Self-serve Customer Support Starts with Google
Where do your customers start when they have support questions? Do they go to your website and navigate to your support page or do they start with Google? Many people, especially more web savvy people will start with Google, a tool that they are very comfortable using.
Looking at one of Vanilla’s own support forums, a whopping 96% of traffic came by way of search engines, 88% of traffic came from Google specifically. Google is also the main driver of traffic to other self-serve support resources on that website. That’s a lot of traffic from Google.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Customers will be happy if they can quickly find an effective solution. Unfortunately, too many companies bury support resources or present customers with frustrating support wizards. A Google search lets your customers cut to the chase.
There is nothing inherently bad about this for companies; thankfully Google doesn’t charge for the traffic it sends you. Where this can go wrong is if your support resources don’t show up in Google search results. Not only do customers risk being frustrated by solutions they find on 3rd party sites, companies lose out on the opportunity to interact and engage with their customers.
Most support forums, knowledge bases and FAQs are SEO friendly by nature. The content is well organized and keyword rich. Content that your support team might be sharing on 3rd party services such as Facebook, Twitter or even in Slack channels is not as SEO friendly though Google has recently begun indexing and displaying Facebook content in results.
If you think it’s preferable for customers to go to you directly when seeking support, view the Google traffic as an acquisition channel. Make it easy for your customers to get help by visiting your website. Customer will almost always choose the path of least resistance.