March 30th, 2017 Business

If you are selling online courses then you will want to make sure you have the proper tools in place to support your customers when necessary.

A quick Google search will yield a ton of different results in this category. There are some pretty amazing options out there.

Before jumping into the tools, you should clearly define what it is you need to deliver for customers and perspective customers before choosing the platform. For simplicity sake let’s say you need the following (at the very least):

  1. Pre-sales message management
  2. Support tickets
  3. Knowledgebase

These three aspects pretty much apply to any business.

One common mistake I see is people try to copy the exact tools that big companies use in their business. They want full-blown help desks with service level agreement tracking, robust ticket management, single sign-on options, and so forth.

There is nothing wrong with any of these items but it is likely going to be overkill if you are just starting out.

Keep It Super Simple

As outlined above, you really need a way to handle communications (1 & 2) and any training documentation (3). The first two can actually be combine into one which saves you some extra headache.

Later on you can decide if you want to add some new elements (like pre-sales chat), but those decisions can come at any time.

So what should you use for pre-sales and support tickets? My advise is to go with something as close to regular email as possible.

HelpScout or Groove are fantastic options that are very affordable (we use Helpscout). If you like Gmail and don’t want to venture outside of what is familar, then check out Keeping.

If you go with either HelpScout or Groove, then you can take care of #3 pretty easily since these options both have built-in documentation capabilities.

However, you may need to jump up in pricing to get the knowledgebase features.  If you only plan on having a “Frequently Asked Questions” section then the solutions offered by Helpscout or Groove are overkill.

In that case, use a free knowledgebase plugin for WordPress or something similar. You can always transfer these to a more robust system down the line if necessary.

Don’t Get Distracted

It really is easy to overthink this part of your business. Based on experience I can tell you that any of the options above will server your needs (and then some) if you are just starting out.

The tools you use today might not be the ones you use tomorrow – and that’s okay. Get something in place that meets your needs now and in the foreseeable future. Focus on getting customers first and they will help guide your future direction.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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4 responses

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what would be the best way to enable a chat with students? to have a tutor for each course, and students who are currently doing that course can chat directly with their tutor. how would you do something like this?

Avatar Miro

I’m not aware of a tutor specific chat feature.

I have been testing the following by LearningTemplate.
“LearnDash Student Notes”
Let your students take and manage notes as well a communicate with the instructor (Group Leader) at the LearnDash post level.
The LearnDash Student Notes plugin creates a widget and 3 shortcodes that you can place into any course, lesson or quiz content or sidebar.
LearnDash Student Notes lets your students create, download, delete and communicate on a post-by-post basis.

Well I see this portion is always missed by the LearnDash users. As a result, if there is a bug in their site or if the user face any problem, mostly there is no easy access for them to notify the admins. I have written an article on integrating LearnDash with a ticket support system here , will definitely write an article on the knowledgebase.

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