Re: RTFM? Really?

Subject: Re: RTFM? Really?
From: Jay Maechtlen <techwriter -at- laserpubs -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:55:36 -0700

On 9/26/2014 9:00 AM, Karl Norman wrote:

I've noticed that when members of this listserv start talking about
manuals, the level of strong language rises significantly (e.g. rtFm!).
This seems odd to me because I don't want to read a manual either. I learn
better through human contact. I understand that it costs a lot when a user
makes a support call. But, good grief, I bought a thing from you; the least
you could do is help me use it. And if your response at my most vulnerable
hour is "rtfm," or even "I'll help you for a price," then you've just lost
my loyalty as a customer. I have no respect for a company that only gets
out of bed for POS.
We're glad you bought the whatsit.
We're sorry you're having trouble figuring it out.
Yes, we'll be happy to help you figure it out.
Kindly have the .... manual on hand when you call, so you can make the appropriate notes in it as we work through this.

- have you ever worked phone support?
I have. It is really hard to explain some things over the phone, and having the same document open in front of you as I'm looking at helps us sync terminology. In some cases, having the device in front of you is sufficient. But I may not be able to have the device in front of me.

My thought is, if your users don't read your manuals, then why do you keep
writing manuals? Has anyone been with a company that stopped writing
manuals altogether? What about using more video tutorials? Or even setting
your users to work for you by helping each other through forums? I'd really
like to hear from both sides: the writers who insist on manuals (why?) and
the writers who have sought out alternatives (why?).

Jay Maechtlen
626 444-5112 office
626 840-8875 cell

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RTFM? Really?: From: Karl Norman

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