Hannan Saltzman, Zoomin Software
Article originally published on Zoomin Software (http://www.zoominsoftware.com/blog/key-factors-that-define-truly-helpful-product-documentation/) – reprinted with permission
“How can we help you?”
It’s a common question that companies ask numerous times a day. And while this is a safe and time-honored conversation starter, on today’s digital landscape there’s a new aspect that companies must be aware of: their sales representatives and service & support personnel aren’t the only ones making this inquiry. Their product documentation is, too – and it’s happening every day, around the clock.
That’s because when customers access product documentation in any form, for any reason, from any device, and through any touchpoint, the company behind such content isn’t just offering information. They’re asking “how can we help you?”—and, in essence, making a promise that help is either at-hand or on the way.
In this sense, product documentation either positively impacts the customer experience, or it negatively impacts it. There’s no middle ground. This doesn’t necessarily mean that customers who come across ineffective—or just plain bad—product documentation will immediately end the relationship (although many of them will). But it does mean that companies need to take a step back and ask: “our product documentation may be great, but is it helping customers as much as possible?”
To ensure that companies answer YES to this critical question, here are three core factors that define truly helpful product documentation:
The kind of personalization customers want doesn’t start and end with the “Dear