RE: Effective mechanism to gather end-user feedback

Subject: RE: Effective mechanism to gather end-user feedback
From: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 09:05:09 -0500

Hi Laura,

There are two issues here: e-mailing to get help about a problem, and
e-mailing to comment on the manuals.

In all my years as a consumer and tech writer, I have never written
merely to send a comment about a company's user manual. If it's good, I
use it; if it isn't, I e-mail or phone with the question that the manual
didn't answer.

If your Help desk is getting lots of calls about problems whose
solutions are in the manual, then you already know that the manual is
ineffective. Your problem might be the content, or it might be the
delivery system. There's a lot on the TECHWR-L archives about the
disadvantages of Web-based PDF Help, as opposed to other Help platforms
that were built expressly for the Web.

You might try converting your existing content to one of those
platforms, and then publicizing it to all your users. Web stats will
tell you:
- If they try out the new platform, which means that the
publicity worked
- If they *use* the new platform, which means that *it* works

Finally, it isn't true that "end users do not like the idea of typing a
mail and waiting for the response on mail." Many companies' end-users
get their help almost exclusively via fast e-mail responses.

Has your company thought about how it could encourage e-mail queries
instead of phone calls? If an e-mail costs your company $5 less than a
phone call (in terms of paid employee time), maybe you can offer a daily
$1 Office Depot coupon for the 20th registered user who e-mails with a


Dan Goldstein

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Laura Chris
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:04 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Effective mechanism to gather end-user feedback
> ...Most of our manuals are in the PDF format and uploaded to our
> support website. The manuals are also a part of the product CDs
> that reach the customer. We have a very inviting line such as
> "Send your comments about this user manual to the following
> e-mail address:" in our support site but have not found any
> takers for this so far over the years! This is proof that
> suggests end users do not like the idea of typing a mail
> and waiting for the response on mail...

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