe to, waiting is not an option. As a Customer Success Manager at Swiftype, I help our clients build upon the success of their own customer service departments through the business of instant answers.

Many of Swiftype’s customers use our search software for their Knowledge Base. Knowledge Bases can vary from a FAQ or Help section provided for end consumers as a first stop in the customer support chain, to internal documentation for developers using a product. No matter what the final application looks like, help centers are becoming an integrated part of the product experience today.

Customers are searching now more than ever
Thanks to Google, we’ve all been trained to search. Customers and employees alike expect a self-help channel to service themselves prior to getting on the phone for support. In fact a Forrester survey shows that for the first time in the survey’s history, customers of all ages are using the FAQ pages on a company’s website more often than speaking with an agent on the phone.

This change in user behavior has generated a significant need for our customers to have not only a robust Knowledge Base that they themselves can navigate and find answers within quickly, but the ability for their end customers to quickly search those databases and find answers to their questions instantly.

The need for instant answers is not confined to one industry or solution. Speed and accuracy are critical in a search solution within knowledge bases across the board.

Providing Instant Answers Three Ways
Customer Support teams are using Swiftype as a means to aggregate content in one location. A customer of ours has content that sits in multiple subdomains of their site for developers, designers, their sales team, within their blog, training center and help center. As each individual portal grew, it became increasingly difficult to quickly find the information you were looking for. They’ve successfully leveraged Swiftype to search across all content types, creating a one-stop locale for all internal users when they are unsure of where to locate content.

Another way Swiftype has been implemented by customers internally is to better support call center teams. We are the internal search engine for a global enterprise organization with many call center teams who need to be able to answer questions for their end customers quickly and accurately. If decreasing call time and increasing customer satisfaction are critical metrics for your team, consider ways to make your employees more successful with a customizable search solution.

Lastly, we’ve even been leveraged for instant answers before your customer is even actively searching. Swiftype results are shown to users in a right-hand drawer that slides in when users are in their dashboard for our customer’s product, suggesting answers that are related to the page they are on.

Maintaining a best-in class customer support system is critical to businesses. Knowledge bases are a key component to providing an excellent experience. Gone are the days where your customer is willing to wait 10 minutes on hold with a customer service representative, and another 20 minutes to explain their issue, and hopefully receive a solution. The faster you can provide an answer to your customer, the happier and more satisfied they leave.  And I’m in the business of making happy customers.

Three Companies With Awesome Knowledge Base Search

A 2016 report by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) shows an enormous trend in users wanting self-service online support for product issues over traditional support channels such as phone, email, social media, or community support. Providing an awesome user experience for self-help resources such as knowledge base articles, videos, blogs, training materials, and community forums is critical to keeping users happy. So how can companies effectively keep users from filling out a support ticket without giving off the impression that they don’t want to talk to them? Enter the case deflection strategy.

Implementing case deflection is a growing trend amongst companies that offer a self-service support experience. The goal is to provide the user with the answers they are looking for before they decide to file a time-consuming support ticket. In this pursuit, the search box is a critical component. If implemented correctly, great search will ensure that users have a much easier time finding the answers they need. Here are 3 examples of companies that deliver a great knowledge base search experience.

HubSpot AcademyHubSpot’s search box is prominent and prompts users to search with the phrase “Search our docs and learning resources” . The autocomplete experience is fast and includes many types of content (quick answers, sales guides and video trainings to name a few). The results page also does a nice job of giving users the chance to filter to all content types and this page also tells users when the content was last updated.

ChartboostChartboost’s knowledge base search experience is front and center at the top of the page. Their search bar uses has a creative animation showing example questions to ask. When the user does begin their search, their autocomplete experience begins after the third character. Finally, their results are delivered fast.

SurveyMonkeySurveyMonkey’s help center allows you to browse by topic or type in your query with a search bar. When using the search bar, a drop down menu pops up and you can click on links or the list of topics to be redirected to article topics and summaries. The footer also includes a choice of multiple languages to help in the search.

Across all three examples, search is prominent, friendly, and most importantly, effective, making it easy for users to find the content they need. To see more examples of companies with great search across their help centers, check out our case studies.

New Help Center Search Implementation Checklist

Adding powerful search to your company knowledge base or help center is an essential step toward helping users resolve issues without filing tickets, but the process of implementation can often be a daunting first step. To make this process easier, we added a new resource to our website for customers looking to improve search on their help center or knowledge base.

15 Steps to Help Center Search Implementation

Last week, we added a new resource to our website for customers looking to improve search on their help center or knowledge base. Written with a non-technical audience in mind, 15 Steps to Help Center Search Implementation introduces readers to the most important questions that companies should familiarize themselves with before getting started, including:

  • What are the pros and cons of building search internally?
  • How long will implementing search take?
  • What team members are required to implement new search?
  • How can I evaluate the performance of a new search experience?
  • What ongoing work is required after implementing search?

With a step-by-step checklist that clearly lays out each phase of implementation, this resource will be an invaluable guide. Implementation is often an intimidating prospect with any new software, but with this guide in hand, your team will start with a much clearer sense of what needs to be accomplished and what team members will be involved.

To access the checklist, follow the download link below. To receive a personal demo of what Swiftype can do for your knowledge base or help center, contact us today.

