Scene: A Discussion Between a Technical Author and a Manager

But have you recently checked the Helpdesk call stats?

How often have you considered the conversation you want with a manager without respect for the written word? When you do, will it go something like the content below? So, let’s read A Discussion Between a Technical Author and a Manager.

Characters:

      • Technical Author (TA)
      • Manager (M)

Setting: A corporate office in the manager’s office. The room has a large desk, a computer, and bookshelves filled with documentation manuals.

TA: (looking concerned) I’ve been reviewing our latest product documentation and must say it could be better. Numerous inaccuracies make it hard to follow and lack coherence. Our customers have been quite vocal about these issues.

M: (dismissively) I think you’re overreacting. Our documentation is excellent, and customers always find something to complain about.

TA: (patiently) But the complaints are consistent. They mention the same problems: unclear instructions, lack of coordination between sections, and poor flow. These are not just one-off comments; it’s a trend.

M: (irritated) Our customers don’t understand the product. They’re not exactly the brightest, you know. If they can’t follow simple instructions, that’s on them, not us.

TA: (firmly) I beg to differ. Our job is to make the documentation clear and accessible. If multiple customers are struggling, we need to address that with urgency. Documentation is crucial for customer satisfaction and retention.

M: (defensive) We’ve been doing it this way for years. We can’t change everything. Besides, rewriting everything would be a massive waste of time and resources.

TA: (calmly) Consider this: poor documentation already costs us time, money and resources. Also, our contract of delivery states we will supply up-to-date documentation. If a customer reads that, we could find ourselves up to our necks in a lawsuit for providing defective user guides. Another point: I read in a trade magazine our software ranks number 10 out of fifteen competitors, and our company is haemorrhaging cash. I also know you have contracted three more help desk pros to help with the increased demand for the increasing number of calls. But have you checked the Helpdesk call stats lately? They are still overwhelmed with more calls and emails that we could avoid with better documentation. The other day, they were fielding One call every ten minutes, and many calls were from the same customers becasue our help desk needed to know the answer. With every iteration of our software with more add-ins, our customers need help finding solutions that our software promises to fix. And our frustrated customers are turning to our competitors. Better documentation will help the support team. It works two ways.

M: (reluctant) So, what do you propose?

TA: Let’s start by conducting a thorough review of the documentation. I’ll work closely with the product team to ensure we capture all the details accurately. We can reorganize the content to improve the flow and clarity. We should also get feedback from some loyal customers before finalizing anything.

M: (sceptical) And you think that will make a difference?

TA: (confidently) Absolutely. Clear and well-structured documentation can significantly enhance the user experience. It reduces the need for support, increases customer satisfaction, and leads to better retention and word-of-mouth.

M: (sighs) Alright, fine. Let’s give it a shot. But I’m holding you responsible for this. If it doesn’t work, it’s on you.

TA: (smiling) Fair enough. I’ll get started right away.

M: (grudgingly) Make sure it’s worth it.

TA: (determined) It will be. You’ll see.

Narrator: The technical author embarked on a mission to overhaul the documentation. The technical author transformed the documentation into a clear, comprehensive, user-friendly guide through meticulous effort and collaboration. Customer complaints dwindled, support requests decreased, and satisfaction soared. Despite resistance, the manager couldn’t deny the positive impact of the improved documentation. The technical author had indeed saved the day.

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