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Customer experience matters and it’s everyone’s business

June 12, 2008

Bruce Temkin’s quest:

To dramatically increase the focus on customer experience within companies by getting everyone to understand that great customer experience is really good business.

This is an oldie but a goodie because it can help frame technical communication in words business managers love to hear.

I struggle sometimes to convince technical writers that they have a tangible role in a positive customer purchase experience. Most tech writers will recoil in equal fear and disgust if you tell them their documents make really good marketing. I hear the mantra over and over again: technical writers write facts, marketing writers write spin. That’s a gross over-simplification, but unfortunately a wide-spread one.

I’m thinking of the products I’ve worked on, mostly technology built to support large enterprises. In most cases, enterprise technology is so commoditized that the only thing that makes you different from your competitor is the experience you provide your customer. In a world where servers and storage all look alike, the experience has to simple and fast. Customers want hassle-free purchase, installation, and support. In my opinion, the quality and accessibility of your user documentation and technical information is key to delivering that.

Customers, especially business customer, have very little patience for spin. They want facts and they want to know how you (or your products) are going to help make their job easier. So technical writers and marketing communicators, you need to come to a truce on this one–you can, and should, help each other. Tech writers, lend your expertise in telling a comprehensive story in understandable terms; marcom teams, allow your tech writers to blast through your jargon and fluff to get to the real story.

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