Top tips for building a thriving help center

Your customers want to help themselves. They are more technically savvy than ever and have come to prefer the DIY approach to solving their issues and answering their own questions. A help center is a must for your business — but that doesn't mean you shouldn't talk to your customers. Let's discuss what a help center means, why you need it, and some best practices.

Published August 22, 2013
Last updated April 22, 2021

One of the first things you need to know when you're learning about help centers: Self-service matters. Not a little bit... Self-service matters a lot.

Why self-service is important in customer service

The evidence is overwhelming — your customers like to find answers on their own!

In our own research we've found that most people prefer self-service over speaking with a representative. Almost three-quarters of Gen Z respondents and more than half of millennials, in fact, said they start with a search or a company’s help center.

In 2019 we found that customers were almost twice as likely to use self-service as a company is to offer it: 40% of customers start with a search engine or help center when getting in touch with support, while only about 20% of teams are offering self-service. A year later, in 2020, still less than a third of support teams were offering self-service.

In the guide that follows, we'll help you understand what it takes to build an all-in-one knowledge base, community, and customer portal.

Why you need a help center

  • A help center increases customer satisfaction by providing better service and meeting the needs of customers who prefer self-service
  • A help center reduces costs and increase efficiency by eliminating repetitive costs so agents can focus on more strategic tasks
  • A help center grows your business community and build deeper connections between your company and customers

A note on ticket deflection

“Deflection sounds defensive,” says Dave Dyson, senior customer service evangelist at Zendesk. “It's not that you don't want to talk to your customers — but you do want them to have information, readily and easily, so that they can solve problems themselves.”

How to kick off your help center

Setting up a successful help center is a big undertaking, in terms of effort and importance. We hope these steps and tips make it easier and also more fun.

  1. The planning stage: Set goals
  2. Use data to drive your success
  3. Create a great experience for app and mobile
  4. Develop an FAQ page
  5. Encourage employee participation
  6. Focus on the user experience
  7. Market your help center

1. The planning stage: Set goals



How knowledge-centered service benefits customer support teams


2. Use data to drive your success


It is important to begin measuring the performance of your help denter from day one. Keeping track of things like:

  • 社區分析統計
  • 解決時間
  • Percentage of issues resolved by staff vs. those solved via the help center

will help you understand if your help center is effective and what areas need to be improved.


Using data to make a great help center

Our research has shown that tickets with links to knowledge articles do better, with a 23% lower resolution time, 20% fewer reopens, and a 2% better CSAT rating on average.

We found that companies with high-performing self-service offerings share certain tactics.

  • Start with your top 5 articles
  • Get agents involved in content creation
  • Leverage automation


The data-driven path to building a great help center

3. Create a great experience for app and mobile

It is important to provide a seamless experience so your customers have the same level of service whether they're visiting your help center on a laptop, tablet, or phone.

Customers can use a mobile app to trigger a support workflow automation. Take the Grubhub mobile app example: Users can make add to their orders and get refunds right on their phones. Same goes with their mobile app for delivery drivers—users can flag delivery issues without calling anyone.

screenshot of a mobile app interface


4 ways to create mobile customer engagement

4. Develop an FAQ page

As you explore how to offer self-service options, an FAQ page can be a heavy hitter in your tool kit. Useful for customers with a wide range of needs, it’s affordable and quick to set up. While an FAQ is traditionally thought of as a basic list of questions and answers, it can work in tandem with your help center, allowing you to build and manage help articles over time and as your company scales.


The 8 best FAQ page examples (and how to make your own)

5. Encourage employee participation




  • 市場行銷:瞭解客戶之間的互動,並幫助促進互動關係。客服中心也是一個找到並熟識客戶技術傳教士的良好方式。
  • 產品與支援:幫助解答疑問、回覆評論。這些部門協同合作可將從社區學到的知識用在加速反饋週期上。他們還可藉此機會聆聽客戶的想法,收集反饋意見。
  • Sales: being active in the help center connects your sales, the front-line of your business, with your customers. Also, the help center gives excellent insight for an ongoing sales cycle.



6. 專注於使用者體驗







7. Market your help center

What's the use of a help center if no one is using it? Once you have selected your technology, set your goals, and built out your site, you need to drive users there. With this step, it is important to involve your marketing team, or at least to start thinking like a marketer. How are you going to invite and attract visitors? How are you going to promote the site or even particular aspects of the site? And, are there ways to leverage the community to help support other marketing programs?



How is an internal help desk different?

Maybe you've seen the term internal help desk and wondered. This differs from a standard help desk that serves customers en masse, using a software product to organize conversations. Many corporate decision makers are including internal help desks into their accelerated digital plans. An internal help desk is a centralized hub for employees to access information around process, products, and services that are offered internally. An internal help desk is a key aspect of an excellent employee experience, especially as ongoing shifts in the world and the workplace force employers to compete for top talent.


有了合適的合作夥伴與精准的建議,客服中心的設定與維護比想像得更容易。儘早確定目標,讓它們來為您的實作提供指導,而且在做決策時,始終將您的客戶放在最重要的位置。客服中心設定完成後,您即可開始衡量其是否成功 —— 而在您的不斷參與下,成功只會越來越大。

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