The Hidden Costs of Bad Support Documentation
Many companies consider the creation of support documentation as a necessary cost of doing business. While having support docs is key, it does more harm than good if this content is difficult to interact with.
Often organizations are so intent on ensuring that they check the box of having documentation, that they forget that the documentation is just a means to an end, and not the goal itself. Companies invest so much money in creating the support documentation, but then neglect to invest in content delivery. The failure to deliver content to its intended audience causes the initial investment to lose much, if not all, of its value.
Product documentation is an asset that can bring value to the organization as a whole. For example, strong documentation can lead to fewer support tickets, thus reducing a company’s support costs. TSIA reports that self-service resolution costs on average $4, whereas assisted resolution costs $100 per incident. In the event that a support ticket has been opened, giving support agents easy access to the documentation will help them quickly find the answer to the ticket, thus preventing escalation and cutting support time. According to HDI, every time a case is escalated from level 1 to level 2 or beyond the result is a 3X increase in cost.
While product departments spend millions of dollars testing and getting feedback on the product to increase customer satisfaction, the majority of support costs actually come from users not finding the product answers they need rather than an actual fault in your product. 79% of companies do not proactively suggest content on customer self-service channels, which means users are simply unaware of what product content exists. The implications of this are that users can’t find the answers they are looking for on their own, which makes them turn to customer support.
The solution lies in providing dynamic support documentation. Users want to be independent, if they are able to easily find the answers they are looking for then they won’t turn to support. Make your product documentation easier to locate through a unified, intelligent search. It is imperative to ensure that you are able to deliver the product content into the location or platform that your customers are most likely to use to search for product answers– whether it is in your documentation portal, support knowledge base, community or in real time in your product.