Working with people is hard. Striving for design that can assist your support team in some of their more complex conversations is even harder. Having spent the last five-plus years working with numerous customers on their outsourced support solutions at Influx, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of know-how when it comes to delighting the masses.
More often than not, supporting your customers is not only tricky, but can also be some pretty emotionally charged water to navigate. While a large part of setting your customers up for success is having the right team on hand to alleviate those stresses, the unsung hero of keeping your customers happy is as easy as a design-focused, proactive approach.
I’ve rounded up the top five support-focused areas where honing your design attention will allow your support team to have better conversations by softening the blow before these conversations even take place.
“Meet the Team” pages
We’ve touched on it in quite literally every interview on our blog: support is becoming more and more automated by the day. While this can be a quick win operationally (read: economically), it tends to leave a sour taste in the mouths of your customers.
A quick and easy way to highlight the fact that your team are living breathing humans is to feature them on your site. Whether through a fully fleshed out “Meet the Team” page or general team graphics casually scattered throughout your digital landscape, putting your team front and center will do wonders in reminding your clients your team members are human before airing their grievances. Which (between you and me) can make client grievances a lot easier to manage.
At Influx, we love to put our team front and center. This highlights not only how real life and non-automated they are (!) but also gives a nice behind the scenes insight to the team. Via Influx Startup Customer Support
Airbnb reinforces their written commitment to support by also highlighting the team behind it. Adding a sense of familiarity and friendliness to what could be considered a rather “serious” page. Via Airbnb Trust and Security
Your help section can often be an overlooked area for design flair—but it shouldn’t be. While this isn’t a suggestion of: “Go bananas with colour, overload with cute characters, make a splash with overly styled headings and all that screams GRAAAAAAPHICS,” you should be mindful that your help center is more often than not a destination where stress and frustration are boiling over.
At Influx, when working with our clients, we try to reinforce that keeping design at the forefront, ensuring the Help Center is neat, tidy, and easy to navigate.
If you want to go that step further from clean design, adding some brand personality to the area can elevate the clinical to a personable and delightful experience for all those who find themselves in need of assistance – i.e. your customers.
The 404-page is essentially a location where you are telling your users, “You’ve clicked a broken link… you goose.” It is a destination reserved for frustration, confusion, and often—deep-seeded regret. While this may not be a typical page you would associate with customer support, a well-designed 404-page can help defuse all sorts of customer woes.
In recent years, teams have taken great pleasure in using the opportunity to surprise users and turn what would be considered a negative experience into a positive one. Making your job of defusing a 404-style frustration that little bit easier if and when the client reaches out.
Often overlooked real estate to dazzle and delight your customers is your email signature. In the age of digital and sticky, ping-pong-like communication, your digital footprint is the perfect place to leave a lasting impression.
Unifying the Influx team signature, we wanted to firstly highlight our professional and global operation…
…communicating locations straight-up to easily manage time-zone expectations. Via Influx email signature.
At Influx, we recently unified our teams’ approach towards signatures. The aim of this was to highlight our professional, operationally diverse, and global team. As we exist as a customer support outfit that spans four time zones with varying support functions, we felt it was important to bring the team together from a brand perspective, but also clearly communicate where in the world we are located for total transparency to our client.
Keeping it fresh and punchy, 99designs has community designed signatures for their team to use…
…allowing the staff to let their personalities shine, graphically. Via 99designs email signature.
If you wanted to walk on the slightly wilder side of design, leaning on the 99designs by Vista approach may be the right direction for you. While remaining clear and communicative, the area leaves room for individuality and fun, giving the sender a stamp of personality in what can often feel is a stream of faceless communication.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When looking towards elevating support conversations, sprucing up some of your most conversation-worthy topics is in your best interest. Studies show 90% of information transmitted to your brain is visual and is processed at a rate 60,000x faster than text. Why fight those numbers and make people read everything?
If you are finding some of your juiciest support conversations are around everyday topics like how you work or what’s your refund policy, give those snippets of information some life by transforming them into informative illustrations. It’ll make the basics easier for your customer base to digest, and—when done successfully—reduce volume to support.
Accent graphics for seemingly boring pages
Leaning on accent graphics to excite customers with unexpected personality can prove an equally winning formula, especially when taking bland, informational style content and giving it a splash of life. Not only will it make your page pop, but (as pinpointed earlier), it will aid in giving your audience a keener grasp of what you are trying to communicate by exciting their brain to truly digest the information at hand.
Enabling your customers to retain necessary information—be it on pricing, FAQs, or product features – will help your support people do their best work. Setting your users up for success inadvertently sets your team up for success, and that in and itself is the goal!
The use of illustrations on Dropboxes Plans page may not feel like much, but they do single handedly turn what would be a pretty dry, very white page into something a bit more engaging and human – making the information less ominous. Via Dropbox Plans
Nothing but love for Intercom’s odd shaped online mascots and vibrant colour splashes throughout their site – both exciting the eyes and engaging the mind to really take it all in, keeping you informed and away from their support lines. Via Intercom Messages
Influx provides customer service as a service for brands and tech companies using a complete support operation on demand, available 24/7, every day of the year (including holidays). This operation includes agents and managers working across all time zones, automated training, QA, data and insights. Sound interesting? Get in touch with Influx to learn more.