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Product instructions: The missing piece of the customer experience webinar

The total customer experience is critical to the success of a company; it relates tightly to customer loyalty and increased sales. Companies with better customer experience see their revenues improve through increased spending from existing customers and reduced customer churn.

Product instructions are part of the Use cycle of the customer experience but how do you know if they are meeting the needs of your customers?

Learn more about:
• What your customers think about your product instructions:
o 95% of your customers are using the product instructions
o 71% of your customers think if the instructions are confusing or incomplete, the overall quality of the product is poor
o 71% of your customers think clear instructions means a company cares about them
• What good product instructions include and why
• 5 signs your product instructions are hurting the customer experience

Product instructions: The missing piece of the customer experience webinar

  1. 1. Product instructions The forgotten piece of the Customer Experience Sharon Burton 951-369-8590 Twitter: sharonburton Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  2. 2. Thank you for attending! ▪ Sharon Burton ▪ Been in the Communication industry for 20 years ▪ I solve post-sales customer experience problems ▪ Research how people feel about product instructions ▪ Support clients in creating better product instructions ▪ Teach communication at various universities Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  3. 3. We have a wonderful audience ▪ We have people from technical publications, marketing, and customer experience ▪ I’m going to spend a bit of time introducing your fields to each other up front ▪ It turns out, we’re all doing very related things Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  4. 4. This is who we are and what we do ▪ Customer experience ▪ The sum of all experiences a customer has with a company ▪ ▪ Marketing ▪ Communicated the value of a product or service to customers ▪ ▪ Technical communication ▪ Create information about technical processes or products, typically instructional ▪
  5. 5. The cost of acquiring and keeping customers The place to start Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  6. 6. Getting customers is expensive It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – Bain & Company ▪ CustomerAcquisition Cost (CAC) is the cost of convincing people to buy your product or service ▪ Basically, it’s the total cost of sales and marketing divided by the customers you got ▪ B2C is typically less, B2B is typically more
  7. 7. Keeping customers A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75% — Bain and Co ▪ Customer churn is customers leaving from the back door as you welcome new ones in the front door ▪ Customer churn is one of the most expensive things you can have ▪ An entire industry exists to analyze churn
  8. 8. Upsell/resell rates The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%.The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% —Marketing Metrics ▪ Existing customers are already engaged with your products or services ▪ They have a lower cost to keep ▪ They should buy more stuff ▪ Higher lifetime value to the business ▪ Can be your evangelists
  9. 9. Reduce return rate The average U.S. consumer spends 20 minutes trying to make a device work before giving up and returning it to the seller— 2006 study by Dutch scientist Elke den Ouden ▪ Returns have increased 21 percent since 2007, according to aAccenture research report (Dec 2011) ▪ 5% of returns are related to actual product defects ▪ 27% reflect “buyer’s remorse” ▪ 68% of returned products are “NoTrouble Found”
  10. 10. Customer experience increases sales 81% of companies …delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competitors — Peppers and Rogers, 2009 Customer Experience Maturity Monitor ▪ Customer experience is the outcome of all of the touch points that your customer has with your organization * ▪ The perception that customers have across all of their interactions with your organization * ▪ It’s a customer-centric view of your company from every touch point From Customer Experience Overview, 2011, BruceTempkin and Jeanne Bliss
  11. 11. Customer experience is a big deal Product instructions are a critical part of the customer experience. If customers can’t use the product, you get a high churn rate — Sharon Burton ▪ Product instructions are the central to the post-sales customer experience ▪ Technical communication is a subset of customer experience ▪ We have so much in common ▪ Tech comm is concerned with the post-sales part
  12. 12. What do people think about product instructions? I have some answers Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  13. 13. There’s just not a lot out there You will get a link in email tomorrow to the free version of the research ▪ I’ve run a poll the last 2 years ▪ Focused on consumers ▪ Surprisingly, there is just not a lot of research into what people think about product instructions ▪ Everyone has an opinion, though!
