This Fine Tuning discussion focuses on best practices for ticket deflection, including:
- Promoting self-help through marketing and communication
- What your help center data is telling you
- The Zendesk approach to ticket deflection
Promoting self-help through marketing and communication
Providing a knowledge base and community platform are great ways to help customers find solutions to problems on their own. However, having a plan on how to drive customers to this content is equally important. Two essential elements that set the stage for ticket deflection are:
- Your marketing plan for how users navigate to your knowledge base
- Clear communication directing customers to your online information
Ticket deflection is often executed differently for internal support vs external support use cases, but the overall goal is the same: provide easy access to information so users can help themselves before submitting a ticket. If your customers can find solutions to their questions or issues without contacting support, you can cut down on the number of tickets in your support queue. A shorter support queue can help increase customer satisfaction and control costs. The overall cost savings of self-service versus assisted-service can be significant when looking at your organization’s bottom line and allocation of resources.
While it’s generally a best practice to allow customers to reach you through all available channels, it doesn’t always make sense for your business model. Some Zendesk customers choose to forgo using a support email address, and instead direct customers to their knowledge base. This self-service model is a great way to funnel your customers to your help center to search for topics or read suggested articles before submitting a request.
Need proof? It’s in the numbers. Customers prefer to help themselves.
Effective marketing and communication can encourage ticket deflection while also speeding up end-user adoption. Here are some tactical ideas to help drive customers to your self-service pages. Internal and external use cases have been identified.
Internal use case ideas for driving self-service
Here are some tactical ideas for the internal use case to help drive customers to your self-service pages:
- Develop a marketing campaign that includes a company-wide announcement and an official “Go-Live” date.
- Build excitement around the office by promoting the launch in creative ways.
- Include promotional messaging in email signatures of the team who is launching Zendesk.
- Offer training sessions for end-users who will be your “customers” and also for management teams who will be receiving Zendesk reporting or statistics.
- Encourage internal customers to bookmark your help center and create friendly reminder macros if requested info could have been found in your knowledge base.
- Promote subscribing to an announcement section of your help center. This is a great way to keep customers informed of news and other important topics.
- Make it easy to access your help center. Create navigation from your own website and any internal intranet(s).
- Incorporate single sign-on (SSO) for seamless authentication and quick access.
- External use case ideas for driving self-service
Here are some tactical ideas for the external use case to help drive customers to your self-service pages:
- Link your knowledge base with one click from your site’s main navigation menu.
- Integrate your “Contact Us” information into your knowledge base. Since a majority of sites have their contact us page separate from their knowledge base, combining the two could lead customers to find information or content they were initially going to contact you about.
- Optimize for search and use help center labels when developing knowledge base articles.
- Keep the Search bar above-the-fold and in a prominent location.
- Remind customers about your knowledge base in replies and correspondence to their inquiries. For example, Thank you for contacting support! We are working to answer all e-mail support requests as soon as possible. In the interim, please feel free to take a look at our forums (include appropriate hyperlink).
What your help center data is telling you
With the data available in help center Dashboards, Google Analytics, and within your own Zendesk tickets, you can gain a better understanding of how your customers are engaging with your help center and determine what areas or content subjects need your attention.
For example you can:
- Make sure you create articles for the top search terms in your help center.
- Analyze your ticket data to create more detailed content that addresses your most frequent requests.
Let’s take a look at each of these tools to see how they can help.
Help Center Dashboards (Professional/Enterprise)
Help center dashboards help you monitor user activity in your knowledge base, community and search activity. While knowledge base and community information is very powerful, search is the star when it comes to finding areas to increase ticket deflection. You can use search information to gain a better understanding of what users are looking for in your help center. These insights will hopefully prompt your team to create content or improve upon existing content based on your help center dashboard data.
Search data provides you insight into the following:
- Total: Total number of searches and the most popular search strings
- With No Results: Total number of searches with no results along with the term that was searched
- With No Clicks: When a user does not click on an article after a search
- Ticket Created: Search results are provided and a ticket is still created
Google Analytics for your help center allows you to track a number of metrics from the moment it's enabled on your account.
