user feedback

Subject: user feedback
From: Ryan Young <ryangyoung -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: tech2wr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2013 10:13:54 -0700

It's a good thing, I think. But I've been wondering recently how best to
solicit and manage it. We have a system here, but it's far from perfect and
I'm trying to think of ways to improve it. Broadly speaking, the goals are
to 1) increase the volume of useful comments/feedback 2) create an
efficient process to funnel the feedback to the writers. The ultimate,
overarching goal (obviously?) is to use the feedback to improve the docs to
a point where users don't need to call support--or at least call support
less.

This is how we currently have things set up: all of our documentation is on
a public site available as pdf or html. (A few doc sets are
password-protected so only customers and partners can see them.) The html
version supports comments and replies, but not the contextual help that's
installed with the application. Comments and replies are visible in the
html help and are also sent to a private instance of our enterprise social
network, which, since it's private only serves as a repository. I reviewed
all the comments and created doc tasks for all the comments that seemed
valid and useful. From there, the writers generally fixed the (usually
minor) issues in the source files so they'll be ready for the next release.

This seems like an OK process, but not a lot of people are submitting
comments. I think that's because no follow-up was performed when they first
rolled out and touted this new feature. People submitted comments, heard
nothing back and, I'm guessing, assumed no one was reading their comments
anyway so why bother.

How have other people on the list collected, managed, and responded to user
feedback? How useful *is *it?
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