A New View of Technical Content: Delivery is Part of the Content

Posted by
May 29, 2017

When e-commerce first arrived on the scene a couple of decades ago, consumers were so interested — and amazed — at the idea of buying products through the web, that they generally either ignored or tolerated a less-than-ideal delivery experience. For example, they didn’t necessarily return an order if it arrived late, cancel an order if customer service reps didn’t know where a package was in transit, or escalate their anger when obliged to go back-and-forth (and back-and-forth…and back-and-forth) with third-party shippers.

 

Seamless Delivery is Now Critical

 Yet, on today’s established online buying landscape — where for some, purchasing a car through the web is as ordinary as buying replacement printer ink —  consumers are far more demanding than their early e-commerce ancestors. A survey by logistics firm Convey found that 66 percent of online shoppers now rate delivery as critical, and that anything less than a near-flawless shipping experience will convince them to cancel/return an order, head to a competitor, and likely have some unpleasant parting words on the way out. Indeed, according to a Zendesk study, 95 percent of unhappy ex-customers share their negative experiences offline and online.

Now, businesses that aren’t in the e-commerce space may be breathing a sigh of relief — and also, frankly, wondering what the above has to do with technical content. The implication is this: customers who access technical content after purchase don’t just insist that the material is relevant. This expectation has always been there, and no businesses needs to be told that it’s a good idea to give customers information that they’ll find helpful and useful (this advice is about as “profound and illuminating” as telling restaurant owners that they’d be better off serving tasty food that people like vs. stuff that they won’t!).

What’s changed, however, is that much like their expectations about having e-commerce purchases flawlessly shipped to the office or home, customers now demand that technical content is delivered to them in an easy, personalized and efficient way. In other words: how customers get technical content has become as important as what’s conveyed by technical content — because customers now see access and relevance as part of the same overall experience continuum.
Arguably, delivery may be even more important, because perceived friction or failures along the way will stop some customers from reading, watching or listening to technical content in the first place. They’ll just exit the buyer’s journey at the first possible opportunity (i.e. churn). So much for breathing a sigh of relief!

 

Changing Platforms and Avoiding Pitfalls

The good news is businesses that need to improve — or better stated, preserve — a good customer experience by avoiding delivery pitfalls don’t need to increase their (probably already too costly) content management budget. Instead, they can implement a single, centralized “one stop” branded content delivery platform that:

  • Delivers personalized content for each individual customer as well as curated content recommendations based on customer profile (relevant variables like product, role, industry, location, etc).
  • Uses full-text search and faceted search capabilities, so that customers can find the precise content they want quickly and easily — even if they don’t quite know what they need or what it’s called.
  • Improves content relevance by dynamically applying global content changes to each customer’s proprietary content. At the same time, this significantly improves content re-use and ROI, which reduces content creation and management costs.
  • Uses real-time tracking analytics to measure content engagement, such as popularity, frequency and shares, so that TechPubs and other related departments can allocate resources to high-performance content and glean best practices that optimize customer experience.

 

The Bottom Line

 In just a few decades, customers have gone from not caring all that much about how technical content is delivered to them, to caring so much that it’s now a tacit entitlement. They don’t just want content delivery to be flawless and impressive: they expect it, and won’t settle for anything less. This means businesses need to shift their perspectives and update their standards, because these days delivery isn’t just a process that gets technical content in front of customers. In many ways, it’s part of the content itself.

 

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