RE: Getting feedback

Subject: RE: Getting feedback
From: "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com>
To: 'Al Geist' <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>, 'Alec Chakenov' <alec -dot- chakenov -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 15:34:37 +0000

Sounds like reasonable, sensible advice. Thank you, Al.

-----Original Message-----
From: Al Geist [mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com]
Sent: jeudi 19 janvier 2012 10:22
To: Cardimon, Craig; 'Alec Chakenov'
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Getting feedback

As I discovered, it's only after your customers respect the documentation will you get any feedback (other than overhearing them say it sucks). Prior to my arrival at one company, the former tech writer bragged that he could complete 11 pages an hour. What he was really doing was reformatting drivel turned in by the engineering staff and dumping it out as a complete manual.
Nobody reviewed anything. In some instances, they even had the customer write the user guides. Needless to say, even the company's service staff wouldn't use the material, opting instead to write their own manuals. So, I was faced with 12 years of garbage from the former tech writer, three sets of manuals for each product (one from the tech writer, one from service, and one from training) and a customer base that view our documentation as somewhere between compost and fire starter. It took me nearly five years to straighten things out. I didn't have a customer comment sheet, because I personally kept in contact with end users (we served a small niche market making this somewhat easier). However, the key is to address those customer suggestions and ensure they get a copy of the changes/updates/corrections.
Show them that you respect their input and you'll expand your technical review staff tremendously while improving the quality of the product. If you're lucky, you may even get customer service and training to use your manuals instead of creating a set of their own.

Al Geist-Geist Arts, LLC
Fine Art Photography - Exceptional Note Cards
Mobile: 231-301-5770
E-mail: al -at- geistarts -dot- com
Facebook: Geist Arts
See Also:
Technical Communication, Help, Documentation Management
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used to create them." (Albert Einstein)

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Techno-fuddyduddy getting anxious: From: Nancy Allison
RE: Techno-fuddyduddy getting anxious: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: Techno-fuddyduddy getting anxious: From: Al Geist
RE: Techno-fuddyduddy getting anxious: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: Techno-fuddyduddy getting anxious: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Techno-fuddyduddy getting anxious: From: Alec Chakenov
Getting feedback: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Getting feedback: From: Alec Chakenov
RE: Getting feedback: From: Cardimon, Craig
RE: Getting feedback: From: Al Geist

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