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  • Chris Broughton

Incorporating Videos into Your Help Center: An Expert Guide


person watching an educational video

Online video has become the go-to medium for learning about virtually anything imaginable. Platforms like YouTube and TikTok have revolutionized how people find information, as many now prefer video over traditional search engine results.


The reason behind this is simple - videos are more engaging than text and images. Some studies show that people can retain up to 95% of what they see in a video, compared to only 10% of what they read.


Yet — despite all this — many customer help centers are lagging behind.


The need for video content in help centers


Although one of the main goals for knowledge managers and support teams is to ensure that clients can learn about their products quickly and effectively, many have yet to adopt video as a format in their help centers.


It’s a big disconnect.


Effective help center content improves self-service and enables far more a more scalable customer experience — and video is a proven format for educating and engaging people.


So why aren’t more customer service teams using video? Commonly, support managers think that:

  • The creation of content is too difficult or too costly.

  • It takes too much time away from other priorities.

  • Once created, videos will quickly become outdated or hard to manage.


All of these concerns are addressed in this article.


Identifying which support topics are a good fit for video


Some topics are a better fit for video than others.


Start by looking at your support tickets and identifying which common topics aren't based on product defects. A great way to identify topics that are a good fit for video is to keep an eye out for the phrase "How do I…". This type of question is something that you can easily solve with simple video content that educates your customers.


If you can’t find great insights mining your tickets, another approach is to use your help center’s analytics to identify articles that are long and popular. You can do this by looking at articles with both a high word count and a high volume of total views.


These articles are getting engagement, but their length means they can take your customers a long time to read. Because of the length, comprehension and retention probably isn’t as high. This means it might take customers multiple attempts to grasp the solution you’re trying to share.


Put another way, these articles require a lot of effort from your customers.


Embedding a video above content like this can often satisfy the majority of users who land on the page. If they can’t find what they need in the video, they can then choose to delve into the more detailed text for specific information.


Once you have identified some articles with potential, you should create a project plan. A simple spreadsheet or a dedicated project tool such as Asana or Trello can help to assign people to video creation tasks and track completion.


Creating high-quality video content for customers


You might be wondering: how do I even begin to record video content?


Let’s be clear: help center videos should not require the same level of polish as marketing content.


The purpose of an educational video in your help center is to guide the user from a state of uncertainty to a position where they can complete a task. These videos don’t need to be flashy or polished — they need to be clear, concise, and easy to understand.


If you’re planning to record videos yourself, a good microphone is a smart first investment.


Your microphone dictates the quality of your audio, and in many help center videos what you hear — not what you see — has the largest impact on the perceived quality.


Picture of the MAONO microphone

For those on a budget, a MAONO microphone, available on Amazon, delivers impressive results.


Simple background audio tracks — available from places like Epidemic Sound or AudioJungle — are another easy way to up the quality of your content (without a big investment).


Lastly, you should always consider using chapters within your help center videos. Chapters make navigating through the video content a lot easier, saving your customers time and effort.


Example of chapters in video

Chapters will break a single video into sections and make navigation easier for the viewer who is only interested in a particular subject.


Finding the time for creating help center videos


Smaller support and documentation teams may not feel they have the capacity to create video content.


But keep in mind the end goal of great help center videos: reduced ticket volume and happier, more engaged customers.


Plus, as mentioned above, creating videos for your help center doesn’t have to be a large time investment. Simply dedicating at least one individual who enjoys content creation — even for part of their work week — will be a worthwhile investment of time.


AI tools have made it even quicker to go from an idea to completion. ChatGPT can create a video script from the copy of a complex article, without any cost. Other AI tools — covered later in this article — make video production even easier.

Want to learn about other ChatGPT use cases in Customer Support? Check out our ChatGPT Promps Guide for Customer Support Teams.

If you simply can’t find internal capacity to create your videos, another option is to use external resources like Fiverr. It can take some trial and error to find freelancers that are a good fit for you, but this inexpensive approach lets you pay for videos on a per-video basis.


Tooling for creating help center videos


The simplest way to get content into your articles would be to upload raw video files directly to your help center. However, this approach won’t give you many insights into your video’s performance.


Selecting a tool with analytics and other functionality will lead to better long-term results. There are a few different tool-related items you should keep in mind.


Screen recording


There are many tools that allow you to record your screen and audio.


Look for the ones that can also offer hosting, surveying and video analytics, such as Vidyard, Wistia and Loom. You may even be fortunate to have these tools already in your organization for other use cases, like sales or marketing.


