Re: RTFM? Really?

Subject: Re: RTFM? Really?
From: Hannah Drake <hannah -at- formulatrix -dot- com>
To: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:43:17 -0400

I will also say the support techs here are always excited when I already
had instructions written for solving a particular issue, and they can
simply direct the customer to it!



On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 1:34 PM, Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com> wrote:

> So, maybe instead of RTFM, we should just say RTFD (Read The F***ing
> Documentation) and separate the delivery method from the fact that there
> actually is adequate documentation even if the customer doesn't bother with
> it.Nancy's got a really good point. We do the best we can to provide
> whatever assistance we can to our customers. How we deliver that assistance
> is secondary to actually getting our customers to consult that assistance.
> It doesn't matter whether it's on paper, a PDF, online help or whatever...
> if our customers fail to avail themselves of what we've created for them,
> they're going to pick up the phone.
>
> If enough customers call that a company needs a call center staffed
> 24/7/365 that's an additional expense that we'd like to avoid or at least
> minimize. Some calls can't be resolved by telling the customer to RTFM
> because some products actually have design flaws whether it's software or
> hardware. However, hopefully those calls are a minimum percentage of the
> calls we receive.
>
> But the fact is that in many cases, the vast majority of calls can be
> resolved by getting the customer to RTFM (no matter what delivery method we
> use). No matter how good the FM is or what delivery mechanism we choose,
> it's like pulling teeth to achieve acceptance and use of the FM among the
> customers. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
>
> I'd just about finished this screed when I took a look at Tony's
> followup... Tony said:
>
> Customers want out of the box functionality, with some power-user
> customization.
>
> That's fine for one-trick pony products but when the product is an
> incredibly powerful and complex product with a lot of options, it's a whole
> different ball game. Products of that nature require comprehensive
> documentation. You can't just do a quick-reference that tells the customer
> how do do a dozen or so simple procedures. You need to give them reference
> material that explains how the (e.g.) 20 different controls (radio buttons,
> drop-downs, etc.) on a specific dialog box affect how the process they want
> to accomplish is performed... how those variations in control settings
> affect the results. Many will say to simplify the product but if the
> marketplace demands that level of power and complexity (and more
> importantly if the competition is providing it), that's not always a
> workable option. I've worked with products with that level of complexity
> and routinely beaten up the programmers and engineers when there's a better
> way to present options to the customers but even that doesn't always get
> the customer the information they need if they don't consult the
> documentation.
>
> Best Regards,
>
> Mike
> --
> Mike Starr, Writer
> Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
> Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
> (262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com
> President - Working Writers of Wisconsin http://www.workingwriters.org/
>
> On 9/26/2014 11:53 AM, Nancy Allison wrote:
>
>> The RTFM discussion concerns only calls that come in. It does not
>> concern, or quantify, the calls that did not come in because people
>> did
>> indeed consult the manual, got the answer they needed, and therefore
>> did not call.
>>
>
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References:
Re: RTFM? Really?: From: Nancy Allison
Re: RTFM? Really?: From: Mike Starr

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