  14. 14. Use product instructions About 91% of customers use the product instructions
  15. 15. Doesn’t make sense About 66% say sometimes product instructions make sense 1 in 3 don’t understand your instructions
  16. 16. Reflect on the product 51% worry the rest of the product was also skimped on
  17. 17. Reduce confidence in the product About 24% report they don’t feel confident about the product 1 in 4
  18. 18. Wouldn’t purchase again About 50% wouldn’t purchase from the company again Half your customers
  19. 19. Angry and regretful About 90% are angry or regret the purchase when they can’t use the instructions
  20. 20. Defective or broken About 25% feel the product is defective 1 in 4
  21. 21. Won’t pay more About 66% won’t pay more for useful product instructions
  22. 22. Clear instructions feel good 71% think the company cares about them 7 out of 10
  23. 23. What do we do? How do we know if our product instructions are any good?What do we look for? Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  24. 24. Product-centric vs user-centric Product User TheWidget was designed to… UsingWidget, you can… TheWidget returns a message. You see… TheWidget prints the report. Your report is printed TheWidget does… You can… •People buy your product to solve issues •Talk to your customers directly •My favorite recent quote: “No one wants an iron.They want wrinkle-free clothes.”
  25. 25. Active voice, present tense Passive voice or future tense Active voice or present tense TheWidget will print the report. Your report prints. These steps may prevent the brake pedal from functioning. During these steps, the brake pedal does not work. The email will be sent if a network is found. Your email is automatically sent the next time a network is found. TheWidget will save the file. The file is saved. •Talk to your customers directly •Future tense makes timing uncertain. “Your report should print.We hope. Frankly, call us if it does.We couldn’t get that to work for us.”
  26. 26. Appropriate for the audience Specialized audience Consumer audience Use theWindows authentication mode to gain access to your credentials. On the Start menu, click Settings.Open the Authentication folder and double-click Credentials The data transfer rate is determined by the error checking algorithm used. Sometimes your photos may not upload as fast as other times. If your photos are too slow to upload, try a faster internet connection if available, such as at a coffee shop. •Do NOT “dumb down” the information •Understand your audience and speak appropriately to them The average reading level in the US is 5th grade. If you are writing to general consumers, write to that reading level.
  27. 27. Short – just short ▪ Short sentences are easier to understand ▪ Fewer ideas in a short sentence ▪ No more than 25 words per sentence ▪ Short paragraphs ▪ Paragraphs are groups of related sentences ▪ No more than 3 to 5 sentences per paragraph ▪ Short sections ▪ Sections are groups of related paragraphs ▪ No more than 3 to 5 paragraphs before a section heading
  28. 28. The 4 things you must cover* ▪ We know people read the instructions ▪ But not like a novel ▪ They don’t want to know how the story ends ▪ They want to know: ▪ “Why do I care?” ▪ “How do I…?” ▪ “What is it?” ▪ “Why did it do that?” ▪ Answer these 4 questions * From BonniGraham presentation “The 4 user questions”
  29. 29. Ways people consume information ▪ There are 4 ways people consume information ▪ Visual – pictures, line drawings, flow charts ▪ Auditory – sound, conversational writing ▪ Read/write – words, sentences, labels in pictures ▪ Kinesthetic (hands on) – touch, descriptive writing, texture in pictures ▪ Most people have a strong preference 2 or more ▪ Some people are only one ▪ Some rare people are all 4 ▪ It is not true that because of [insert thing here], we all want pictures or videos
  30. 30. Support all 4 ▪ Steps to do tasks ▪ Graphical elements ▪ Conceptual graphics especially good ▪ Videos can be good ▪ Conversational writing style ▪ Podcasts especially good ▪ Textured word descriptions
  31. 31. Putting it together So what does this all mean? Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp
  32. 32. In sum ▪ CAC costs are high for most companies ▪ It’s cheaper and easier to sell to existing customers ▪ Reducing customer churn increases sales ▪ Customer experience is concerned with how a customer interacts with a company across the board ▪ Customers use product instructions ▪ Product instructions impact the customer experience ▪ People are upset and angry with the quality of product instructions ▪ Clear and useful product instructions are a competitive advantage
  33. 33. Useful and helpful product instructions are: ▪ User focused, user-centric ▪ Active voice, present tense ▪ Appropriate to the audience ▪ Not as simple as possible or dumbed down ▪ Short sentences, short paragraphs, short sections ▪ Support all 4 information consumption modes ▪ Address the customer questions
  34. 34. Thank you! Thoughts? Comments? Sharon Burton 951-369-8590 Twitter: sharonburton Tweet tag: #ForgottenCustExp