Have you ever talked to someone on the phone for hours and felt like you were just going in circles? Communicating is hard. You and your frustrated customers know it, and Great-Aunt Beatrice’s hearing aid, too.
The truth is, we all have our own personal preferences when it comes to how we interact. And especially when it comes to providing your customers with answers to their questions. Luckily, there’s a better and faster way to convey even the most intricate issues.
In a world clamoring for our attention, visuals such as images and videos are no longer reserved for designers. They are vital for communicating complex ideas in simple and effective ways.
With all the informative blog posts and academic studies about providing exceptional customer service, visuals often don’t make the cut.
We’re here to prove them wrong.
For starters, we all know the customer support classics: Setting up your help desk software, building a content-saturated knowledge base, and so on. But that’s only the surface level-setup.
In this article, we will show you (see what we did there) how to utilize visuals to break the mold, dazzle your clients, and provide the best customer experience possible.
Seeing is believing
Imagine trying to describe the Mona Lisa in words. You could spend hours trying to illustrate the use of color, intricate paint strokes or mysterious look in her eyes. But, even the most eloquent words would be unable to fully capture the experience of seeing the image itself. The experience of seeing something versus reading or hearing about it is incomparable.
As a matter of fact, studies showed that it takes a mere 13 milliseconds for the human brain to process an image.
More than half of the population are visual learners, so it’s very likely you’ll have customers who absorb information this way. These type of learners benefit when presented with images and videos and prefer this over talking to an agent over the phone or being sent text-heavy knowledge base articles.
The key is to have the right balance of text and visual (e.g. image, GIFs, videos) without overwhelming the customer. So, if your trained support team is relying solely on written messages via a ticketing system, then you are not communicating effectively enough.
People often say “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Utilizing visuals such as screenshots and video recordings (screencasts) with easy-to-use tools like Snagit can actually save your support team and customer time while eliminating unneeded frustration. When a screenshot or video recording does not suffice, for instance, if there’s a complex bug you cannot recreate, there are real-time screen-sharing programs such as join.me and TeamViewer. These tools will enable you to remotely connect to a customer’s computer to closely diagnose the problem.
Your clients are not coming to you to wax-poetic. They’re looking for answers and wanted them yesterday. These visual tools are an effective way to provide assistance and ensure customer satisfaction.
Effectively communicating can significantly increase the chances of resolving support issues on first contact resolution (FCR). But catering to visual learners requires an extra layer of explanation — but, luckily, not much more time.
For instance, adding images, like screenshots, to your customer interaction via your ticketing system is a piece of cake. Or links to your pre-created knowledge base articles to replies, screenshots, and other visuals can be easily attached as well.
Spice up your support articles
In today’s information-hungry world, customers expect to get their questions answered instantly. This is why your business should must provide customers with a tool which utilizes visual aids to help them find quick answers. In fact, studies on the “Picture Superiority Effect” have shown that images help make your content more memorable.
Say hello to self-service tools, helping your customers help themselves. That’s a good thing, especially when 81% of customers prefer to use a company’s website to get answers to their questions rather than phone or email.
When building a knowledge base, graphics will take your informative content to the next level. Let’s be brutally honest, people are not reading your support articles for pleasure. You may be the Shakespeare of support, but the goal of the article is to be as clear and concise as possible.
An important factor to consider is how you optimize your knowledge base articles for visual learners. It’s no secret that images are an effective explanatory tool. However, they also serve as a way to break up text into digestible chunks. This improves the content’s readability while adding some visual intrigue to your article.
Extra tip: Don’t forget to separate sentences or paragraphs based on ideas, by using text formatting such as headings, bullet points, and numbering.
Take for example our Wix Answers knowledge base article explaining how to set up a widget for live chat software. We used clear step-by-step instructions and two product screenshots to break apart the text:
Video killed the radio star
All video marketing stats show it: This format is the single most effective communication medium. For example, after watching a product video, consumers are 85% more likely to buy it. And there’s much more to it, so let’s dive in.
Do you have a YouTube channel for your business? If the answer is no, you should probably open one now. Not only does this platform boost your online presence (thanks Google!), it gives your brand credibility and personality. The truth is, you don’t need to be a producer to create content. Here are two ways to leverage just that:
- Video tutorials: Bring even the dullest knowledge base articles to life, no fancy video production crew required. You can walk your customers through even the most complex topics using a simple do-it-yourself screencast and voiceover. Keep it short and sweet, preferably under three minutes. This ensures customers can absorb all that golden information, without losing interest. Once you have your video ready to roll it’s time to share it with the world. For example, check out our how-to video on setting up your ticketing system:
- Webinars: Rolling out a new product or service? You can always send out an email marketing campaign but there is no reason to stop there. Invite your customers worldwide to join a webinar where you can break down everything they need to know in real-time. Webinars serve as an effective support tool which doubles as a marketing strategy. You have the opportunity to explain the product or service to your customers in a way that keeps them interested and engaged while generating new leads. Don’t forget to leave time at the end to address questions from your audience. Here is a successful webinar we did, discussing the question “Is your customer support effective?”:
It’s all about the ‘alt text’
Are your images search engine ready? The internet is a little like outer space: vast and unlimited. Your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts work like a homing signal to make your support center easier to find. Producing original, fresh and quality content, on top of ensuring that your meta-tags and keywords are on point, is only part of the battle. You should also be focusing on a less-obvious part: visual SEO impact.
Alt text is a short line of text describing an image, chart or graphic element to search engines like Google and Bing. Without this description, search engines bots simply cannot “see” and understand what your pictures are about.
It may seem as small as it looks, but it’s actually a big deal as a third of all searches performed on the Internet are for images. Consistently implementing alt text in your visuals can go a long way in driving more traffic to your site, especially since a lot of your competitors are probably overlooking this part of the SEO game.
Most importantly this means your customers can easily find your support articles to help self-resolve issues with ease. The result? Happier customers and a stronger brand image. Basically, the best thing since sliced bread.
Pro tip: Want to know more about search engine optimization? This simple guide explains the ‘what’, the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of the SEO of your knowledge base.
Can you see the data?
Many businesses today have picked up the art of visual storytelling, from pricey Superbowl ads to using GIFs to respond to customers on social media. So, if you’re still sending customers user manuals packed with small font, this might be a good time to phase that out.
Information overload is a serious issue which can serve as a genuine pain-point to a frustrated customer. When you utilize effective design, you make your content more appealing, concise and readable.
Infographics are a powerful and compelling visual asset which unite design, content, and data into an engaging, shareable and informative graphic for your audience.
You do not need to have a degree in graphic design. With today’s online tools, you can create your own infographics in a fast and effective manner. Research shows people following directions with text and illustrations (infographics) do 323% better than those following directions without illustrations.
Ready to get started? Check out these tips to start designing infographics like a pro:
- Simplicity is key: Stick to one or two typefaces, avoid hard-to-read fonts and overload of graphics or cluttered layout. Your goal is a clear flow and connection to your content. Let the facts speak for themselves.
- Shareability: After all your hard work, your infographic deserves to be seen. Make sure to include embedded links, and keep your image between 1,500 to 3,000 pixels to minimize download time and optimize for shares on social media.
- Statistics: Include reliable, current and helpful insights. Remember to provide any external sources as a reference.
Quality visual customer service can be boiled down to one word: communication. Relaying a message that contains the perfect balance of visual and text ratio can go a long way in ensuring a positive customer experience. The next time you engage with a client, keep these visual pointers in mind.
Sound too good to be true? Try out the best customer support software today!