Social Product Documentation – The Missing Piece of the Customer Community Puzzle
While the idea of customer communities isn’t new, they’ve migrated in recent years from the brick and mortar confines of club rooms and convention halls, to the virtual landscape of social media platforms and corporate websites. And while this shift has led to some welcome changes – for example, it’s much easier and far less costly to reach customers through a post, tweet or email – it has also triggered some unexpected problems.
Specifically, many companies are realizing that their product documentation is “stuck” in PDFs and other static files. As such, not only does it take an excessive amount of time to update these documents, but deploying them in customer communities is not well received. These days, customers typically want and expect quick answers to specific questions; and sometimes, they don’t even know what they need to ask in the first place! Asking them to plod through various documents – which may be out-of-date – is a non-starter.
What’s more, many customers who aren’t getting a desired level of support can – and evidently will — switch from being an ally, into becoming an antagonist. Indeed, a survey by cloud contact center provider Five9 revealed that a whopping 85 percent of customers who feel that their customer service needs aren’t being met will retaliate against a company; often by venting on social media.
Fortunately, there is a simple and practical way to end this product documentation-driven problem, and have both customers and companies on the same page and facing the same direction: automate the delivery of high quality content into the customer community.
This game-changing approach, which is far more efficient and cost effective than trying to update and distribute PDFs, enables companies to:
- Engage customers and make a positive impression via a vitally important and influential touchpoint: its customer community.
- Provide customers with accurate, complete and updated product documentation, so they can quickly and independently solve their product-related issues. This not only makes them happier, but it measurably reduces support calls.
- Push new or updated content into the community in a matter of minutes, and typically with a single click. This dramatically reduces – if not eliminates – obsolete content “floating around” in the environment, and potentially being sent to or accessed by customers.
- Involve customers in the content creation process by encouraging feedback that SMEs can monitor and respond to – which is particularly important when customers have a problem, but don’t know what question(s) to ask.
- Leverage built-in metrics to track content usage (by document and content topic), as well as by user engagement. This allows TechPubs teams to optimize resource allocation by focusing on assets that are in-demand, as well as by improving those per customer feedback and recommendations.
At the same time, utilizing this approach doesn’t mean that companies have to say goodbye to their PDFs (or other product documentation files). They can continue using them, yet with a welcomed new advantage: they can link each topic in the document to its counterpart in the community, which further drives customer engagement and feedback.