RE: Instructions

Subject: RE: Instructions
From: "Beth Agnew" <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 20:13:31 -0400


I try to train all my customer support colleagues to ask "Have you looked
this up in the manual or the online help?" as one of the first questions to
a caller. If the answer is not in the documentation, of course, we rectify
that as soon as possible, and it's a good learning experience for both
sides. If the answer is indeed to be found in the documentation, then the
customer support person guides them to it. "In the manual, on page 37,
there's a procedure for ...". If they've lost their manual, we send them a
digital copy.

Any other feedback the customer provides, such as "I couldn't find it" or
"It's faster to call you" is captured and we deal with that in various ways
in subsequent releases. Perhaps we improve our index and TOC, or create a
quick reference card for specific problems, or change the interface.

This customer education does pay off. I've met customers who have said,
"Every time I call customer support they tell me to look in the manual
first." No one ever refuses to answer their questions if the manual isn't
handy, or if they say "Can't you just tell me?".

I think most organizations want to reduce customer support calls overall,
and one way of doing that is to make it more onerous to call customer
support than to just look it up. The paradox is that it's not good customer
service to promote that as a policy. Linking solutions to documentation in
the mind of the customer, however, is a win/win.
--Beth

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
416-491-5050 x3133

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-118812 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-118812 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Michele
Davis
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 10:58 AM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Instructions

I can't help myself. This is so indicative of the users I write for, it
isn't even funny.

This user calls every week with the same problem. So support pilot fish
sends her a simple, four-step set of instructions for dealing with that
problem. Two days later, she calls anyway. Did you read the instructions
I sent? fish asks. "No, it's easier to call you," she says. So fish
pulls out his own copy of the instructions and reads them to her. "Wow,
that was easy," user says. "See, I knew it would be much easier if I
called you!"

--
Michele


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References:
Instructions: From: Michele Davis

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