When done right, self-service support material help your customers complete tasks on their own. But for self-service support resource to work, they need to be easy to read and understand. In other words, customer support teams need to be savvy about copywriting.

Whether you’ve taken a copywriting course or aren’t very familiar with writing for business, improving how you write self-service support material can result in big wins for the customer experience.

By being concise, giving context, and considering your audience, you can make it much easier for your customers to benefit from your customer support docs or answers in your knowledge base. And by mastering your self-service copy, you’ll reduce the number of support phone calls or emails, freeing your team up for more complex tasks.

Today, I’m sharing 5 copywriting tips for writing self-service support material. These tips will help you and your team create content that enables customers to get the most out of your product. As a result, you’ll deliver far better customer experience.

1. Keep your support copy concise

When a customer runs into an issue, they’re looking for an answer as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure that your support content is concise. Cut out the extra words, and prioritize the most important need-to-know information.

If you’re not sure what to cut from your copy, ask yourself if the information is necessary to solve the problem or if it’s just extra insight.

A word of caution: be careful not to leave out essential information. It’s one thing to be concise—it’s another to leave out details or scenarios that customers need.

2. Give context to your support material

Often times, when we write, it’s easy to forget where our audience is coming from. That isn’t to say that we don’t understand the challenge they’re facing. Rather, we assume they use the same words as we would in order to describe the issue. That’s why it’s important to give context.

For example, a customer might be facing a problem with a particular feature, but have trouble describing it. In your self-service support content, you should not only offer an explanation for how to solve the problem but clearly define the problem itself. This helps customers know—for sure—that they’re in the right place.

3. Write for easy reading comprehension

You may read advanced novels on a regular basis, but do your customers? To make sure your self-service support material helps all customers, you must write copy that is easy to understand. That means using basic vocabulary, as well as short, clear sentences.

If you’re curious about the readability of your support content, you can always run it through Grammarly or the Hemingway App. Both these tools will give your content a readability score, as well as offer ideas for how to make your support copy easier to understand.

The below is a screen grab from GetFeedback’s self-service portal. As you can see, the title of the article clearly defines the ask/problem, and the wording is simple but detailed enough to ensure customer success.

self-service support material copy example

4. Use helpful links for more information

In order to keep your self-service support material clear and concise, it’s worthwhile to include helpful links. Linking out means that you can send customers to different areas of your site that are more relevant to them. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Link directly within the support content.
  • Add links to related support articles in a sidebar or below the article.
  • Create a list of categories, and link out to them.

Each piece of content support content you write should have one purpose with the aim of solving one particular problem. When you feel as though you’re getting tangential, add some links to other areas of your site to stay on track.

5. Include screenshots, GIFs, and supporting images

Your writing needs to be clear, but it should also be supplemented with helpful screenshots, GIFs, and images. This provides clear examples and can help customers fix their issues quickly and easily. Often, the screenshots you include are more helpful than the words.

Many companies are also using videos in their support content. This is particularly helpful for issues with physical products that can not easily be seen in a screenshot or photo. Even a short video can make a world of difference to a customer looking for a quick answer.

Below is an example of a GIF that can be used to clarify a process in your self-service content (Source: GetFeedback’s Knowledge Base portal).

gif self-service support material example

Copywriting for self-service support content

When it comes to creating self-service support material, there’s much to consider. You have to decide what articles you need, how you’ll organize them, and ultimately create them. Once you’re creating the content, it’s essential that you use good copywriting to ensure that your articles are helpful to your audience.