The following is a guest post from Ryan LaBarge, Technical Support Samurai at Olark. This is the first post in a series covering the basics of how to make support videos and sets the stage for how you can make your own videos easily.

Helping people is more than just a job, it is a way of life. I’m sure that holds true for you if you are reading this right now. Working in the support world is both a joy and a struggle, depending on the day. Anything from the basic, “Where do I start?”, to the complex, “Why does this other piece of software cause conflicts with your product”, each day doing support offer’s its own rewards and challenges.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to answering the more basic queries, I do have my limits. After the 500th time explaining what a basic feature does, one starts wondering if there are better ways to share this information. While it may take just a few moments explaining the answer, take those moments and multiply them per CS agent, then you will see that there is a significant cost to your organization when it comes to answering the exact same questions day in and day out.

So I thought to myself, If only there was a way to share this information in a less manual way! Why then, all of these interactions explaining the base functionality could be reduced and maybe even eliminated! Of course, you can tell by this train of thought how excited I was, “Sure, I would love to do less reactive support to focus my energies on more productive projects!”, but I needed some sort of goal to shoot for and ideas on how I wanted my videos to look.

While I take most common knowledge about how to “best do customer support” with a grain of salt, I am not above looking at great ideas, and trying to make them into my own frankenstein of customer happiness – To wit: Support Videos.

I figured, if everyone and their brother out there can make videos for whatever they are doing, I could for sure follow suit and at least provide my own take on these artifacts. I knew that, even if these videos do not obliviate all of the questions we receive about basic Olark functionality, any time that can be saved typing out a response is time that we can use towards something else.

We had a few promotional videos done for our marketing team in early 2014, and I was part of the team helping curate them and to help the designer with the message we were trying to promote in these. During these sessions, the designer expressed interest in making our support videos for us as well, for a less than trivial fee.

For some, this might be a great path into having videos for your service! If you can find a quality developer who is willing to work with you on the price then it may be in your interest to farm the videos out. If you have the capital and not much time, then go for it! For us, we were looking for something more long term, and wanted to be able to evolve the videos as time went on.

There were at least 10 different videos that I wanted to create, not to mention ones needed in the future plus the fact that sometimes these videos would need to be updated to stay current, and we would be charged for that as well! While this was a stellar arrangement for the video designer, I had other things in mind – I would make the videos!

I had no hands on-experience making videos before this, but I was not too worried. I have been lucky enough to have very talented friends who have been doing things like this for years. Ones that I have helped both with post-production, and in writing and acting, not to mention my experience editing audio for music production.

I figured, I could do this for a lot less than the price quoted for the initial videos, plus it was something that was sorta in my wheelhouse, but at the same time, something totally new for me to take on. So with this in mind, I started down the path of creating support videos for Olark!

Stay tuned for the next 2 installments of this series, as Ryan details the process he used to create these videos, the software he used to create these, and other tips for making videos that customers will love!

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