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11 Essential Tips to Writing the Ultimate Customer Service Tutorial

Customer Experience

One of the greatest tools you have available to you in delivering exceptional customer service isn’t a person, it’s content. Great content online and available to your customers can greatly reduce the volume of customer service requests if done right.

In today’s Internet age, customers are online and many of them are searching for answers to common questions and problems. Part of the customer experience is having common answers, tutorials, and pretty much any other information that your customers are looking for available when they need it.

But when it comes to effective content, content that contributes to the customer experience, there’s a difference between having information available and teaching someone how to correctly use that information. Winning customer service is teaching, enabling, and helping customers in whatever way they need.

11 Quick tips to writing effective customer service tutorials

So here are 11 quick tips to get your customer service tutorials started on the right track.

  1. Be clear about what you want your customers to learn. Effective customer service tutorial content is clear in its purpose. Your customers search for an answer online and their friend Google will give them millions of results. When they find what you’re sharing, you need to be quick to let them know what they’re going to learn with what you have to share. Be quick in explaining the purpose of your content. Use descriptive headers, and make the topic stand out from the rest of the page.
  2. Know what you’re talking about. One of the most frustrating things for a customer is following instructions that don’t work. Be absolutely sure that your instructions actually work. If they’re limited to only a specific situation or circumstance, be honest about that. You can tell customers that it may work for others, but when you don’t explain that you open the door for a bad customer service experience.
  3. Break it down to clear, easy to follow steps. Even if the next thing your customer has to do is click “Next”, or “Ok”, make sure that they know it’s what they need to do. You’d be surprised how many times something that small throws the whole tutorial process into disarray. It’s easier for customers to skip over extra details than it is for them to try and pick up where they should be because your instructions are incomplete.
  4. Use images, as much as possible. Words are good, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In customer service, it may be worth even more. I’m always reminded of Ikea’s furniture setup instructions. All pictures, no words. Simple, useful, instructional. Customers are busy, sometimes a picture is perfect to get the information across and make sure that there’s no question about what it is you’re trying to say.
  5. Use examples. Give your customers an idea of what you mean with good examples of whatever type of information you’re trying to explain. It can be frustrating to get dictionary-type definitions with no examples of what you mean, so don’t leave any guess work when writing your customer service tutorials.
  6. Make it understandable. Sure you know what you mean, but then again, you’re the expert. What if you picked a random person on the street to read what you’re trying to explain, would they understand it? Would it be clear enough? In some of my master’s projects, I often was instructed to right to an audience of bright high school students. This way I would be sure to keep my information professional and technical enough to get the message across, but simple enough so that any adult could understand and follow along.
  7. Don’t assume your audience knows your topic. Always start at the beginning. If you have to begin in the middle, at least include references to previous steps or what’s already been done. Remember that we’re in the age of the Internet. Not everyone will find your page from your home page. Expect people to just jump in the middle of your user tutorial. Give them some reference points to get them caught up.
  8. Include common frequent customer questions. If you are writing a tutorial based on frequent customer questions, include them in your tutorial. If you know customers have asked follow up questions based on what you’re explaining, include those questions too. Your goal should be to have answered every customer question by the time your tutorial is done, and you’ll get bonus points if you are able to answer follow-up customer questions too. Know what questions are typically asked after someone follows your instructions and answer them in your tutorial.
  9. Update your tutorial often. One of the most frustrating things is trying to follow a tutorial when there’s been an update that makes it almost irrelevant. Especially when dealing with technical items…menu change, looks are updated, options are moved. Update your existing tutorials, or better yet, write up NEW ones when updates are made. Some people may be using your older product/system/version, make sure they can still find help. For everyone else, they’ll need up-to-date information.
  10. Provide contact information for help and support. It’s always nice to know who did something or how you can get in touch with them if you have additional questions. Even if you’re referring to a support team or a general customer service line. Include contact details in your tutorial so people know who to reach out if they need additional help. Call 888-555-XXXX and use option 394582 for more help. Or contact our special Twitter team @special_team_xyz.
  11. Eat your own dog food (follow your own instructions). Before releasing your tutorial gem for all of your customers, can you try it out at least once? Yes, you’re the expert, but you’d be surprised how many times a step is overlooked, something actually is done a different way, or a critical step may actually read just a bit confusing to someone who has never done it before. Close out everything, start from step 1 and follow your own instructions. Make sure that it’s clear and it’ll be clear for your customers too.

Following these 11 easy tips to write an ultimate customer service tutorial will ensure that you continue to deliver an exceptional customer service experience, even when your customer isn’t working directly with you?

What do you think? What tip would you add to make a customer service tutorial more effective?

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