These days we hear a lot of talk about improving the “customer experience,” which Wikipedia defines as “the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services.” That covers a lot of ground, so it’s not surprising that so many people are paying attention to this subject.
Good Communication = A Good Customer Experience
Like any relationship, the secret to a good customer experience is communication: knowing your customer and delivering the right information in the right way. These days that includes knowing whether your customer likes getting information in print, online, in an email or a phone call.
The content your customers want has many authors inside your organization, including product development, marketing, sales, training and support. To provide a great customer experience that really defines your brand, all that information has to be up-to-date and consistent.
That doesn’t just happen by itself. You need to build an infrastructure that facilitates a good flow of information, not only back and forth to your customers but also across your internal departments.
Most Customer Experiences Happen After the Sale
The current focus on customer experience puts a spotlight on technical documentation and support. It has always mattered how well your customers adopt your product, especially when their contract is up for renewal, but today we are starting to realize that the quality of your post-sale experiences really influence whether people will buy from you in the first place.
Customers are smarter than they used to be. They will check out your support site before making any long-term commitments to your product or service; they will visit online forums and get the truth directly from your current customers. What kind of message are they getting about your product?
You know that Customer Advocates are the best marketers you can have. But don’t forget that your support resources and documentation writers play a key role in guiding people along that journey from awareness and attraction to purchase, use, and advocacy.
Building A Knowledge Infrastructure for the 21st Century
Want to hear more of our thoughts on this subject? We have a brand new white paper out. It’s about how applying structure to your product content with the DITA XML standard and using a content management system to share it with the world can future-proof your knowledge infrastructure, giving your customers the information they want in the format, language and device they prefer.