Re: The not-so-new anymore topic

Subject: Re: The not-so-new anymore topic
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1993 15:10:41 CDT

Well, Justine, speaking for myself, I have little direct contact
with customer personnel. Nearly all feedback comes to me second
hand in the form of trouble reports of customer problems with
the user documentation. I must rely on internal management,
marketing, and engineering personnel to provide me with their
insights into customer wants and needs gained from direct
customer contacts.

In my interviews with these people I must always consider their
time and job requirements as well as my own. Under the total
Quality Initiative (TQI) scheme, they are some of my suppliers
and customers. We use our user documentation throughout the
company to inform and guide our customer support and product
testing efforts. If I fail to remember the needs of my internal
customers, I cannot expect them to provide their valuable time
to help me understand and meet the needs of our mutual external

And remember that, as technical communicators, we are a special
form of translator. We translate the specialized jargon of the
developer and engineer to the different but specialzed jargon
of the customer. We serve a diplomatic function to make our
products acceptable to paying customers. However, we must show
the same consideration for those who provide the more tangible
portions of the product.

We have suffered the results of narrow minded individuals who
thought the human side of our profession was irrelavent to
the job at hand. We were involved later and later in the
development effort. Our requests for clarifications of
development documentation went unanswered for long periods.
It has taken us two years to turn that relationship around
and achieve the growing rapport we have now with all strata
of the company.

Remember what Ben Franklin told John Adams, "These men are
not ribbon clerks to be ordered about. They are gifted
intelligent men, the cream...Either learn to live with them
or pack up and go home!"

Common courtesy works. You'll get more information without
asking for it and in a more timely manner. And when you
are under pressure, you'll find a responsive friend who`s
willing to go out of his or her way just for you.

Try it! You'll like it!

Chuck Banks
NEC America, Inc.
Home of the NEAX 61E ATM Model 10.

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