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The Instruction Manual is the first step in the customer experience

Whenever you buy something in the store and have to do any type of work with the product, it comes with a booklet known as an Instruction Manual.  These documents are intended to help readers use, assemble, or install the product. However, sometimes those booklets are in a totally different language or make little to no sense when reading them.

There are many different types of manuals, including some good ones and bad ones. People’s experiences with them have influenced them in regard to how they buy similar products moving forward.  A good instruction manual improves the customer’s experience and builds brand loyalty.

Different Types Of Manuals

There are many different types of instruction manuals that you may encounter.  Here are some examples:

  • User and operator’s manuals are some of the most vital types of manuals out there. These manuals describe to end-user customers how the product works in order to use it correctly. If products do not come with this type of manual, the chances of the end-user damaging the product or possibly being injured goes up.
  • Another common manual is a service and maintenance manual.  This type of manual describes how to maintain, repair, and perform other services on a product.

Good vs. Bad Manuals

As previously mentioned, some manuals are good, and some are bad. You probably have a good idea of how frustrating a process can be without proper instructions.

A good manual versus a bad one can make or break your customer’s experience. The differences can be a stark contrast.

Some things that make up a good instruction manual include:

  • Having step-by-step, detailed instructions
  • Including an overview picture of the product
  • Having an index to direct readers right to where they want to go

Some things that make up a bad instruction manual: 

  • Vague instructions and pictures
  • Having too basic instructions
  • Having only pictures and no text instructions included

Why It Is Important to Include an Instruction Manual

The industry you are in determines how important it is to include a manual with your product. For something such as a piece of furniture bought off Amazon, you need to have one so the customer can know how to put it together.

The most important reason you want to include an instruction manual is to ensure that the end-user is using the product correctly and safely. 

What Objectives You Want To Reach

When it comes to writing a good instruction manual, it is important to have a set list of objectives you want to achieve.  However, there are two main objectives all instruction manuals should achieve:

  • Familiarize the end-user with the product
  • Walk the end-user through the steps to complete a task regarding the product’s use.

If you can ship your products with manuals that accomplish either of those objectives, you will have started down the path of having a good instruction manual.

Why You Should Offer An Electronic Instruction Manual

In this day and age with everything being done online, it is important for your product and company information to be able to be seen online as well as the product they buy. 

When buying a used car online, there is a 50/50 chance that the owner’s manual is in there with the maintenance schedule. Being able to look up their car’s make and model to be able to find the manual can help some customers make the decision on when to change fluids in the vehicle. 

The automotive industry is just one example of an industry where instruction manuals for products can be found online, however.  The importance of having a larger online presence in the current age is more important than at any other time in history.

Why You Should Include Photo References

Photo references are good for those who get stuck with a particular step in a manual. A photo can help move along the process.  Such a reference can even help in ways such as making sure something is put together facing the right direction, such as furniture. 

How an Instruction Manual Will Improve Customer Service

If you provide a good instruction manual with any products or services you provide, it will improve the customer’s experience and help reduce customer service traffic.

Customers are less likely to call and complain about how bad the manual is when they have a problem and will be more open to suggestions you can make to solve the problem they have.

Retaining Customers

Improving relations between the customer service agents and the customer will help in the long term for retaining the customers’ business. The public is more likely to buy a product again if the instructions from your company the last time were clear, concise, and it was an overall good experience.

However, a bad instruction manual starts the process of using and/or building your product on the wrong foot. The first thing most people look for when opening a new product is the instruction manual.

The ability to use the right references when shipping an instruction manual is the key to a successful first impression on the customer. It can make or break the likelihood of a customer becoming a repeat customer. From putting furniture together to trying to navigate the menus on a Nikon Camera, everyone needs instructions in everyday life.

How EDC can Help

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, we guarantee the quality of our work. Contact us today to get started at (800) 221-0093 or [email protected]

Written by Dylan Friebel