The value of a low-effort web self-service experience cannot be underestimated. Well, it can, but we don’t recommend it. The consequences can be costly. High support case volume and agent burnout. Frustrated, dissatisfied, disloyal customers.
A central part of any good self-service portal is click navigation. If you’ve been following along here the past few months, you know how we feel about good click navigation. Not too long ago, we highlighted the straightforward click-nav experience on the Whirlpool® product help portal. Another MindTouch customer, Fisher & Paykel, has also integrated a user-friendly click navigation experience into its self-service portal.
Here’s what that experience looks like in action.
The Help I Need In Five Clicks Flat
Let’s say I wake up one weekend morning determined to install my new dryer. One problem: in a fit of look-mom-I-bought-a-new-product haste, I discarded the user manual. Naturally, I turn to Google Search, which quickly lands me on the Fisher & Paykel self-service site.
You’ll notice that I’m immediately presented with both search and navigation options here. Of course! We earthlings complete an estimated 3.5 billion searches per day, and 87% of smartphone owners first choose search in moments of need. When using a search engine as good as Google, that’s all fine and good.
The situation is a bit different on a self-service portal. Even the best, most finely-tuned federated search experience can be hobbled by the fact that most customers don’t know what the heck they’re looking for. Take me and my new dryer, for example: I don’t know my model number, nor do I really know what a successful product help outcome will look like when I find it. No fault of the vendor, necessarily; but I’d rather start with a simple choice: my product category.
Yes, that sounds like me. Click.
Next, I drill down a bit further. In this example, there is only one kind of “dry” appliance to choose from (dryers, as it were). Click.
Now things are looking more familiar. Time to pick my dryer type. I happen to know that I have a condensing dryer. But if I didn’t have this information? Notice the CONFUSED ON WHICH IS YOURS option down at the bottom? That’s proactive self-service support at its best: anticipating where users will likely get confused, or what kind of information they’re unlikely to know. Even if I don’t know my dryer type, the opportunity for successful self-service is not lost (that is to say, I still don’t have to call to resolve my issue).
This time around, I do know my dryer type. Click.
It appears that Fisher & Paykel only has one condensing dryer model, the same one I own. Here, too, I see suggested content based on my specific model: installation, cycles, getting started. As I pointed out earlier, I woke up one morning in dire need of installation instructions. Click.
And I’ve arrived. In five clicks I’ve found detailed installation instructions for my specific dryer model. It’s up to me now to read the steps carefully and not screw it up.
Click Navigation – An Easy, Low-Effort Path to Success
Yes, the Fisher & Paykel self-service portal offers customers both search and click navigation options. As it should. In many ways, we’re conditioned to attempt a keyword search first. But there’s a reason you find both options in any good self-service experience: often, we as customers don’t come to a page knowing what we’re looking for. We need to be guided. We need suggestions. And we need it to be really easy to reach our desired outcome.
In a word: we need low-effort self-service experiences, something structured click navigation is well-suited to deliver.