How Great Product Documentation Brings Companies Closer to Customers
Let’s face it: the advice that companies should lean forward and engage their customers isn’t groundbreaking. In fact, Gigaom refers to this common wisdom as “the central maxim of our time”, and an IBM survey of CEOs found that getting closer to customers was their top priority. However, what is new and noteworthy, is the advice that companies should look beyond conventional departments and teams — typically sales, marketing and customer service – and close the gap with customers through an asset that, historically, has not been viewed as a major piece of the customer engagement puzzle: product documentation.
Indeed, today’s savvy and empowered customers are checking out product documentation not just to learn about specifications, characteristics, quality and features, but to evaluate a company’s credibility, trustworthiness, commitment to communication, responsiveness, and other variables that consciously and subconsciously influence a purchase decision; or, in some cases, prevent one.
In light of this, forward-looking companies need to ensure that customers come away from each product documentation encounter informed, impressed and inspired – whether it occurs on the corporate website, through a Google search, or through any other channel or touchpoint. Of course, understanding this goal is the easy part. Achieving it, however, has been a major challenge.
This is because conventional product documentation tools oblige TechPubs departments and technical writers to think primarily in terms of output formats (e.g. online help, knowledge portals, PDF, etc.), rather than expand their horizons and leverage product document as part of the company’s overall customer engagement strategy.
As such, what has been urgently needed – and what Zoomin for Jive uniquely delivers – is a customizable and scaleable product documentation system that closes the gap with customers by allowing companies to efficiently:
- publish content directly to their community in structured topics – without having to change formatting, switch authoring or review workflows
- give customers easy access to precise, searchable content on the device of their choice – which also increases case deflection and reduces Time-to-Resolution
- use content to enrich the customer conversation, and encourage customer-to-customer knowledge sharing and support
- improve content by incorporating comments, feedback and customer rankings directly into the workflow
- reach more customers by pushing content to search engines
- track impact metrics to measure interaction, engagement, relevance and value
The bottom-line is that Zoomin for Jive transforms product documentation from an unavoidable expense into a potent engagement enabler – one that closes the gap and brings customers closer to companies. In the past this was viewed as a best practice. But on today’s increasingly customer-centric landscape, it’s nothing less than a critical requirement.