#contentculture: Uncovering product content’s impact on support costs
It’s no surprise to any documentation expert that 52% of support cases can be avoided through existing content, as the Frost & Sullivan report found. In fact, content experts might wonder why the numbers are not even higher, given how technical content allows customers to self-serve and find their answers quickly and accurately.
Our June 2022 panel “Using content as your secret (support) agent,” addressed content’s impact on support costs, how to quantify content’s impact and how to communicate this impact with executives. The key, our panelists agreed, is to make the C-Suite understand that content is their support agent, and that it should not be a secret one, nevertheless.
Moderated by Tom DeBeauchamp, Customer Success Manager at Zoomin, we learned from the experience of:
Patricia Burrows, director of information development at Rocket software, providing predictive analytics with deep data, developing AI and machine learning capabilities, and designing mobile and browser applications.
Billy Cook, director of knowledge management at ADP, a fortune 500 global provider of human capital management solutions, helping companies manage people and their time and payroll.
Seth Park, solution architect at Zoomin, with over 20 years in the information development world.
Our brilliant panelists shared their experiences in capturing technical documentation’s potential to reduce support costs, and were generous to share their inside tips on how to communicate it to their leadership.
Start with what customers don’t want to know: Your customers don’t care about your organizational structure or any internal decision making processes. Your customers want their product questions answered truthfully, as quickly and easily as possible. For your customers, it matters that you provide them with product documentation that provides them with answers in a seamless and personalized manner, not forcing them to browse your knowledge organizational silos in search of answers. For that, explained Zoomin’s Solution Architect, Seth Park, companies should create a sort of corporate content culture (#contentculture) that breaks down content silos that prevent users from getting the knowledge they need, and replaces them with a seamless knowledge experience that orchestrates the relevant knowledge for each user.
The key to overcoming the isolation of multiple groups working on product content is eventually to create the same content across knowledge silos, explained Patricia Burrows, Director of information development at Rocket Software. Creating cross-collaboration teams, especially when formulating the strategy for the product is critical to develop a content culture. Rocket Software, for example, is developing a content culture that encourages teams to collaborate when creating content, working essentially as a centralized team, and elevating content’s visibility.
Simply put, make sure you define your content’s success in the most clear and transparent way possible. Show how the impact of product content is related to the company's wide goals by tying the story of your work to the company's success metrics. Thus, embracing a revenue narrative and speaking the C-Suite's language will help advance your content culture. Executives, said Seth Park, are usually very passionate about their business, and take pride in the company that they are working for. Therefore, it is crucial to listen to how the senior leadership is telling their success story and make sure that you describe your work in their terms. Providing hard data not only shows their company's current state, but it also shows the direction that the product is taking, emphasizing content as the company's core strategy and leading an internal content culture.
The power of narrative is immense, agreed Billy Cook, Director of Knowledge Management at ADP. He highlighted the importance of telling your leaders a story, offering them customer satisfaction and success stories or having better yet capturing clients' voices and letting them tell the story of your product. That can resonate with your executives, and distinguish your work among the flood of information that they navigate. The importance of storytelling for documentation is critical to making sure that leaders remember your work while they follow the company's goals.
Our host, Tom DeBeauchamp, highlighted the importance of analytics to offer the relevant information. By partnering with other relevant teams and analyzing the product documentation’s data, content teams can develop the story of the product. Patricia Burrows explained how Rocket Software is capturing the advantages of their content’s analytics, powered by Zoomin. Metrics such as the numbers of people that are visiting the documentation portal and the volume of content they're looking at are key to share with leadership teams
The fact that content can play a powerful role in reducing support costs is well known to documentation professionals, but if you truly want to spread this knowledge throughout your company, you must share it with executives and teams. The power of storytelling, our panelists agreed, is important to persuade leaders. Yet, it is also important to remember that the reason documentation experts are passionate about their work is to help the users achieve their goals. By the end of the day, engaging customers directly is, no doubt, the best way to communicate your impact.