Here are some of the metrics Google Analytics can track and how they can uncover areas for ticket deflection:
- Visitors & Unique Visitors: Are your customers visiting your help center and are they coming back often? The more traffic the better, if you are seeing a lot of repeat traffic, that’s telling you customers are finding your help center content useful.
- Page Views & Pages Views per Session: Are your visitors viewing a lot of content when they stop by? High numbers here could mean users find the content useful. It could also mean they can’t find what they’re looking for. Cross reference the pages with the highest views and the type of requests you’re seeing in your ticket data. If there’s a match you may need to improve your content.
- Average Session Duration & Percent of New Sessions: Tells you how long the average visitor is staying at your help center and what percentage of visitors are first time visitors. If the average session duration seems low, then visitors are likely not engaging with your content. If the percent of new sessions seems low and your ticket volume in other channels remains high, improvements could be made to drive customers to self-serve. An exception here would be for internal use cases where the percentage of new sessions should decrease over time.
- Demographic Data: Tells you more about the visitors coming to your help center, including the city and country they are accessing the site from and what language they are using to read internet content. Analyzing this data can help you determine if you need location specific content or enable localization to support multiple languages in your help center.
- System & Mobile Data: Do you need to provide browser or operating system specific content in your knowledge base? Or maybe you're wondering if "on the go" users are using their mobile device to search for answers. The Google Analytics system and mobile data can let you monitor and track this info. You can also enable the mobile layout, so that customers visiting your help center using tablets and smartphones see a layout optimized for their devices.
Your Zendesk Tickets
Review your ticket data and identify areas for self-service opportunities:
- What are your most common requests and contact drivers? Could they be deflected by creating FAQs or an article?
- What are your most common requests via Ticket: Channel Web Form? Requests created in your help center implies the customer was not able to find an answer to their question in your knowledge base.
With Zendesk ticket forms, customers are served a dynamic form to complete that is customized to the type of request selected. Analyzing not only the types of requests submitted but identifying trends within the details can help your content management team pinpoint what additional topics should be included in your knowledge base. If you’re not using ticket forms, you could add an “About” drop-down to your default ticket form to identify the type of request.
The Zendesk approach to ticket deflection
Despite being easy-to-use, simple software, Zendesk still receives a large number of customer requests and product feedback suggestions. Our development team is constantly rolling out improvements to the product, so staying up-to-date on new features and product changes isn’t always easy and can be challenging even as a Zendesk employee.
Beyond our weekly release updates, demos, and documentation, there is often a need for additional education. As an organization we make it a priority for different teams within Zendesk to contribute to ticket deflection, each reducing the number of tickets we receive in their own way. So, how do we do it?
Below are a number of ways different teams help deflect tickets at Zendesk:
- Customer Support (the front line): Whether answering customer questions on a call or chat, or educating other Zendesk colleagues, our Advocates are one of our main contributors to ticket deflection.
- Sales: The sales team answers many of the early questions customers have either through scheduled calls or one of the many product demos they offer.
- Marketing: Proactively reaching out and engaging our customers, Marketing communicates what’s new and what’s on the horizon for Zendesk.
- Customer Success: Customer success works closely with customers to help them plan, build, and grow with Zendesk. This includes regularly scheduled calls with customers often to discuss new features or answer questions.
- Documentation: A team of writers work to build our knowledge base. This team does an amazing job of keeping our knowledge base up to date while also managing content that is no longer relevant. If you have a question, chances are the answer can be found in our forums.
- Community Moderators: Our customers are some of our best teachers. Knowledgeable customers are invited to provide insightful answers and feedback to comments on articles and product feedback pages publicly available for all Zendesk community members to see.
- Community Support: There is a dedicated support person providing one-to-many support in our Zendesk Community.
Below are a number of ways Events and Education efforts that help deflect tickets at Zendesk:
- Zen U. Events: The college of customer happiness - Events are a great way to support and get to know our customers on a large scale.
- User Groups: Zendesk customers meet and discuss how they are using Zendesk, share best practices, discuss technical questions, network, and learn from each other.
- Best Practices Webinars: Free webinars covering best practices topics when setting up and going live with Zendesk.
- Video Library: Interactive content demonstrating software features.