ROI of Online Help Systems

Subject: ROI of Online Help Systems
From: Justin Soles <jsoles -at- TYPHOON -dot- CO -dot- JP>
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 11:23:42 +0900

There was an article in the last Technical Communications (STC publication) that examined with the business returns generated by Technical Writing in general which you might find helpful. One other (longer-term) return mentioned, is the cost of revisions and updates to the printed material versus an online help system. Production and distribution costs for online revisions (e.g. Bug fixes/workarounds, corrections to the Manual, FAQ's, etc.) would be considerably smaller than printing these and distributing it to everyone.
Two other areas that might be improved by the introduction of online help:
a) Customer Support: since the speed at which online help materials can be distributed is far faster than the printed version, customer support costs should decrease
b) Customer Satisfaction: this should increase (= higher sales) because customers know that any new information they need is available quickly. IOW, the manual's not stuck in the mail...
HOWEVER, these factors are only valid IF the customers use the online version of the documentation as much as the printed version; there's no guarantee of this, especially with the first edition of an online help system.
Justin Soles
PacificData Inc.
phone #:  (81-3) 5261-9701
     fax #:  (81-3) 5261-9704

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