Why a digital help-centre is essential to protect your brand

Written by Michael Smith on the 17th of February, 2015

The customer service or help-centre has existed in retail for years now. A dedicated area to get advice or answers to queries or return product without slowing down the checkout. Some retailers have taken even one step further ensuring the all in-store colleagues not engaged on tills are ‘Happy to Help’. So why hasn’t this been replicated in the online world?

The advent of e-commerce has created a new wave of online retailers and transactional websites. As the number of entrants into this digital marketplace has blossomed, a need to differentiate on service, not just price has arisen. However, many have been slow to improve customer-care or customer experience. Take a look at Twitter if you don’t believe me - there’s always some poor household name being pulled to bits having failed the customer!

And here’s for why. In the race to create digital channels to market, capture online customers and build sales, we’ve forgotten how to nurture a relationship and take the customer on the sort of pleasurable journey you might get in a store. Currently, the only default position for many online businesses is for customers to call an inbound phone call or send an email.

Whether you are a consumer or B2B business, ask yourself the question, how would customers like to communicate with your business?

Think about it from your own point of view. You look for a product or a service on your tablet, from the comfort of your sofa. You can’t find exactly what you want or you have a burning question. Do you want to try and find out the answer yourself by searching in a custom built help-centre in the same website, or do you want to call that 0800 or 0843 number either from your mobile at 40p plus per minute or get up and sit on your landline for 15 minutes while they verify who you are countless times.

Which is why you need to invest in building out a branded, digital help-centre that offers choices and supports the values and promises that brought the customer to you in the first-place. So how on earth do you set-up a help-centre capable of preempting enquiries? Well, quite simply you can use customer experiences and engagements to construct and continually update it but only if you have built your customer helpdesk on the right platform.

The reporting available in help-desk applications like Zendesk provides data to use this information to allow customers to properly self-manage. And with customisations, your help-desk can be as sophisticated or as simple as you want. If you are a consumer-led organisation, it can use images, branding and the tones of voice that will reassure your loyal customers. Whilst if its a B2B site, it can be simple and pragmatic using lists of FAQs and simple signposting to guide users to different areas e.g. product, pricing, delivery, support etc. It can even incorporate chat and the inbound calling, but in a way that ensures that you can know who they are and what they are looking at when they call.

All-in-all, the help-centre is more important in the digital world as it is in bricks and mortar as a bad experience can have a far greater impact in the ether than in a store. If you would like us to show you how this can be achieved using Zendesk, then we would be happy to help.

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