Changing Customer Support For Good

user's manual



Customers are changing their views of support.  When they need help, they expect an answer NOW!  It doesn’t matter if you are a small business or a large organization, your customers compare how you handle support to companies like Zappos and Amazon.  And if your support isn’t up to the standard your customers expect, they’ll tell the world.  Or at least Twitter and Facebook.

In the past websites and software applications had extensive manuals.  These were written by technical documentation specialists.  For complex products this is still the norm, but for simpler and more agile products a different approach is needed.  Manuals and documentation were written once a product was finished.  But today most online products are never finished.  They change all the time.  From small changes in form fields to changes in how a product is designed.

The old approach of writing manuals and documentation after the product is finished no longer works.  Compounding this problem is that most smaller organizations miss the resources to write the documentation in the first place.  Besides, how can you foresee what questions your users and customers have?  When you are a building a product you learn so much that the “curse of knowledge” comes to hunt you.  This means that you know so much about your product, that you can’t imagine what (you think simple) problems users have. Add to that the pain of users waiting for a response from you, when they need to get their job done now.

A new way for support, be it manuals or help inquiries, is needed.  Changing customer support to the needs of your users and customers is needed. Research has shown that your customers get disloyal if they need to put to much effort in resolving their support issues.  You need to make it simple and fast for your customers to get support.  Reduce effort as much as possible.  For your customers and for you. Write a basic manual for your product, based on a standard template.  Let customers add questions and support requests.  Add the questions and your answers to the manual.  And put the manual right into your website or application.  That is the start.