3 Ways Website Self-Service Helps you Learn about your Visitors

Launching a new or redesigned website can be a nerve wracking thing. Does it have the right features? Will visitors like what they find? If not, why not?

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Answering these questions is hard:

  • Analytics reveal what, not why. Knowing your bounce rate is 80% is useless if you don’t know why.
  • Usability testing reveals nothing about usefulness. It can tell you there’s a confusing button label, but not a confusing value proposition.
  • Visitors ignore surveys. Especially the visitors who are unimpressed or confused, who are the ones you want to hear from.

I’ll let you in on a secret: there’s a data source that every company has that avoids all of these problems: support requests. When visitors submit a ticket, they reveal all kinds of specific problems, confusions, and needs. These insights provide a snapshot of what your visitors are thinking, telling you which features are missing, which features are broken, and perhaps most importantly, how visitors feel about your product.

How do you use support requests to efficiently learn about your site?

How do you mine a never ending stream of text for insights? The answer is to stop the stream with website self-service. Allow your visitors to easily find answers on their own and you’ll get three huge benefits:

  1. Quickly see how manyvisitors have the same issues by tracking which answers they view. This helps you prioritize problems.
  2. Easily discover new problems, since most new support requests weren’t addressed by existing self-service content.
  3. Verify that product improvements resolve problems by waiting for views of the relevant self-service content to drop.
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We recently talked to an AnswerDash customer that saw exactly these benefits. The site was helpgidget.org, an exciting new way to teach programming. The game’s designer, my Ph.D. student Michael Lee, decided to add AnswerDash to the site before launch, seeded AnswerDash with 50 frequently asked questions.

Two weeks after launch and 1,000 signups later, he’d learned a ton of things about his visitors without lifting a finger:

  • Within a day, AnswerDash revealed that 20% of visitors viewed the question, “What is the code editor?” Mike quickly added an in-game tutorial that explained this and saw views on this question drop dramatically. Problem solved.
  • Visitors asked new questions that highlighted other confusion with the game’s programming language, user interface, and even privacy policies. Mike turned all of these into product priorities for his team, driving the next two weeks of design and implementation.
  • Several of the questions revealed that players who had already beaten the game wanted to return to previous puzzles. This led to a whole new product consideration that he had not antcipated.

Best of all, by using AnswerDash website self-service, Mike delivered answers to hundreds of users without Mike having to write a single email.

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