How Documentation Can Make or Break Your Company
"If your business hasn't been paying attention to your documentation, you're ignoring a sales tool and a revenue generator and you need to rethink your priorities.” Click here to view the full article by Aaron Fulkerson published by Forbes.com.
Most companies need some form of documentation, whether it is a service brochure, online help, or website content. And many companies simply don’t allot enough resources to their customer documentation. They might fail to see the benefit of giving their customers consistently updated documentation for their product or service, they might think almost anyone in the company can write the documentation, or they might be on a limited budget. There is also the perception that documentation means a thick, complicated user manual, but it has grown to include much more than that (and has also become less bulky). When properly compiled and delivered, documentation can affect sales, address liability issues, and reduce customer service charges.
Many businesses advertise their services or products on the internet, and because most communication on the internet is written, correct grammar and punctuation is essential. While some might argue that most people can write, not everyone knows the ins and outs of sentence structure, technical grammar, and presentation. Consumers, wary of phishing and other online scams, frequently look at the language a company presents to decide if a company and their product or service is legitimate or worthwhile. William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University indicates this when he says, "…when a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue.” If you visit a website or read through a brochure and find grammatical or spelling errors, does it change your opinion about the company and its offerings? If you are like most people, it does. Charles Duncombe, an online entrepreneur, says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. With a statistic like that, it’s clearly beneficial to have a professional proofread all company content that the public sees.
There are also safety and liability issues that can be addressed with professional documentation. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recently mandated that assembly instructions for cribs be improved to make sure parents correctly build the cribs to prevent accidental deaths and injury to infants. This kind of safety concern can span a variety of fields and products, and if you have a professional in charge of such documentation, you can prevent liability to your company.
Providing comprehensive, complete, and accurate documentation to your customers, regardless of the type of business you own, is an invaluable way to drive down customer service costs. If consumers are aware of the documentation available to them and it contains the information they need to properly and efficiently use a product or understand a service, calls to customer support (or to you, if you are a very small business) will decrease. Your company ratings can only increase as a result because no one likes to call customer support.
As you can see, temporarily or permanently (depending on your needs) adding a professional documentation team to your company can help ensure your documentation represents your company in the best possible light. A professional writer can increase customer confidence in your company, reduce liability concerns, and reduce costs associated with a lack of consumer knowledge. Some people might not realize that a documentation professional is usually capable in a variety of mediums which can include anything from brochures and website content (including social media) to online help, user manuals, instructions, and more. A professional documentation team is an investment, not an overhead cost.
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