08/08/2023

13 min

6 Proven Customer Service Content Best Practices: What Makes Your Content Truly Helpful?

Do you know how many customers first try to resolve issues on their own before contacting customer service agents? 

Sixty-nine percent, according to a Zendesk report.

And how many companies offer sufficient self-service options? 

Only a third of them!

Clearly, too few companies make it easy for customers to resolve a problem independently. So, if you create a knowledge base, a help center, or an FAQs page, you’re already ahead of your competition.

However, it’s not enough to just show up. You also have to prioritize certain key aspects of your content to create an excellent customer service experience.

That’s why today we’ll cover some of these essential customer service content best practices.

Once you start implementing them, your content won’t just resolve your customers’ issues but also leave a lasting positive impression.

We’ll start with a crucial element that we’ve already mentioned: self-service options.

#1 Prioritize Self-Service Options

Self-service support can benefit your company through cost reduction and faster resolution times. However, did you know that customers expect and prefer this proactive way of resolving issues?

It’s true; a whopping 77% of customers view companies more positively if they offer self-service support options. 

Hence, you need to make sure that your business has enough quality self-service content available.

So let’s dive deeper into what quality means in this context.

The self-service content that you put out should be, first of all, intuitive and meet the user where they are.

Customers might spend ample time trying to solve an issue on their own. But what if they can’t find a solution?

Statistics on customer service content show that at least 40% of them still have to reach out to your support team, which defeats the purpose of the content.

That’s why effective self-service content has to be easily searchable and readily accessible.

Figma, a web-based design tool, is an excellent example of this practice.

figma help page organization
Source: Figma

Figma’s support pages immediately show a wide range of article categories that customers might need to find a solution.

You’ll notice that Figma doesn’t limit support content to articles only. There are also videos, textual step-by-step tutorials, courses, and guides.

The next factor that makes Figma’s customer service content effective is its clarity.

Evidently, they created content with a customer-first approach, including straightforward instructions, appropriate screenshots, and plain language.

figma help center article
Source: Figma

Even with quality self-service content available, sometimes customers might face complex or unique challenges that they’ll need some assistance with.

In such cases, Figma redirects to other self-service options, such as forums and best practices guides, as valuable complementary resources.

figma additional help center resources
Source: Figma

If you decided to design your customer service content in a similar fashion, you’d empower your customers to tackle a wide range of issues on their own. 

This will foster their confidence and self-sufficiency. Also, customers can get answers as soon as the need arises without having to wait for your response.

Note that content aimed at nobody in particular won’t get the customer far.

Instead, to be truly helpful, your content has to be specific. This is why you have to understand the customer and their unique journey. 

That’s the topic for our next section.

#2 Create Content for Different Stages of The Customer Journey

Say you’re ready to dive into creating service content. What do you cover first?

It’s tempting to start writing about whatever topics spring to mind first. From your software’s capabilities to instructions for canceling subscriptions—there’s so much to cover!

However, haphazardly creating service content may not yield the desired results. Simply, the content would lack a natural flow of information. 

For instance, someone who’s just purchased your product probably won’t care about, say, instructions for updating the account email. They surely don’t need that content right away.

At worst, you could overload the user and obstruct their path to an answer. 

The solution to this problem is simple. You have to familiarize yourself with the distinct stages of the customer journey. Typically, these are:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Purchase
  • Post-purchase

Of course, there’s a whole range of different content types you can create for each stage. You can see some of them in an overview below.

content types for different customer journey stages
Source: sitecentre

Still, if you’re focusing on service content, you need to address the specific questions and pain points of each journey stage.

Let’s look at some examples.

AwarenessCan this software do this or that? What is their refund policy?
ConsiderationWhat sets this software apart from its competitors? Are there any customer success stories or case studies available?
PurchaseAre there any additional add-ons or upgrades that can be included with the purchase?
Post-purchaseHow do I cancel my subscription? Where do I change my auto-billing settings? Why do I get an error when importing data from another tool?

Based on the journey stage, you’ll also need to segment users and personalize content.

Essentially, users from different stages don’t have the same levels of skill and familiarity with your product.

An experienced user can handle jargon and product-specific wording. But those who are still new to your product (i.e., in the awareness or consideration stages) need simple and engaging language.

Take the Sketch Help Center, for example, which answers general, “entry-level”, questions in a straightforward way.

sketch help article for new users
Source: Sketch

You can also sense a motivational tone throughout the content around general questions that customers might ask before committing.

