We are happy to welcome back Loni Spratt Brown as our first repeat guest for Episode 25 of Strikedeck Radio. As head of CS at Entelo, she talks about how she has been able to configure Salesforce to meet the needs of her Customer Success team. Tune in to hear what she's set up for the customer lifecycle, custom objects with sales handoff, customer advocacy, and reporting.
By Jeremy Gillespie
Chances are, you’ve heard about search engine optimization (SEO). But, what about SEO and customer success? When developed properly, your help center can be a huge source of organic traffic. And today, you’re going to learn how to make sure your support center is properly optimized for search.
Before jumping into specific steps to optimize your content, let’s discuss the foundation of SEO. I won't try to explain Google’s algorithm, just know its sole purpose is to spoon-feed searchers with high-quality, relevant information about their query. They determine the quality and relevance in a few different ways, but the core pillars are:
This consists mostly of the written content on the page, but also includes images, videos, and other content on the page. It’s important to point out, this includes something called “meta description tags.” Most help centers will let you edit these and they should concisely describe what is on the page.
Links are incredibly important and often overlooked. Links fall into two categories:
- Internal - link to other pages on your site
- External - link to page on 3rd party sites
For your help center you’ll likely focus on internal linking more often. When writing content, be sure to link to other helpful content on the topic they’re researching. Referencing another page (i.e. linking to it) gives Google more context about the content on the page.
This is a little technical for what we’re covering today, but “structure” refers to the site architecture, how Google crawls your pages, and what is indexed (shows up in search results).
It’s important to note - one area where many companies run into issues is having duplicate content in the help center. Duplicate content will confuse a search engine, because it won’t know which page to rank over the other, which can cause lower rankings.
Now that the basics are out of the way, the next 7 steps will put you ahead of the pack and get you in the good graces of your marketing team.
Pro tip: Work with your marketing team to develop a strategy specific for your company and relevant keywords.
1. Be original.
All content you create should be high quality, but keep in mind that search engines also favor original content. When writing content make sure it specifically addresses the user’s problem in detail and is unique. In-depth and specific articles keep the user engaged longer, and the time a user spends on a page signals to Google the page is relevant and helpful.
2. Provide a great user experience.
Ensure your Help Center looks good and is easy to navigate. To create an enjoyable experience, make sure you have:
- Clear and easy to understand article titles
- Tags or labels in your articles to easily find similar topics
- No broken links
- High resolution images for help to demonstrate solutions
A good user experience will help users get the most out of the help center and visit more pages. Visiting multiple pages in a session is another positive signal to Google.
3. Avoid keyword stuffing.
A common trap people fall into is stuffing as many keywords into their articles as possible. This will actually harm your Google ranking. Keywords should be feel natural in the article. Google recommends focusing on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.
4. Use human-readable links.
It sounds obvious, but make sure your links are easy to read with keywords. Keywords in URLs will help increase search rankings and place more authority on your content.
5. Choose a title that concisely describes the content of your article.
The title is the most prominent piece of information in the search results and carries a lot of weight for rankings. It’s also what people use to decide whether to click the link or move on. Take time to write titles that are clear and easy to understand what the article is about.
6. Promote your content.
Highlight useful and high-quality content on social media or in your Help Center. Promote important and notable announcements on the homepage of your Help Center for greater visibility. This will increase your site's reputation and Google ranking.
7. Look at the numbers.
Lastly, but most important - use Google Analytics to analyze information about visitors and Help Center content. By knowing which articles have the best metrics, you’ll be able to refine future articles to improve search ranking.
It’s important to note, changes to your SEO rankings will not happen overnight. This is a long-term game and rankings will build over time. Use this article as your template when creating new content for your Help Center. If you follow these 7 steps, you’ll be light years ahead of your competition.
Are you a CSM who wants to augment your professional tool kit? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers online training and workshops on core CS topics like Customer Goals and Outcomes. For more information on this and our other classes and workshops, please visit TheSuccessLeague.io
Jeremy Gillespie - Jeremy is a growth marketing expert who loves using complex data to build creative retention solutions. By leveraging data and technology, he excels at creating innovative retention and expansion marketing programs for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Jeremy is a founding advisor to The Success League, and is also the founder of Built to Scale, a Bay Area consulting firm focused on helping businesses build scalable customer acquisition and retention programs. He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from Point Park University. He's a proud former Pittsburgher, currently living in San Francisco.
Planning on attending Pulse in San Mateo next month? Kristen will be there and would love to meet up with you. Please reach out to schedule a coffee or a meeting to catch up.
Click here for details on Pulse 2018 and to register.
