6.1 Creating a Customer Support Site with ScreenSteps

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ScreenSteps can be a fantastic tool for decreasing customer support requests, improving user adoption and generally keeping your support team organized and efficient.

To get things set up and ready for your customers there are four things you need to consider:

1. Using a custom domain for your site

Each site on your ScreenSteps account can have a custom domain name. This allows you to use your own domain name for your site instead of the ScreenSteps default domain.

This step is optional but it is recommended if you are going to be using ScreenSteps for customer support.

2. Customizing your site template (branding your site)

There are several options available for customizing your site template. The only real decision you need to make upfront is whether you want to use a custom template for your site or just use the built-in ScreenSteps template tools.

If you want complete control over the design of your ScreenSteps site then choose a custom template. If you just want to use simple tools to make your site match your company logo and color scheme then use the built-in template tools.

2.1. Custom templates

Custom templates give you complete control over the HTML wrapper that goes around your ScreenSteps content. This allows you to exactly match the branding of your current marketing site.

Some important things to understand about custom templates:

  • Custom templates are not available on all plans. You can see which plans include custom templates here.
  • To create a custom template you do need to have at least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS.

2.2. Built-in template tools

The ScreenSteps builtin-in template tools are available on all account levels. They include:

  • Custom CSS
  • Custom Javascript
  • Adjusting your site colors
  • Uploading a custom logo
  • Controlling the position and content of the sidebar
3. Managing viewing permissions

The other item to consider is how you will manage viewing permissions for your help content. Some companies prefer to keep their documentation public while others wish to protect behind some sort of login.

We usually recommend keeping customer documentation public because it makes it easier for your customers to access. It also means that your documentation can show up in Google or other search engines.

Listed below are the different ways you can manage viewing permissions for your ScreenSteps site.

3.1. Make your site public and searchable by search engines

This is the simplest setup and will allow anyone to access your site.

3.2. Make your site public but HIDE it form search engines

If the main thing you want to avoid is someone finding your documentation in Google then this can be a good option. It doesn't require that your users login to your site to view your content, but ScreenSteps instructs search engines not to index your content.

3.3. Add single sign-on to ScreenSteps

If you do want to require users to login to view your documentation, and you already manage user accounts in your own application then we suggest using single sign-on with your application and ScreenSteps.

ScreenSteps uses SAML authentication or our own custom single sign-on process. You can learn more about single sign-on (or remote authentication) here:

ScreenSteps Remote Authentication

Implementing a single sign-on solution with your product will require some programming knowledge. Remote authentication is not available on all plan levels so make sure you choose an appropriate ScreenSteps plan if you plan on using this feature.

3.4. Create user accounts in ScreenSteps

Another option is to create user accounts in ScreenSteps. These are reader accounts and do not cost any additional money.

3.5. Create a shared login

Another option is to created a shared login that all of your users will use. Normally our customers embed this shared login in a URL inside of their site that will authenticate a user if they click on that URL. This is a very low grade type of security as anyone could copy the login URL and share it with anyone. Anyone clicking on the URL would be logged into your site. But, depending on your situation this may be sufficient for your needs.

4. Organizing your help content

Another big question is how you will organize your content in your ScreenSteps site.

ScreenSteps organizes your article into manuals and chapters. We suggest doing the following:

  1. Create manuals for specific use cases or user groups. For example, we have similar integrations with Zendesk. We could have grouped all of that information into a single manual but we found it much easier to create separate manuals that targeted each user group.
  2. Create a general manual that handles quick how-to questions that your customers have. We really suggest writing down actual user questions as your article titles. Titling your article with a question helps you keep the content of your article more focused and makes it easier for your customers to find the information they are after.

You can read more about how to create better documentation in our "Creating Docs that Rock" manual.


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