Researching Technical Communication and Customer Service

“Customer Service Experience” and “Customer Experience Management” may seem like just the latest, trendiest buzz words in business, but a simple Google or Bing search on customer service complaints, produces more than 62 million results, indicating the obvious—that customer service has an enormous impact on businesses.  Less obvious, but important in our world, technical communication can have an enormous impact on businesses as well.

Sadly, most of the results link to sites where a consumer can make a complaint.  Some of these are broad, and many of them are the specific customer service sites maintained by the company producing the product or delivering the service.  And not of these results are directed at businesses with advice on handling complaints and building customer loyalty in the era of social media and instant everything.

Here at TechWhirl, we want to explore some ideas behind the intersections and overlap between technical communication and customer service.  Technical communicators are dedicated to providing relevant and accurate content about the products and services their employers offer so that customers can have a good customer experience. Customer Support/technical support operations are dedicated to helping customers with problems and issues, so that customers have good experiences and remain customers.  So we’re launching “Share Your Customer Service Stories,” a page that allows anyone to tell about a customer service experience they’ve had, with an eye towards finding out the key components of the experience, and how technical communicators can be integral to maximizing a positive experience. Anyone can submit a customer service review, about a good or bad experience, for any kind of product or service.

Customer experience is a broad term, and can include every kind of interaction the customer has with your company, from the first website browsing or window shopping opportunity, right through to the ultimate disposition of the product.  In addition to creating and maintaining manuals and instructions, technical communicators often play roles in packaging, website development, content strategy, knowledge base management, and community monitoring. Perhaps less often, members of technical communication teams play roles in quality assurance, customer analysis, marketing, and training of service desk personnel.

The intersection of technical communication with management of the customer service experience presents enormous challenges and opportunities for technical communicators.  With the examples shown below, you’ll immediately notice a difference in approach.  General sites let you get started immediately on a complaint, while vendor sites start you off with a choice of direction.

Our goal is to collect and analyze anecdotal evidence from across all stages of the customer experience to explore how we can best enter the “fray” and provide additional value to our employers. Feel free to submit a customer service review using the form below, or at any time (or have your family, friends and neighbors submit their stories), the page will remain live permanently.

Start TechWhirl's Customer Service Survey

 

 

Some of the popular customer service / complaint sites

Sample of company specific customer service sites

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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