After all, good marketers know how important the pre-purchasing stages are. Therefore, it’s vital to create appealing service content accordingly.

Let’s look back at the content created by Sketch. When you analyze answers pertaining to the post-purchase stage, you’ll notice a shift in the tone and focus of the content.

sketch help center article
Source: Sketch

Specific terms for the product’s elements and screenshots allow customers who are already using Sketch to solve their issues swiftly and accurately.

So, what works for one customer segment might not necessarily work for another.

Therefore, your task is to present customer service content so that it resonates with each journey stage. All customers should find the information they need, engage effectively, and have a positive experience with your brand.

In a way, service content is more than providing information. It requires you to lean into the storytelling aspect of customer service, and that’s the topic we’ll cover next.

#3 Use Storytelling to Connect With Customers

Let’s make something clear. Your FAQ pages shouldn’t resemble food blogs where each post tells a sentimental story about somebody’s grandma.

Still, an appropriate dose of human touch in your content humanizes your brand and fosters an emotional bond with customers.

Besides, science says that people retain information through stories seven times more effectively than they do through statistics.

This happens because storytelling triggers different responses in the recipient’s brain (you can learn more in Mention’s infographic below).

Source: Mention

So, if you want your customer service content to be simultaneously helpful, informative, and likable, then storytelling is the way to go.

You can weave storytelling into your service content through videos, which is the medium modern consumers prefer to learn about products and services.

Videos, especially those with human narrators, allow you to walk customers through your product while keeping the informational aspect of customer service approachable.

Moreover, when customers see how another person is solving the same issues they’re experiencing, your brand instantly becomes more relatable.

Adobe’s help center stands out as a prime illustration of storytelling in service content.

Source: Adobe

The help center combines written instructions with video tutorials, creating an immersive and informative experience for users.

Adobe regularly collaborates with artists and designers who share their experiences, as well as tips and tricks for using Adobe Photoshop, like in the example below:

Your customer service content probably won’t be as gripping as a Stephen King novel (it would be quite impressive if it were!). 

However, each piece of content you create to assist your customers contributes to the larger narrative of your company.

Whether it’s answering frequently asked questions, providing troubleshooting guides, or sharing success stories, these individual elements collectively build a story about your brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction.

Of course, if you want customers to discover the stories within your content, these narratives need attention-grabbing headlines. We’ll share some tips in the next section.

#4 Craft Compelling Headlines And Calls-To-Action

Do you know what’s worse than not writing customer service content?

It’s when you provide the answers to the pain points, and customers can’t even see that the answers are there. 

So, no matter how good your service content is, unless you actively guide customers to it, your efforts will go unnoticed.

Luckily, captivating headlines and Calls-to-Action (CTAs) can help you avoid that.

Let’s illustrate this through an example.

You’ve probably seen so many “Get started” buttons that you’ve started to overlook them altogether.

To save your content from that fate, use words that make a bigger impact and emphasize the benefits that customers get. 

Here’s an excellent example of this practice from Linktree, a reference landing page company.

Source: Linktree

As you can see in the screenshot above, Linktree has adopted a three-fold CTA strategy.

Where some companies would merely write “Sign up”, Linktree combines three elements to increase the likelihood of people using the service. These are:

  • A compelling, direct headline: Everything you are.
  • One-sentence social proof telling the reader that 35 million people are already using Linktree.
  • A creative CTA button saying Claim your Linktree showing that the service is something the customer can take advantage of.

Such active language doesn’t have to be limited to selling and upselling.

Whenever you want users to complete an action, such as participating in surveys or downloading the latest patch for the software, use actionable and precise words.

Adjusting the tone of your headlines and CTAs makes a difference in drawing customers to explore and engage with your content. 

Here are a few examples:

 Boring 🥱Captivating 🤩
Clear and concise languageLearn more about our solutionsHere’s how we use AI to help you write better emails.
Power words, action verbsSign up for updatesGet access to insider tips!
Focus on benefits for the userExplore our productsDiscover how our products help you reach wider audiences
Highlighting urgencyJoin nowAct fast — limited-time offer ends tomorrow!
Specific numbers or statisticsImprove your productivityExperience 60% faster workflows today!

Lastly, your effective language practices shouldn’t stop at headlines.

The content will perform better if you make it easy to use and understand from start to finish. 

In that area, language is just a starting point. There are more elements to a user-friendly content experience, and we’ll now see what they are.

