How Manufacturers Can Improve Their Customer Support Pages

Websites act like they’re trying to get laid. They flaunt sexy, new features to every passerby, flex their competitive differences and push for a quick conversion - “Come on baby, I got a brochure right here for you!”

While bravado may bewitch a few visitors, the customers of manufacturers need something more than a one-night-stand. Manufacturing customers need a partner that won’t run away after the sale. A partner that will be there throughout installation, training and (eventually) maintenance. They require a relationship. To attract this audience, manufacturing websites must expand marketing past the purchase, and provide proof that they can foster productive, protracted partnerships.

Answer Actual Questions

Your demonstration of dedication should start with support pages that address real customer concerns. Too often, companies let the paranoia of “not appearing perfect” transform their support content into fabricated, thinly-veiled sales pitches.

Q: How much time can I save with Product X?
A: Product X’s patented features, Y and Z, will save you thousands of dollars each month.

Not only is this approach redundant (aren’t these benefits already on product pages?), it suggests that you don’t understand common customer pains. No one expects perfection, so demonstrate empathy. Talk to your sales-reps, read industry websites, survey customers; find the questions customers are asking and answer them. This shows that you’re in-touch with the market and willing to help.

Google Analytics can help pinpoint customer questions. If you’ve linked webmaster tools with your analytics account, then you will have access to the “Queries” report (found in Acquisition —> Search Engine Optimization). “Queries” displays which keywords/phrases triggered your website to appear in Google results. Type in “how”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “why” into the search field within the “Queries" report and see what phrases appear. Linking your site search to Google Analytics will offer further insight into the questions visitors are asking on your website.

Streamline Content

Visitors are frustrated, if not flat-out pissed when seeking help from a supplier. Yet, manufacturers still trot out congested, confusing support pages, and squander a golden opportunity to build good-will. Ensure your support page does everything possible to alleviate stress with clean, consolidated content.

  • Prominently display a dedicated support phone number.
  • Cut down on the text.
  • DON’T SELL PRODUCT on the page! At this point, your ability to aid the customer is the only pitch that matters.
  • Show pictures of your staff to let customers know that they will be talking to a competent human.

Check out www.standardimaging.com/support for an excellent example.

Don’t lock helpful .pdfs and content

Placing brochures and videos behind a “locked” registration wall = lead generation tactic.

Placing support and reference material behind a “locked” registration wall = infuriating.

A customer who wants to research their problem shouldn’t be required to fill out a fifteen question form. If you’re concerned about competitors getting damaging information from manuals or trouble-shooting guides, then it’s a sign you need to rethink your technical writing (or improve your product).