What company isn’t looking to increase sales, reduce expenses, and manage risk? Achieving these goals may be easier than you think.
Too often, companies look to the obvious in search of solutions.
- To increase sales, they look at their sales and marketing practices.
- To reduce expenses, they look for pockets of ‘fat’ to trim, like excess headcount or external vendor contracts.
- To manage risk, they focus on tightening policies and procedures in legal, compliance, and audit areas.
All of these approaches are strategically viable. They make sense. However, if you stop there you are doing your company a disservice by not looking at solutions more holistically. You may overlook a cost-effective opportunity to achieve company goals with less disruption – technical writing.
Technical writing services provide professionally trained writers to create documentation that helps companies maximize their objectives. Generally, a company creates two types of documentation: 1) Customer Facing Documentation and 2) Employee Facing Documentation. Both types of documentation can help a company achieve its goals.
How Can I Increase Sales?
Most companies have user guides, instruction manuals, or online self-service resources (all Customer Facing Documentation). The goal of this documentation is to help a company’s customers more easily use the company’s product or resolve their problems independently. The better customer support a company provides, the more likely customers will be to buy and use the company’s products. In addition, it is also a critical factor in retaining customers. The cost to acquire a customer is high, therefore retaining customers is critical to any company’s bottom line.
Forrester, a top market research firm, found that 53% of US adults trying to make an online purchase are likely to abandon their purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their questions. This could significantly impact sales.
Many companies have poorly written and/or poorly organized online self-service resources and user guides that are frustrating to use for customers seeking answers. Companies’ Customer Facing Documentation was often not crafted or updated by professional writers.
As a result, poor quality online self-service resources and user guides not only negatively impact company sales but negatively impact expenses, as well.
How Can I Reduce Expenses?
When customers can’t get answers to their questions easily by using user guides and online self-service resources, they often reach out to live customer support, if offered, for help. Live support is an expensive proposition for companies.
Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, estimates that only 9% of customers report solving their issues completely via online self-service options. Gartner also estimates that the cost of live channels averages $8.01 per contact, while the cost of self-service channels averages $.10 per contact.
This significant differential represents potential cost savings for any company that makes its user guides and online self-service resources easier to navigate and understand.
How Can I Manage Risk?
So far, we have discussed Customer Facing Documentation. However, Employee Facing Documentation is also critical for helping companies manage risk. So, this documentation empowers employees to do their jobs with confidence, protecting the company from unnecessary errors.
In most companies, different areas in the organization need to follow various principles and the processes that operationalize those principles — aka ‘Policies and Procedures’ — in their day-to-day workflows.
When Policies and Procedures are poorly written and/or organized, employees may have difficulty complying with them, exposing the company to unanticipated risks. The better-documented Policies and Procedures are, the easier they are for employees to understand and implement. Therefore, Policies and Procedures are correctly (and consistently) implemented when a company can manage its risk exposure more effectively. This is especially true in regulated industries.
ACHIEVE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS MORE EFFICIENTLY WITH LESS INTERNAL DISRUPTION
It is common to find documentation shortcomings in some of the areas discussed above. The good news is that these shortfalls can be remedied cost-effectively, with considerable upside for a company’s investment.
So, the following steps can be taken to achieve your business goals more efficiently:
- Review all Customer Facing Documentation. Determine how useful your customer finds the documentation. Seek direct customer feedback on your support documentation. Surveys and focus groups can help collect this feedback quickly.
- Review key performance indicators of customer use of online self-service documentation versus live support. For example, analyze the number of live support requests over time and their effectiveness versus customer usage of online self-service resources and ‘likes’ for those resources.
- Review the Policies and Procedures your company has implemented. Are they readily accessible to employees? Are they current? Are they easy to understand and follow? Are they comprehensive, i.e., they address all the key risks your company must manage?
If you determine that the Customer Facing and Employee Facing Documentation discussed in 1), 2) and 3) above are inadequate, it is time to assemble a team of technical writers to scope out how they can help your company upgrade its documentation, enabling you to increase sales, reduce expenses and manage risk more effectively.
See actual case studies of companies that have used technical writing services to achieve their goals.