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building a help center

Retain Users by Building a Great Help Center and Community

Reading time: about 4 min

Posted by: Mitchell Cox

Customer support. User education. Help Centers. Communities. Often, customer support is cast aside as boring or unimportant. Call centers in foreign countries replace quality user education content, and companies fail to provide forums for passionate users to help other users. This approach is a mistake.

User education is one of the most important aspects of any software product. If users don’t understand how to use your product, they won’t use it. No matter how intuitive a product may be, user education material in the form of help centers and communities bridges the product-knowledge gap for users and allows them to better utilize your product. From there, the math is quite simple: If users can better utilize your product, they will use it, pay for it, keep using it, and invite their colleagues to use it too.

So, how exactly do you build and scale a great help center and thriving user-driven community? Here are a few steps to help guide your work:

1. Write great help center content.

Remember, your users come to the help center when they have a question about how to use your product. They want answers. Give them the answer they so desperately seek by writing clear, concise, and easily-digestible content. Take extra time to ensure that your documentation is up-to-date with the latest UI changes and that the steps outlined actually match what the user will see in the product. Overall, keep it simple. Give users the answer they need, and get them back into the product as quickly as possible.

2. Engage users to develop a healthy user community forum.

Users are the key to a healthy community help forum. Engage users, develop relationships with your top forum contributors, and encourage healthy discussions within your community. Users can provide individual perspectives on the product that your help center content cannot. Your help center focuses on general user education, while your community focuses on specific, niche questions from individual users. Engage users. Provide them ample opportunity to engage with your team. Make your community the central hub for user engagement by creating a space for users to help other users.

3. Focus on design.

Just like any other product, the design of your help center and community is incredibly important. Make design decisions that help users get answers to their questions quickly. For example, add a prominent search feature to allow users to search for relevant articles. Additionally, you can add links to your most popular content to the home page of your help center to allow users to access important content without ever leaving the home page.

 

4. Identify KPIs and make data-driven decisions.

Data should drive every aspect of your help center, from what content you write, to how to design your help pages, to how you interact with users in your community. Digging into the data will allow you to understand how users interact with your help center and community. In turn, that data will help you make better decisions about how to improve your help center to better serve users. Metrics such as page views, bounce rates, and time on page can tell intricate stories of user engagement, allowing you to optimize user flows and help users access your content more easily.

5. Remember your goal: Help users.

At the end of the day, the goal of your help center and community is to help your users better utilize your product. By writing great help center content, engaging users, designing intuitive interfaces, and making data-driven decisions, you can help users get the most out of your app, leading to big dividends towards your other KPIs.

Overall, the key to creating a great help center and community is quite simple: Treat it as a product! Write great content, engage users, focus on design, measure key metrics, and, above all else, focus on helping users. Focusing on the help center and community as a key product for your company will enable you to create great user experiences and build strong, user-driven product. Check out our Lucidchart Help Center for more ideas and inspiration.

About the author

Mitchell Cox graduated with an Honors B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah in December 2014, and joined Lucid's Client Success team after working in chapter development and expansion for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. Outside of his work at Lucid, Mitchell coaches CrossFit, is passionate about sexual assault education and prevention, and enjoys Utah's beautiful outdoors.

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