New: Knowledge Base Guide to Search Analytics

While personal customer support remains an essential ingredient for attracting, retaining, and creating loyal customers, this level of individualized attention is expensive to support difficult to scale as your company grows. In response to this challenge, creating a comprehensive user-facing knowledge base that enables customers to resolve support issues without contacting your team can save companies time and money while also improving the overall user experience.

Read Swiftype's new knowledge base guide to search analytics.

Once in place, any steps that a customer support team can take to optimize this knowledge base and create a more efficient user experience can substantially decrease inbound support volume. In this pursuit, creating a centralized search experience that allows support center visitors to quickly and easily find the content they are looking for is vitally important.

Still, while the importance of search across knowledge bases is fairly self-explanatory, customer support teams often overlook the valuable insights available from user search behavior—insights which include:

  • What are the most pressing issues my customers are facing?
  • What issues are users unable to resolve on their own?
  • What new support content needs to be created?
  • How relevant are the results for users who search across my knowledge base?

To give support teams a clearer sense of precisely what information they should be looking for from their search analytics and to provide actionable recommendations about how they might improve their on site search, Swiftype has created the Knowledge Base Guide to Site Search Analytics.

To access this guide and learn how customer support teams can leverage knowledge base search analytics, follow the download link below.

Swiftype for Zendesk

Zendesk_logo_RGB

As we’ve written before, search is a critical tool for self-service support centers. Users who enter the documentation or support section of a website generally have a clearly defined issue in mind, and a powerful search bar provides these users with a clear path to the content they are looking for.

To help more support centers bring great search to their users, Swiftype is excited to announce our integration with Zendesk Help Centers, making it easy for knowledge bases built with Zendesk to deliver the search experience that customers expect. With Swiftype powering search on your Zendesk Help Center, site owners have the power to customize results for individual queries, ensuring that users always find the most helpful content. Furthermore, Swiftype provides detailed analytics on what your users are searching for, providing key insight into user issues and identifying content gaps by populating a list of top queries that return no results.

With these tools and more, site owners can redefine their Help Center user experience by providing powerful and customizable search without the need to consult engineering. Get started by creating account today.

Swiftype for Desk.com

desk_logo
Swiftype search is an invaluable tool for self-service support centers. That’s why we’re excited today to announce our integration with Desk.com, making it easy for support centers built on Desk.com to bring powerful search to their users. With Swiftype powering your Desk.com support center search engine, site owners get

  • Detailed analytics. See what users are searching for most to identify common user issues, and see what queries are returning no results to identify gaps in your knowledge base. From there, site owners can create content to address these questions, or use Swiftype’s custom result ranking tool to add in search results for any query they want.
  • Custom result ranking. Drag and drop to rearrange search results for individual queries through Swiftype’s user friendly dashboard, add in results that don’t appear by default, or eliminate individual results entirely. With this power, site owners can tightly customize search results for high volume queries, quickly guiding users to the right support content.
  • Complete front end customization. Once Swiftype is installed, site owners can customize the look and feel of their search bar, autocomplete menu, and search results page to match the aesthetic of their help centers. For even more control, it’s possible to work with Swiftype meta tags to specify exactly what information our web crawler indexes as well as add custom fields and data.

And much more. For more information about Swiftype for Desk.com, check out our listing on the Desk.com app hub, or, for more information about Swiftype for self-service support centers and knowledge bases, check out our case studies.

Why Smart Support Requires Smart Search

When a user has a specific question in mind, the most natural avenue for them to discover the help they need is through a search on your help center. But if search doesn’t yield what they’re looking for, it can often be more frustrating than helpful. Below are some of the major reasons why search should be a critical piece of your support strategy.

Knowledge base visitors are drawn to search. Whereas ecommerce sites field more users who are on the site to browse and may use navigation elements to explore a site, knowledge base visitors come with a question in mind and want answers quickly. Search is the most logical way for them to find these answers, and a prominent search bar will quickly provide avenue for resolving their questions.Shopify help

Strong search translates to significant case deflection. Knowledge bases are unique site type because the information they provide only exists in one place – that knowledge base. While other sites worry about weak search increasing their bounce rate and translating to lost customers, weak search on a knowledge base makes users do one of two things: (i) file a support ticket because they can’t find the answer to their question, or (ii) give up on their question and leave the site frustrated. If your knowledge base has a strong search engine that provides relevant results and fast autocomplete suggestions, users will find their answers quicker and use your documentation to solve their problems instead of filing a support ticket.

Search analytics allow unparalleled insight on user problems. Search data provides a unique opportunity to listen directly to what users want from your site, and  knowledge base managers can look to site search analytics for a number of actionable data sets, including top queries, top queries that returned no results, and top autocomplete conversions. By looking at what users are searching for most (especially the queries that return no results), your support team can focus on creating content that will answer these questions.
See what users are searching for most to identify recurring issues.

These analytics can inform search result customization. A strong search solution should allow you to customize search results for a given query and add in results for queries that return no results. This will ensure that users never hit dead ends on your support page and that the most relevant articles populate at the top of your search results. For example, SurveyMonkey customizes results for all of their most important queries:

Because site visitors expect great search, knowledge bases need to provide a robust search experience to quickly help users find answers. If support teams invest in improving their search experience, both site visitors and site owners will be happier in the long run.

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