Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CRM Help menus

Help menus

One of the largest issues surrounding the implementation and adoption of a CRM comes in the perceived lack of technical and user support in using the system. Individual users — and large corporations — find themselves equally stymied by a system that is not easily understood. Technical support in the form of a qualified and comprehensive help menu can provide significant improvement in implementation when providing focused, context-specific information.
Data show that CRM users are often unwilling to consult a help menu if it is not easily accessible and immediate in providing assistance.A 1998 case study found that users would consult the help menu for an average of two or three screens, abandoning the assistance if desired results weren’t found by that time.
Researchers believe that help menus can provide assistance to users through introducing additional screenshots and other visual and interactive aids. A 2004 case study concluded that the proper use of screenshots can significantly support a user’s “developing a mental model of the program” and help in “identifying and locating window elements and objects.” This research concluded that screen shots allowed users to “learn more, make fewer mistakes, and learn in a shorter time frame,” which can certainly assist in increasing the time frame for full implementation of a CRM system with limited technical or human support.
Experts have identified five characteristics to make a help menu effective:
  • “context-specific” — the help menu contains only the information relevant to the topic that is being discussed or sought
  • “useful“ — in conjunction with being context-specific, the help menu must be comprehensive in including all of the information that the user seeks
  • “obvious to invoke“ — the user must have no trouble in locating the help menu or how to gain access to its contents
  • “non-intrusive“ — the help menu must not interfere with the user’s primary path of work and must maintain a distance that allows for its use only when requested
  • “easily available“ — the information of the help menu must be accessible with little or few steps required


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