Re: Documentation not as important anymore?

Subject: Re: Documentation not as important anymore?
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 1994 13:12:19 CDT

For Anatole Wilson, et al:

Sorry, Anatole, I don't agree with your "...obvious conclusions..."

Customers know exactly what they need: help with the product.
What the customers haven't descovered for themselves is that customer
support is a lot more expensive to use than the manual.

Microsoft just sent me a brochure for their product support
plans. If I'm willing to pay them a few hundred dollars a year, I
can have all the telephone or online support I could ever want.

I paid less than $100 per upgrade for two Microsoft
software packages, why pay at least that much more to keep from
reading the manual? I won't pay it, but many customers may.

After all, it's the customer's choice.

I work for a telecommunications system manufacturer. Our
customers are well aware of the costs of telephone and online
product support. Our customers are demanding more and easier to
read and reference documents, both printed and online.

In addition to not being willing to pay the high costs of
customer support, our customers aren't willing to pay the high
costs of sending students to training classes on how to install,
operate, and maintain our products. Our customers want easier
to understand interfaces (spelled G.U.I.) to go with the better
manuals so they don't need long, expensive training classes.
We send them manuals, GUI interfaces, and an occasional instructor
to explain those areas best covered in a classroom.

Customers know what they want, intuitively obvious products.
Since they can't have those yet, they want help in any easy to use
form they can get. Give them a chance. They'll come back to the
manual when they realize the manuals are easy to read and reference
and cost less than calling customer service.

Just my $0.02!

Best Regards!

Chuck Banks
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411

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