Customer satisfaction is a major goal for every business, and customer support is the foundation of that goal. But without adequate support, customer service can turn into a frustrating experience where your team is constantly putting out fires or wasting their time answering the same low-level questions. So what does it mean to have effective customer service? And where does a customer support manual come into the picture? At its simplest, a customer support manual is a set of resources provided to your customers to help them self-service basic support questions. It's built for an audience of customers, and its purpose is to decrease support requests by enabling customers to solve low-level support issues themselves.
Reasons to Protect your Product Documentation One of the primary questions we get when customers are setting up a new documentation site is "How do I protect my documentation?"
I was ready to checkout of Lowe's. On my way to the register, I noticed there were a few available machines at self-checkout, and considered skipping the line to scan everything myself. But I didn't. On this particular trip, I purchased a few odd items, and I wasn't sure I could successfully go through the self-checkout. So I walked on by and found somebody who could help me. That's the first reason customers will opt to skip self-service: they're not sure they can solve their own problems using the tools you've given them. Your customers might think of their problems as being unique, and assume your self-service hasn't considered their situation.
Back in 2010, Greg wrote an article about his experience purchasing software from MacHeist, called "Build the Ark Before the Flood." His experience with developers who sold their software through MacHeist had not always been great - mainly because they clearly weren't prepared for the volume of support requests that were going to come their way. A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to be on the other side of the MacHeist fence - our app, Clarify, was featured as part of the MacHeist NanoBundle 3. It was our chance to really put to test the support processes we have established over the last couple of years.
I was looking at a recent bundle from StackSocial and was just about to purchase it so that I could get one product - but before I made the plunge, I wanted to read some reviews to see what others were saying. Some reviews said that the program crashed all the time. Okay, that's a problem, but it's not a huge issue because bug fixes come out all of the time and that matter could quickly be resolved. But then I saw another review that sort of caught my attention - "Beware of any company that has this level of service (none)." Oh my! Well, one review can be ignored, right? But then I saw another review - "You will never get any support." And then another... and another. Well... that did it for me. I don't really have time to work with an application that doesn't have any support.
If you perform any type of customer service, your goal should be to help your customers be successful. Especially in today's Yelpified-social media saturated world where word of mouth marketing and customer loyalty can make or break you. But how do you know that what you are doing is really helping your customers be successful? How can you tell that your best tools and help-desk software are really improving the overall quality of your customer service? Coming up with the right metrics, and then being able to effectively track those metrics, can be tricky. But you need to do it, otherwise you'll never be sure whether your investment in getting the best customer service tools is really paying off.
As a user, nothing is more frustrating than reading instructions that are out of date. Help files that describe buttons, icons or features that simply don't exist anymore are one of the cruelest things any organization can inflict upon its users. Unfortunately it is all too common. How often do your update your docs? What if you GPS was only updated as often as your documentation?