#5 Make Content Easy To Use And Understand

As we’ve mentioned, helpful information serves no purpose if it’s difficult to find. If customers can’t find relevant information, they’ll become frustrated and possibly abandon your site.

Now, you might be wondering how bad clumsily formatted content can be. After all, it’s just words on the screen.

Well, it could be this bad:

helpscout customer service content bad example
Source: Help Scout

The previous image is Help Scout’s portrayal of the company’s actual customer service content plastered onto a chaotic layout.

Truly, it might just make customers resort to carrier pigeons instead of trying to decode the article about using auto-email responses.

For comparison, look at this screenshot from the company’s real help center. It’s the same article in a much more user-friendly and better-designed format.

helpscout customer service content best practices in one article
Source: Help Scout

As you can see, the instructions are much easier to follow when you break them down into scannable sections.

This practice also allows readers to quickly locate the information they need, making your customer service content more efficient.

Next, don’t forget about the power of visuals.

Visual elements such as images, diagrams, or videos don’t only break up text. They also aid comprehension, clear up confusing concepts, and make the content more engaging.

Help Scout’s auto-reply article (pictured below) includes a helpful screenshot as a visual guide for those who want to see what the process looks like within the app.

helpscout ecample of customer service content with example
Source: Help Scout

Polishing individual article design isn’t enough, though. 

Your entire customer service portal should be well-organized, too. Also, divide content into logical sections that customers can browse easily.

As a final note, some topics are best presented in different media. So don’t hesitate to explore various content types. For instance, how-to videos are excellent for tutorials because the user can follow along and watch at their own pace.

Once your service content is live and available to customers, revisit it regularly so that you can update and improve it when needed.

This leads us to the final item on our customer service best practices list: keeping the content fresh.

#6 Keep Your Customer Service Content Up To Date

You’ve done the majority of the work by publishing the service content. But you’re not done with your content efforts once and for all.

Ongoing maintenance and updates are essential to maximizing the effectiveness of your customer service content. Keeping your content up to date ensures that it stays relevant, accurate, and helpful to your customers.

Failing to do so could cause user frustration, confusion, or even customers leaving your business. 

Even if they stay, you wouldn’t want negative customer feedback like the one below sullying your reviews.

Source: Capterra

So, where to start?

We always suggest starting with what you already have. Therefore, you can turn to product reviews, social media feedback, online forums, and other sources of customer service content that people visit and interact with.

A quick look at the comments will show you whether your customers struggle with anything while trying to follow your instructions.

A different approach requires you to dig below the surface. That’s right; we’re talking about analytics.

Depending on the platform or customer service software you use, you should be able to see what pieces of content get the most visits, if the customers find them helpful, and how they consume the content.

For instance, the following Zendesk report snapshot shows that the Help Center is the most popular channel and that not many people bother logging in when looking for answers.

Source: Zendesk

With such insights, you could make an informed decision about which articles to update first or maybe repurpose content into formats suitable for devices that your customers prefer.

Other metrics that will help you form your content maintenance strategy include:

  • Page visits
  • Top visited articles
  • Failed searches
  • Usage of help documents in support replies
  • Contact rate
  • Average age of the last update

As always, when it comes to analyzing customer data, be careful not to fall into the trap of vanity metrics.

It’s not about what looks best on your reports. Instead, tracking content performance should help you understand customer needs, make necessary adjustments, and optimize the user experience.

And with that, you’re on your way to making your customers informed, supported, and happy with your services.

Going the Extra Mile in Customer Service Content

Ultimately, the success of any SaaS business boils down to good customer service. And that means fostering positive customer interactions and putting customer satisfaction first.

Most people will need customer service or support at some point in their customer journey. Effective problem-solving content can preempt many problems, such as long waiting times or the high cost of maintaining a large customer service team.

But before you rush into creating content, take a moment to audit how your current content aligns with the best practices that we covered here.

Map out the customer journey and use it to plan content operations that align with your customers’ needs and pain points. 

Don’t forget to consistently optimize existing content where needed and create new pieces to fill in gaps in your content offerings.

If you stick to these best practices, your content won’t just effectively solve customer pain points. You’ll also lay the foundation for long-term customer loyalty.


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About The Author

Hi, I’m Ivana Maric Dugalic!

CEO and co-founder of Acomplix, content aficionado, language nerd. Got my Masters in German and English translation, spent years in customer service, and honed the art and craft of content marketing.Now I help businesses use content to create meaningful connections and exceptional experiences for their customers.

Here’s how to reach me: