Think about the way you walk up a flight of stairs. It’s something you do at least a couple times a day, without thinking twice. Do you ever question that the next step is going to be there? Hardly ever. Even if it’s your first time on a particular staircase, you know that next step will be there. You don’t even look down.

All you have to do is take the first step.

A visit to a product support site is something akin to a staircase. When I come to a support site with an issue, some burning question, I’m in effect stepping onto the support staircase.

I look, I click, and I drill down, hoping the next step is there. The more structured and easily navigable the support site is, the easier it will be for me to take that next step.

Click Navigation for the Win

Like most customers seeking self-service, all I know from the outset is that I need help. What will be asked of me once I’m on the support site hasn’t even crossed my mind.

I’m here though, so what now?

Ideally, it won’t take much to get me where I need to go, something click navigation is particularly well-suited to ensure. As we mentioned in our blog post on Strategies for a More Personalized Self-Service Experience, the Whirlpool® product help is a particularly good example of easy-peasy click navigation. A new visitor is presented with two options:

  1. Search
  2. Click

Click navigation—my personal preference when the washer and dryer go AWOL—takes all the guesswork out of my search for help content. All I have to do is self-identify from step to step. In the Whirlpool® example, this happens with a series of clicks:

  1. Choose product category (laundry)
  2. Choose product type (washer)
  3. Get a little more specific (it’s a front load washer)
  4. Choose my symptom (“cycle time is not advancing”)

In four clicks, I’m presented with a list of possible solutions specific to my issue—four clicks to reach the help content I need.

For Whirlpool®—or any other company, for that matter—this kind of navigation does two very important things: it lowers customer effort and helps deflect tickets. The most profound thing about this product support experience, though?

It’s easy.

What Does this Mean for Search?

It’s probably still too early to tell. Internally, we’ve certainly seen an uptick in click navigation over search. Does that mean search is officially dead? Not quite yet. But it is something we’ll be keeping a close eye on in the future. As the Whirlpool® example demonstrates, though, good navigation can lower customer effort considerably. And when navigation is informed by your users’ behavior, they’ll have an easier time getting to what they need.

Additional categories: Customer Experience, Knowledge Management