Wading through product documentation can be intimidating and downright boring, so users will often ask questions of your support team so they don’t have to deal with the mounds of information which may or may not solve their problem. However, you can turn that trend around by utilizing a contextual help system that makes finding answers easier. Below, we provide six simple ways that you can help your users help themselves by accessing contextual help.
1. Don’t Tell Your Users, Show Them
Rather than replying to user support tickets with detailed answers, send them a direct link to the appropriate page in your product help system where they can find detailed, straightforward and get this – helpful – answers to their questions. It’s also important to make sure that the page you send them to features related content so that they can continue exploring, which bring us to…
Each page in your contextual help system should link out to another page that has related articles, tutorials, videos, etc. This ensures that users continue to click through your product help as they search for and learn about particular features, helping them to discover more information on the things they want to know about.
3. Provide In-Product Help
Picture this: one of your product users completely lost trying to figure out what a feature in your software does. Or maybe they don’t know how to populate a field. Perhaps they just want to ensure they did something right..
In-product help literally gives these users instant answers to their questions without leaving the current page. No need for support agents either. When a user hovers over the puzzling feature, a box simply pops up with an instant informative answer. In-product help gives seriously fast access to information on product features.
A great benefit of contextual help systems is that you can leverage social features such as feedback, comments, and discussion between users. By promoting customer engagement through a commenting system, you can figure out what pages in your product documentation are the most and least helpful, as well as how they’re using your product.
5. The Best Way to Learn is to Teach
Aside from you, who else knows the most about how your product works? The users, of course. And providing them with the ability to edit and create help content themselves will make them more invested in your product documentation because they are directly involved in steering its creation. Involving others in content creation improves the quality of your product documentation while also encouraging your users to share what they know, thereby learning more about your product themselves.
6. Use Analytics to drive further interaction
Make sure that you feature top articles, most edited pages, new comments, etc. on your product support site. These metrics are not only useful to users while they browse through your help system, they also show your active users that their contributions are meaningful in the greater scheme of your product help, which will further advance their interactions in the help system.
Cultivating More Intelligent Users
As you can see, by directing your users through your contextual help system, you not only make your support team’s job easier, but you also teach your users how to expertly navigate through your product help to find their own answers. In the end, this means driving them to contribute to your product help system, as well as helping them to engage with your contextual help more effectively.