TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
> I am tapping into your great expertise to ask for your ideas about justifying
> documentation, specifically to reduce customer calls to customer service to
> solve a problem. I work for a manufacturer of telecommunication equipment and
> customer service is questioning the value of customer documentation.
If Customer Service does a good job of call-tracking, perhaps they can
arrange to do a scientific test. Leave out the documentation for one
group of customers; leave it in for another. Track the support
expense and purchasing activity of both groups for 2-5 years. You
can measure the value of documentation by the reduced amount of customer
service involvement and the higher level of purchasing of the group
that's provided documentation.
Since Customer Service doesn't want to provide documentation at all (they
don't want to pay for its development), the no-documentation test group
must be refused documentation, no matter how much they demand it, or
it invalidates the test. (One thing you're measuring is how many customers
are lost forever if you don't give them documentation.)
Suggest this experiment to Customer Service. Few such groups have the
courage to take this risk, even on a small subset of customers, if the
results will be traceable directly to them. But if they go for it,
you'll learn something.
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139