Creating richer learning environments is a fundamental driver for success. Although many companies may be already deploying knowledge management strategies and facilitating collaboration (including CRM) through specific collaboration tools such as Wikis, FAQs, intranets and so on, there might be essential elements being left out that make a difference.

One of these elements is known as contextual sensitive help (CSP) which is a primary support option for many online wikis, manuals, content management systems and other forms of online documentation technology. In strict sense, CSP allows users to summon help while reading through manuals, help columns and other relevant information. Usually it can take the form of a command syntax where the user can type “?” at any place in the document and he will be able to visualize assistance regarding the particular piece of information he is reading without having to leave the page.

This option is particularly helpful for handling product information. For example, customer agents who are looking to assist new customers learn about the custom specifications of their product or service, and can do it without hassle by providing clients with a richer learning path and environment. One basic example is when we use kindle; as we are reading the book we are given the option to highlight a specific word and immediately a box tool opens up within the document with the meaning of the word (including translation options). For kindle users this means that they can consult directly the dictionary meaning of the word without having to stray away from the app or device in order to open another one or consulting google.

There are many forms of CSP. The most common are:

  • Light boxes
  • Pop-ups
  • Tooltips

To see some of these functions at work you can take the Proprofs guided tour by clicking here

As products incorporate various functions and offer multiple advantages it can be a drawback when clients are not properly instructed or don´t count with sufficient help. Although some may argue that most people have become multi-task and can handle complexity more efficiently, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t looking for more efficient action paths.

Time is precious and customers become frustrated when no proper answers meet their requirement. Besides this point, which is specific to CRM, we can also argue that valuable time is lost when employees are looking for specific documentation and have to juggle between various documents (at one time!) only to find that they are reaching dead ends while the clock keeps ticking. Developing a proper knowledge base for customers and employees is not just a question of having a place to store documentation, but rather constructing a richer learning path and environment where anyone can rapidly obtain the information they require and at the same time gain added value insights.

Even in the on-boarding process this becomes a valuable support as new employees need quick and quality access to company knowledge.

In general terms we can declare that CSP options help business to:

1) Reduce time to training

2) Cut down “invisible” costs associated with searching for information

3) Help reduce client frustration

4) Offer more than just help as valued added information is incorporated

5) Avoid multiple learning points and centralize important information

6) Create richer learning environments

7) Quickly add on valuable information as required

8) Reduce ticket handling as clients access relevant information (especially true for service desk agents)

9) Mobile availability so information can be accessed anytime anywhere

10) Increase productivity

The above points clearly denote great benefits for companies and not only are we talking about increasing client satisfaction but in overall, productivity which in turn signifies huge savings. The important thing to consider is that when opting for open source software usually the CSP option is not available and requires a great deal of coding in order to get done. In order to do it, companies usually have to undertake many hours of additional work because customization usually entails significant efforts and specialized teams might be required (it´s not that easy!) So if you are looking to reduce costs it’s better to look for qualified software.

In order to sum up, CSP permits you to drive performance using contextual tools to create onsite help and task based assistance. It´s important to take into consideration user experience as a valuable driver for success since one common flaw is that content is at times unfriendly, lags or doesn’t always show the right information. Remember that in the end we are trying to further promote client satisfaction and increase worker productivity, two sustainable business success factors for securing success today and for the future.

Don’t miss out on the benefits that CSP can provide!