RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users

Subject: RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "Robert_Johnson -at- percussion -dot- com" <Robert_Johnson -at- percussion -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 13:02:26 -0400

Keith Hood [mailto:klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com] wrote:


> You see, to me, communicating through online means like
> Facebook and things like that aren't really communicating
> directly with the customer. By that I mean in person. My
> feelings are that using things like IM and Twitter and
> suchlike are no more personal than sending snail mail. More
> personal than creating an online help system yes, but still
> not direct contact in my book. (Yes, I am *old* - accident of nature.)

But a portion of the thread had turned to the notion of techwriting and provision of product info (Support, too, I suppose) moving to the kinds of media that today's customers are coming to expect.

> Second curmudgeonly thought of the day: what Robert wrote
> about seems to me to smack of having a tech writer trying to
> carry out two functions. It sounds like expecting him to not
> only turn out technical documentation, but also to act as
> tech support. I've been seeing more job opening listings like
> this recently - companies wanting tech writers who will also
> confer with users to provide help on using the products. To
> my mind, that is not an enhancement of the tech writer's
> position but rather an attempt by the company to find ways to
> cut the personnel roster even further, by forcing one
> employee to perform two functions.

Know any support reps?
Can you remember the last time that they had "free" or "down" time that they could count on, especially enough of that in big enough chunks that they could embark on a useful documentation product?

Also, the worse the existing docs are, the busier the tech-support folks, and the LESS time they have for such frivolous stuff as writing customer-oriented product usage docs.

I might be able to do it if you hired me on the basis of 4-hour shifts on the phones and INVIOLATE 4-hour shifts at a quiet desk for doing the doc-ish stuff. But fitting doc-project work between calls from ticked-off customers? Not a chance.


- Kevin


My thoughts and words are my own.

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References:
RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users: From: Keith Hood

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