5 ways to keep your product documentation in top shape

Posted by
May 15, 2018

Since the turn of the century, innovation and disruption have been accelerating in a rapid pace, creating new challenges for businesses, and connecting opportunities to more individuals. Twenty years ago, there were no phones that can detect facial features nor social platforms that can have worldwide reach in a matter of seconds. There’s a reason behind why 38% of business leaders consider speed of technological change a concern to their organization’s growth prospects.

Today, technology pushes the boundaries faster and better than before. In the context of product documentation, it constantly reshapes the way information are delivered. To keep up with and stay ahead of changes, here are ways to make your product documentation updated and useful to users.

  1. Consider it as a product

As often as you strive to improve your products, product documentation must also follow suit. Not only do customers prefer updated and relevant information, it is also faster for the company to promote a product or solution when content is in sync. Product documentation can even stand on its own—acting as a bridge between you and your customers.

Once you think of product documentation as a product that adds value to your business, creating a portal where all your content is in place enables customers to learn and find answers. The different teams within your company can send feedback to reflect product changes, and your technical writers and subject matter experts (SMEs) can quickly update it with rapid one-click publication.

  1. Set up metrics and test

To set up your product documentation for success, it is important to establish metrics and monitor progress and results. Like any other product, you need to know if your knowledge portal achieves its purpose and delivers what users wants—relevant and timely answers.

Here, you must know your customers. You can track the performance of your product documentation by setting up analytics in the portal, understand your customer behavior, and tweak your portal and content delivery accordingly.

  1. Anticipate problems

While product documentation is easy to produce once a system and portal is in place, problems are inevitable, and customers do encounter issues with content—access, lacking information, errors, broken links and more. What if one of your writers leave, what is your continuityplan?

Your product documentation must take note of these potential problems and address them or have a detailed plan in place. One approach is allowing technical writers, SMEs and other authorized stakeholders to add comments, tables or images into documents, as well as leave comments and debate changes before changes are implemented.  You can also allow users to give feedback so you’re aware of unsolved issues that you may have missed.

  1. Get everyone on board

Product documentation can be tedious and costly because, together with your product, it evolves. You can leverage it not only to aid customer support and attract new customers, but also to streamline information flow within the organization. Running a business is not a walk in the park because it has many components and departments, product documentation can make things more convenient acting as a shared portal where everyone else gets informed of the latest on your products.

From engineering and support to marketing and sales, a streamlined product documentation ensures that content is delivered and used for the benefit of the company. For instance, when engineering fixes a bug, support can be updated and offer the appropriate solution to customers. Your teams are also your customers, by enabling the portal to work to their advantage, you are helping them do better at their job which translates to better performance and eventually great bottom line.

  1. Keep your eye on the goal

Ensuring your product documentation is relevant and timely means keeping up with industry standards, market landscape and customer needs. However, among the noise, the end goal is always to simplify complexity for users. Product documentation exists to help customers solve problems and get the best out of your product.

Aside from turning technical content to easily understandable information, you can also make use of photos and video tutorials. Making your product documentation searchable can increase customer satisfaction with the portal experience. Giving users the option of an automated and faceted search for a solution before opening a support case can also support case deflection and reduce time-to-resolution.

Product documentation has always been viewed as a secondary necessity after products. However, as information becomes more accessible and empowers customers to learn about companies and shift loyalties, product documentation proves an asset—especially when it comes to team and customer engagement. Keeping your knowledge portal constantly updated and in top shape not only leave a positive impression to your customers, but also make your company processes more efficient and productive.

Zoomin’s dynamic knowledge portal extends the reach of product documentation libraries by giving customers easy, personalized access to the answers they need—from any device, whenever they want, and from any location. Zoomin moves your content from a static collection of documents, to a dynamic world of answers. Learn more by scheduling your guided demo.

Zoomin Software