I love my mom. I even took her to a Customer Company Tour stop in Minneapolis. She was completely overwhelmed by everything she saw. During the keynote address she whispered to me “I don’t really understand everything he’s talking about, but it he is a really good speaker.” Now I know that a lot of what was presented was over my mom’s head, and a lot of this “cloud, social, mobile” stuff is bit above her understanding. But with all that said, she should still be able to fill out any record in my Salesforce org.
So if your mom where to sit down and fill out a Lead, Account, Contact, or Opportunity record- could she? Would she be able to enter the enough text and not hit a validation error? Or would she become incredibly frustrated and not know what is going on?
The often overlooked Salesforce Help Text
I’m going to guess your immediate response to my questions would be any one or all of the following-
- “Well our business is very complicated.”
- “My mom isn’t very computer savvy.”
- “We have a lot of complex systems, so I wouldn’t expect her to understand.”
So all of this tells me that you didn’t put much thought into the user experience and to decreasing end-user frustration. If all of your systems and business processes are so complex, how many of your fields have Salesforce help text bubbles? I believe in the rush to create apps, learn new functionality, or stay up to date it is very easy to forget about the Salesforce help text bubbles.
Salesforce Help Text bubbles are important
When I was a new Admin I would often skip the help text field when creating new fields. Jokingly I told myself that “I would go back and fill it in later”. Well, later never came. And it wasn’t long before I had an entire app of new fields all missing the little orange bubbles. Of course the result of that was an inbox and a voicemail box full of questions that were “what goes here?” and “how come I got this error?”.
I want you to think back to the last time you filled out a form online or entered information in a highly stressful situation. For me it was yesterday- I had to set up my online account for the new internet service provider at my house. Breezing through the forms I hit a field that made no sense to me- “Secret Code”. Hmmmm… what could that be? So I thought maybe it was a field I was supposed to put in a secret code in case I forgot my password. Entered in a code, clicked save. Got an error. Tried a different code. Same error. Thankfully there was a help bubble for me to hover over and read what the secret code could be.
Now imagine those users who are less than computer savvy- this is their everyday. Every time they need to enter a lead, they get sweaty palms, or maybe they pull out a notebook filled with scribbles about how to enter that lead. The whole time they are frustrated at you and the system for making their job hard than it used to be.
Let the orange bubble be your friend
Previous podcast guest Katie Herstein used the phrase “hover to discover” in her training videos. She was referring to hovering over the orange bubble to help users understand how or what should be in a field. I like that term and hope you use it in training as well. But your users can’t hover to discover if they don’t have a little orange friend.
Tackling adding text to help fields shouldn’t be daunting- as part of The New Habits of a Successful Admin Jared and I suggest doing a yearly audit to see what fields need help text. Then setting a schedule of weekly working to get those fields populated. Below are some suggestions for what the fields should contain
- For Picklist fields- a list of values and their meanings
- Try writing the help in the third person- “Please enter A, B, or C in this field. If A the lead will be assigned to inside sales”
- Include why populating this field is important
I know that populating help text isn’t the sexiest of tasks to do. But neither is sweeping out the garage or doing the dishes. So the next time you build a field, or look at a page layout and see there is a missing help bubble I want you to think of your mom filling out that record. Would she know what to enter? If not, chances are she will get frustrated. And a frustrated mom won’t leave you fresh baked cookies.