Illustration of a feedback loop

This is a guest blog post by Atlassian Marketplace vendor, StepShot.

What’s your biggest challenge in your job as a customer support agent? Let us take a wild guess: it’s responding to customer support questions.

Being in customer support (either internally in IT, or externally in customer service) is sort of like being a teacher, a case manager, and (often) a psychologist, all wrapped into one. That’s a demanding job! But, it’s one of the most important in any business and industry.

In Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service report, they found that brand differentiation has become more difficult to achieve through price or product. Therefore, 97% of global consumers say that customer service is important in their choice of, and loyalty to, a brand. Customer service is the new battlefield for brand differentiation.

In our work with customer service teams, we have seen there are 4 strategies that agents can use to answer their customers’ questions. We call these “journeys”, as the customer support experience is about leading people to the answer that will solve their question. Let’s dive into each journey, which has example questions your customers may be asking you.

1. Lightweight journey

The lightest lift and most common scenario for customer support agents is responding to simple problems that need instant reaction and resolution. This is what we call the lightweight journey because it doesn’t often take up too much of anyone’s time. For example, a customer asks:

  • “How do I log into my account?”
  • “How do I customize my profile?”
  • “How do I change my password?”

For these sorts of questions, customers don’t expect to receive a manual or guide with step-by-step instructions from you; they just want their issue to be solved in a timely manner. Thus, short clear messages would work perfectly in such situations. Take a look how the Atlassian support team does this in their Confluence Cloud Documentation. If you find yourself writing paragraphs and paragraphs of text to explain the solution, you might want to use a different option, such as the adventurous journey.

2. Adventurous journey

In some cases, text just won’t do the trick. When you’re helping people learn complex things, or documenting “how-to” cases, using visuals to complement text is what really makes the concept come alive. In the adventurous journey, a customer may ask:

  • “How can I change a Service Desk customer to a Jira cloud user or vice versa?”
  • “How can I globally disable the creation of service desks?”
  • “How can I rename SLAs in Jira Service Desk?”

We call this the adventurous journey because it is about taking people through an experience to answer their question. Usually, the best type of content for these questions are step-by-step instructions and manuals with lots of images. But, these can be time-consuming to make. Here’s a guide to creating manuals that only take a few minutes to make.

3. Imaginative journey

But maybe your customer doesn’t want to spend time peeling through a manual. This is a great opportunity to use video for customer support questions. We call video an imaginative journey because when watching a video, your customer is able to see and imagine themselves accomplishing the task that you are describing. Here are some questions where an imaginative journey with video can be best-suited:

  • “How can I create pages or blog posts in Confluence?”
  • “How can I embed images or documents in Confluence?”
  • “How can I create my personal dashboard?”

For these types of questions, a simple video can be so helpful. And you don’t need Hollywood-style production quality either. There are many tools out there like, ViewedIt, a browser extension that records you performing actions on your screen. Any kind of video can be helpful to your customer including training videos, video tutorials, webinars, and even demos. You can even organize a video library in your knowledge base (kb) to complement your written articles and manuals. Check out the Confluence tutorial videos for some video creation ideas.

4. Animated journey

The last route is an all-in-one solution to a problem that combines, to some extent, all the above-mentioned methods. Short, animated GIF images complemented with distinct text instructions may really wow and amuse your customers. For instance, a customer says:

  • “I have gone through almost all the steps but I got stuck on the last one. What can be the problem?”
  • “I’ve managed to do this. What am I supposed to do next?”
  • “I can’t figure it out. Could you tell me where I am mistaken?”

GIFs can be used in KB articles instead of screenshots as well as in conversations with a customer over live chat or email. ScreenToGif is a free screen recorder tool, which we find really awesome for making quick and catchy GIFs.

Getting the technology right may work wonders in optimising the productivity of a customer support team. We hope you spend minutes, not hours, creating software documentation, and we’ve developed some tools to do just that. StepShot Guides captures screenshots for every click and provides automatic descriptions for each of them. You can edit the screenshots, add your own comments and export a final step-by-step guide.

For those who are always struggling with image editing, StepShot also provides a tool that allows users to edit visuals within Confluence. With StepShot Image Editor, you can now forget about numerous copies of the same image, as all of the changes you made will be saved on separate layers in one file.

Check out StepShot in the Marketplace

4 ways to answer any customer support question...