Re: Value added by technical documentation

Subject: Re: Value added by technical documentation
From: Jay Mead <jlmead -at- OURAY -dot- CUDENVER -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 16:34:07 -0700

On Fri, 7 Mar 1997, Paul Branchaud wrote:

> On Thu, 6 Mar 1997, Jay Mead wrote:
> > We know the quality technical communication we produce adds value to an
> > organization, but how can we measure it, in terms management
> > will understand? Have any of you developed ways of calculating the
> > dollars-and-cents value of your technical documentation? Ways that can be
> > replicated and used across organizations?
> Jay,
> ...The best sign
> that you have provided customers with good documentation (IMHO) is if the
> technical support lines are quiet. Although I have no proof, I feel there
> is a direct correlation between the quality of documentation and the
> number of calls a technical support line gets with regards to a specific
> product. My former employer was rumored to having *4000* unasnwered
> technical support calls--for a single product line (fortunately, not the
> one I was working on).

Counting tech support phone calls seems to me a very effective way of
correlating good docs with reduction of direct costs. I have a couple of
studies (from Tech Comm magazine) showing this--has anyone else done such
a study? I.e., counted tech support calls for a given product BEFORE and
AFTER good docs were produced? With phone call support extremely
expensive for a company to provide (I have seen the figure $30/call!),
even a small reduction in calls might be very meaningful. Anyone?

Jay Mead
Galileo International
jay -dot- mead -at- den -dot- galileo -dot- com

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