Why accessible product documentation is great for business

May 15, 2018

Operating a business or heading a department responsible for growth, it is most likely that you spend majority of your time and resources devising ways to attract and retain customers. But aside from the usual outbound and inbound marketing and sales strategies, have you ever considered if there are any barriers that prevent your customers from accessing your products and services (and their respective documentation)?

How the face of accessibility transformed over the years

Decades ago, accessibility means placing your brick and mortar store in a strategic, visible location that is easy for your target market to get to whether that is through public or private transportation. Because of the limited choices available for customers before, this set up—in which customers did have to travel to get whatever they need—is usually more favorable for businesses.

However, digital transformed everything. Instead of customers going to stores to buy or have something fixed, they go online first. Instead of automatically choosing a specific brand because that’s the only one available in the market, they now have choices and do comparison before purchasing. Instead of speaking to a salesperson, they conduct research and consult online reviews. Instead of businesses having the upper hand, the field is flatter today. On top of stiffer competition, customers have become more demanding and harder to please.

How to do accessible customer service right with product documentation

One aspect of customer strategy that encompasses the initial stage of buying all the way to the final stage of post-sales support is customer service. Some interesting facts from McKinsey & Co. about what your customers might be thinking across their buying journey: 75% of online customers expect help within 5 minutes and 61% of customers are more likely to buy from companies that deliver custom content.

Further, according to a Deloitte survey, the following are your customers’ top three important criteria in decision to buy: transparency of prices (80%), overall level of convenience (78%), and clarity and usefulness of product/service information (67%). In sum, it’s all about making customers’ lives easier.

Communication between a business and its customers has always been the foundation of good customer service. And right now, customers expect it to be convenient and accessible anytime, anywhere, and by whatever means of. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but this is where your product documentation can be leveraged, enabling you not only to attract, retain, engage customers, but also cut costs from customer support.

Here’s a checklist of what your product documentation should look like to ensure that customers can first, access your content whenever, wherever they need it, and then, benefit from it:

  • Easy to find. Make sure your product documentation is automatically indexed to search engines, so that customers can easily find the authorized information they want via Google, and not just through the company website, whichever device, or channel they are using.
  • Customers value convenience, so it follows that they must be able to search through your product documentation portal and content with ease. To enhance their experience, you can also enable elements like live filtering and search result previews, as well as automated and faceted search for a solution before opening a support case to support case deflection and reduce time-to-resolution.
  • Relevant and concise. Your product documentation must not only be easily tagged and indexed in Flare, DITA, XML, Office, or any other formats, but it also must be maintained and consistently revised with the latest information to increase its authority and customer trust. To make things fuss-free for you, make sure your product documentation portal supports rapid one-click publication of both new and updated content.
  • With the rise of social media, more customers are becoming vocal about their concerns and ideas. Be sure to gather these feedback by enabling comments and sharing tools. To improve your product documentation process, you can also allow technical writers, and other authorized stakeholders to add comments, tables, or images into documents, and debate before implementing changes.
  • Customer-based. Be the customer and think like your customers. Help your customers thrive (and increase their engagement) by allowing your product documentation portal to send additional relevant content that might be helpful. You can also understand your customers better by monitoring and acting over the analytics of the documentation portal to eventually increase customers traffic.

Doing business in today’s digital age, you probably already understood the fact that customers are calling the shots. And generally, their expectations boil down to one thing: Excellent, personalized, and meaningful customer experience. The accessibility and usability of your product documentation is one way for your business to deliver that, that is both cost-effective and impactful both for you and your customers. So, the next time your customers conduct their own product research, or attempt to solve an issue on their own, make sure your product documentation shows up on their screen. Why not try it for yourself and see if it does?

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