We are pleased to announce that our CEO, Kristen Hayer, will be joining Amity to deliver a free webinar on How To Engage Top Executives. Want practical tips on how to have conversations with executives 3 levels above you? Interested in learning how to engage your champion's boss in the first place? Then you're not going to want to miss this webinar!
March 28, 2018 10AM PACIFIC / 1PM EASTERN
Want more information on this topic? Here is a recent blog post by Kristen that will interest you.
Looking forward to seeing you at the webinar!
By Kristen Hayer
What makes a great customer experience?
I travel for work. A lot. I’ve been on the road about 75% of the time since October. I stay in hotels all over the country, and I’ve had mostly good travel experiences and some great ones as well. However, on a recent trip I had a terrible hotel stay. It got me thinking: What are the differences between an amazing customer experience and a bad one? What should we as customer success professionals be striving for, and what do we need to be careful to avoid? Based on two of my recent hotel stays, here’s my take:
Personal & Personalized
I recently spent 4 nights in well-rated, small chain hotel. Let’s call it The Bad Place. I was expecting good service, but instead was greeted by an unenthusiastic staff member who directed me to my room with a vague gesture down the hall. I arrived late in the evening so I chalked the interaction up to that. However, I was there for the better part of a week and nobody remembered me, even though I ate at the hotel restaurant nightly. No one greeted the guests as they came and went from the hotel, and the entire experience was cold and impersonal. It was clear that we were all just numbers.
In contrast, I had a fantastic experience at Distrikt Hotel in NYC. Distrikt is a boutique hotel in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, close to several of our clients and the theater district. It was my second stay at the hotel. Both the front desk staff and the restaurant manager remembered me from my prior stay and greeted me as a returning guest. I found a personalized welcome note in my room. By the end of the week the restaurant manager knew my favorite wine and to point me to healthier options on the menu. By simply checking to see that I was a repeat guest and being observant during my stay, they created a warm, personal experience.
My stay at The Bad Place was anything but effortless. The room was not stocked with toiletries or cleaned. I had to call twice during my stay to get basic housekeeping services (I’m not high maintenance, I just expect dirty towels to be replaced!). In addition, there was no advice on where to park or how to get easily from my car to my room. I didn’t realize until the last day of my visit that I could have been parking around the back of the building and eliminating the long, rainy walk from my car. It felt like work to come back to a hotel that should have felt restful after a long day.
On the other hand, my stay at Distrikt was seamless. They offered online check-in the day of my stay, so that when I arrived I could just grab my keys and head to my room. The front desk staff offered maps of the city, and advice on transportation options. The room was stocked with bottled water, enough towels and toiletries for several people, guidebooks for NYC, simple wireless instructions, and directions on how to order food from Seamless delivered to the hotel. I never made a call to the front desk, because all of my needs had been anticipated.
It goes without saying that my experience at The Bad Place didn’t exceed my expectations. They didn’t even meet them. At a minimum, hotels should be clean and their staff should be friendly.
Distrikt Hotel did three things that took my experience from great to exceptional. First, I brought my daughter with me for the weekend so we could see a show and spend some time together. The hotel recommended a fantastic restaurant nearby that gave us a great dinner and got us out in time to get to the theater. During the week, I ordered food from Seamless in an attempt to work some healthy food into my week. Instead of calling to let me know my food had arrived at the front desk, which was what I was expecting, one of the hotel staff delivered it to my room. Finally, on my last night I was getting some work done in the restaurant, and the manager swung by my table with a Distrikt hat for my daughter. They remembered her from earlier in the week and thought she’d enjoy a souvenir of her NYC trip.
Basics do matter. At a minimum, you need a good product that meets the customer’s expectations and delivers value. However, if you want to create an exceptional experience it’s the little things that really count: extra effort, thoughtful gifts, and warm greetings. Consider ways that you can take your customer experience from good to great by incorporating personalization, making it effortless, and exceeding expectations.
The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers online training and workshops on core CS topics like Customer Goals and Outcomes and Kicking off the Relationship. For more information on these and our other classes and workshops, please visit TheSuccessLeague.io
Kristen Hayer - Kristen believes that customer success is the key to driving revenue, client retention and exceptional customer experiences. Her areas of expertise include developing success goals and metrics, designing the optimal customer journey, selecting technology, training teams, and building playbooks. Prior to founding The Success League, Kristen built and led several award-winning customer success teams. Over the past 20 years she has been a success, sales, and marketing executive, primarily working with growth-stage tech companies. Kristen has her BA from Seattle Pacific University and her MBA from the University of Washington.