RE: SMEs and me

Subject: RE: SMEs and me
From: "Silver, Steven H." <ssilver -at- crateandbarrel -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 11:12:44 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Christensen, Kent [mailto:lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov]

>> Pretty naive statement, I'd say. Whatever happened to "the customer is
>> always right?" Sounds like the motor vehicle department. The tech
writer's
>> customer is always the SME. The external customer belongs to the SME,
i.e.,
>> the team or person designing the product. I don't think this formula
varies
>> from company to company.

When I was working in retail, I quickly learned, and tried to teach my
employees, that the customer is emphatically NOT always right. The EDUCATED
customer may be right frequently, but in general no customer will understand
the ins and outs of the business as well as the person in the business. The
businessperson's job is to educate the customer so that they customer
understands the situation, accepts the situation, and is better prepared to
deal with the situation the next time it arises.

I view my SMEs as partners. My customer is the end user of the
documentation. In addition to making sure my SME signs off on the document,
I also have their business user look over it and make sure it makes sense
and, if appropriate, I have an employee in one of our stores use the
document to make sure it makes sense to someone with limited knowledge of
the system.

Steven Silver




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