Flash Tutorials – Solving Customer Service

This post is by Vito Ceniti, who is the President Netasis Internet Inc. Netasis owns and operates DemoDemo, a company that provides Flash tutorials (designed for customer service) for a variety of companies.

Any company that plans on running a successful online business understands that customer service is an integral part of the success formula. With growing competition in all business sectors, it is critical that online business owners allocate sufficient resources to their customer support departments so that they are not left behind by their competitors.

Knowledge Base documents are commonly used as a self-serve component to technical support. The problem is that even when companies take the time and effort to create comprehensive KB resources, many end users don’t bother to refer to them. Many find them verbose, dry and boring. Text based documentation serves its purpose, but the challenge is to get customers to actually read them. Many don’t, and end up taking the easier route by placing a telephone call to Customer Support, or at the very least, sending in a support ticket.

More and more, one of the more innovative tools used that has proven to be extremely effective in providing support and reducing support costs is Flash tutorials. People are visual by nature. They prefer to actually see how something is done rather than having to read how it’s done. Most Flash tutorials will have a playbar that allows the user to stop, pause, fast forward or rewind. This level of interactivity is very helpful since it allows the end user to effectively follow along step by step – with the Flash tutorial in one browser and their own control panel in another.

At DemoDemo.com, we have been producing Flash tutorials since 2002. At first, our target market was strictly web hosting companies. While they still remain a large portion of our customer base, we are continually and increasingly receiving orders for custom Flash tutorials from other business sectors – including medical, stock market, software, auction, car rental, and on and on. Basically, any business that requires that their customers perform task(s) online could benefit from introducing Flash tutorials to their customer support arsenal. One important key is to make the tutorials as task specific as possible. This allows the user to find the help they are looking for quickly and effortlessly. Another key is to create a proper “flow” to the overall movie. Too fast – it will confuse and frustrate the user. Too slow – it will bore the user who will end up quitting the session before learning to perform the task.

It’s always tempting for business owners to try to save money by creating their own tutorials inhouse. Some are successful at it, but all too often, the end result does not provide for an effective solution. A poorly produced tutorial will (ironically) drive up the frequency of support tickets. And of course, one should not overlook the initial cost of tutorial creation software as well as the significant learning curve required to use the tool. We always recommend that this work be outsourced to an experienced tutorial provider.

Flash tutorials, when presented properly, significantly reduce the total number of support tickets that an online business receives related to routine tasks performed by their end users. Given that on average, a company’s expenses allocated to customer support can exceed 50% or more, there is a real and valid concern of rising support costs. Outsourcing customer support, while effective, is an ongoing expense. By contrast, Flash tutorials are a one time purchase and need only be updated when the interface in the tutorial has been changed or updated.

From a psychological standpoint, it’s also important to note that “empowering” end users to solve their own problems is very powerful. When users successfully complete a task with the help of a Flash tutorial, they feel a sense of accomplishment that would otherwise not be present when merely submitting a support ticket. Once they feel that immediate reinforcement, they are far more likely to seek out the Tutorial Section on a site before even considering contacting a Support representative. If the tutorials are properly produced, they will provide an immediate solution 24/7. No need to wait for a response from Support the next business day.

At this point, there is no question that Flash tutorials are an extremely effective tool in the Customer Support arena. They increase customer satisfaction, reduce overall support costs and provide the business an added layer of professionalism. In the end, it is a win-win situation. The end users are allowed to solve their support issues on an immediate self-serve basis, and the companies reap the benefits of lowered supports costs, reflecting in a healthier bottom line.

2 Responses to “Flash Tutorials – Solving Customer Service”

  1. Service Untitled » How to reduce calls to customer service. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Oct 18, 07 at 3:08 pm

    […] More self-service.Like email support, a lot of companies have terrible self-service options. If you can make your self-service offerings actually useful (consider Flash tutorials, checking out this post, as well as this post) , then customers will be a lot more likely to use them. […]

  2. Campervan Rental New Zealand said:

    Apr 16, 08 at 12:20 am

    Maybe I am not smart, but I found it hard to learn just by the flash tutorial