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How customer support videos help your users help themselves

Alex Dao
April 4, 2016 by Alex Dao Staff

Videos are a great way to show off your amazing new products, but why stop there? A well-thought out customer support video can equip your community members with the information they need, precisely when they need it. This special breed of video is a great addition to your help center or FAQ section, and they are especially handy after a major website redesign or when you need to explain how new features work. But how to make one? Why, read on.

The anatomy of a good help video

There’s no magic formula for crafting the perfect help video (le sigh), but we do recommend a generous sprinkling of these three ingredients:

  • Voice over
  • Screencast
  • Music

We’re not just dishing out the advice for no reason: we apply this to our videos, too! Here’s a short and sweet example from Cameo, our seamless iOS video editing app, that captures these three elements:

Now, let’s do a deeper dive.

Voice over

As with all things video, the bulk of the work will happen before you hit record. What features do you want to show? What do you want to say? How long will your video be? Pre-production planning answers these questions for you. Once you’ve figured out the scope of your video, you’re ready to start your script. Write in a conversational tone and try to be as succinct as possible. The goal of your voice over is to guide your customer through a feature or workflow, so aim for a balance between being conversational and concise.

When you’ve got your script down, read it out loud a few times. Listen for any awkward phrasing and edit as needed! Your goal is to speak slowly and clearly, so don’t be afraid to reword something if you find yourself stumbling over any words.

Redbooth, a project management tool, successfully uses voice over to show their users how they can track progress on team projects.

Screencast

Practice your script along with your screencast flow to make sure they work together seamlessly. Think about how you want to highlight elements of your screencast by zooming in and out or adding animations when you click. And speaking of clicks, you don’t want your mouse cursor to distract viewers. You may want to consider slowing down your mouse tracking and taking your hand off your mouse completely between scrolls and clicks.

Once you’re ready to record, make sure to turn off any calendar, email, and chat notifications that could make an unwelcome appearance during your screencast.

Music and sound design

Above all, support videos should be helpful — but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be fun to watch. Adding background music and sound effects takes a little more editing effort, but they’ll make all the difference in your final result.

A few rules of thumb when adding music and sound effects to your video:

  • Don’t let the music drown out your voice over.
  • Go easy on the sound effects. A little goes a long way.
  • Opt for an upbeat song that won’t distract from what you’re saying.

For more tips on using sound effects in your video, peep our community manager Mark’s lesson on sound effects libraries.

MOO, a digital print and design company, hits just the right notes in their demo video. They keep things engaging by zooming in and out on different elements of the platform so it doesn’t feel like you’re just watching someone click around on a screen. The sound design and upbeat background music draw attention to what’s happening in the screencast without being distracting. Bonus points for the colorful transitional screens!

Do you have any tips that we missed? What’s worked well for you? Do let us know in the comments!

3 Comments

Gary McClure

I got better in making my own video, thanks to these ideas I learned.

Mark Zokle

These ideas helped me in making wonderful videos. Thanks for the idea.

Live Bare

The ideas have clearly explained the important of this factor when promoting videos.

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