For a basic video editing solution you could use Quicktime, iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. These are completely free to use and offer simple drag and drop interfaces.


screenshot of iMovie user interface

iMovie offers a simple and intuitive interface, while also being able to produce a high quality output.


Animation


Other online video creation tools, such as Vyond, enable you to create animated videos with an easy learning curve. Their new AI based option, Vyond Go, can even generate videos from a copy and paste of your article or script.


For some topics, animated videos can be more engaging than simple screen recordings. They also allow you to be more creative in how you communicate your message. While that’s not always necessary for simple “how-to” questions, it can be a really useful way to explain topics like a new feature’s value prop.


Vyond tool

A tool like Vyond offers different styles of creating animated content. The example here is ‘whiteboard animation’, which helps to focus attention on important visual areas.



Accessibility and translation


To make your video content accessible to viewers with disabilities and align with accessibility standards like WCAG and ADA, you should always add closed captioning. And if you’re serving customers from multiple countries, you’ll always want to consider translating your videos into different languages.

​Need help localizing your Help Center? Use the Help Center Manager app to automatically translate your Zendesk articles.

Many video tools offer both of these as features — just do your due diligence before making your choice.


AI video creation tools


There are a number of AI tools that not only generate video scripts, but also voice overs, background audio and visuals — within seconds. These allow you to avoid using your team’s time to create voice recordings and can increase consistency across your content.


Synthesia, as an example, uses AI avatars to present your script, creating a more human-like experience. There is also an option to include screen recordings as part of the output. Here’s a demonstration of what you can expect.


An alternative approach, offered by Visla, involves seamlessly combining stock videos and images to construct engaging stories.


And if all you’re after is voiceovers, Speechify has you covered.


Integrating videos into your help center


Video placement


You’ve created your first videos and now it’s time to embed them.


If the video provides an overview of the entire article, the optimal placement for it would be above the fold, close to the top. Due to how easy it is to absorb information via video, it's generally a safe assumption that visitors will prioritize watching a video over reading.


However, sometimes a long article can mean a long video. When that happens, it’s often a better idea to break the video up into several short videos. The short videos are less intimidating to customers, and you’re then able to embed them directly into the most relevant sections.


Searchability


If you aren’t careful, you can upload videos to your help center that aren’t going to return in a help center or Google search.


If your videos are solely based on the article’s text, this might not be a concern. But when that’s not the case, it’s a major problem.


To solve this, some video tools automatically add a specialized video metadata object in JSON LD format. This metadata provides search engine crawlers with some context about your video, making it searchable.


Check our guide on optimizing your Zendesk Help Center for SEO to learn more about making your Help Center visible for search engines.


Creating video libraries


Once you’ve created a substantial amount of content, you may also want to develop an external library that can house the videos.


This enables your audience to search, explore, and binge your video content. After all, that's a behavior many of us are familiar with when using platforms like Netflix!


Good examples of this type of experience are Sophos Techvids and Shopify Help Center.


Sophos help center

Sophos have used a Vidyard Video Hub to build their support library for a distraction free experience.


Gather customer feedback


When you’re testing a new approach, it’s also vital to gather data and feedback on your experiment.

Many video tools will provide you with analytics on how customers engage with your videos. Vidyard and Wistia, as examples, give you information like rewatches, drop-off points, and video heatmaps.

Wistia analytics

Source: Wistia


You should supplement your video tool’s analytics with your help center’s analytics.


If you’re using Zendesk, the Help Center Analytics app gives you all the info you need to understand how your help center is performing. On top of metrics like views and self-service score, it also enables you to collect direct feedback on articles from your users.

Collect help center feedback


Of course, you can always survey your customers about your videos’ helpfulness, too. Some tools include this functionality within their feature set.

Feedback on videos

Obtaining direct feedback on a per video basis is important for understanding how well the video is resonating with your audience.


Conclusion


In this day and age, there’s no reason for support leaders to shy away from creating videos for their help centers. Large swathes of the global population have indicated a preference for video content. It’s proven to be effective and engaging.


And with the plethora of video tools and generative AI solutions available on the market, the barriers to creating great and helpful video content are lower than ever.


Get started today — and start a free trial of Help Center Analytics to easily understand the positive effect of your new approach.





 

​​​Written by Chris Broughton

Chris Broughton has over 15 years experience in technical support for companies in the UK and Canada, most recently as a Director of Technical Support & Consulting at Vidyard. He enjoys leading teams and building strategies to improve customer experiences. After hours, you will find him spending time with his young family while cheering on Liverpool and Wrexham Football Clubs.


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