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Saying Thank You. Saying I'm Sorry.

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Technical Communicators are often the face or the voice of a technical organization. When users are in trouble, they go to the online help. When we admit we had a bug and have to fix it, users find out about it in the release notes. Whether we need to say "I'm sorry it's confusing" or "I'm sorry it's broken", we need a Technical Communicator to carry the message. This presentation will discuss some of my personal experiences when technical things go wrong and several meaningful yet fun ways I found for saying "I'm sorry" and "thank you for your understanding". This presentation involves toys!

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Saying Thank You. Saying I'm Sorry.

  1. 1. Saying Thank You. Saying I'm Sorry. When TechComm goes all wrong Viqui Dill TechComm Leader at American Woodmark Senior STC Member STC New England InterChange STC Summit 2015 3/25/2015 1| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  2. 2. Icebreaker • Who is this? What did she do? • Did you ever make a big public mistake? What did you do to make it right? http://www.ted.com/talks/monica_lewinsky_the_price_of_shame 3/25/2015 2| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  3. 3. Expectations for today 3/25/2015 3| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  4. 4. Tech rules our lives • Tech rules our lives • Tech can be big • Tech can be fragile – When technical things go wrong, they often go wrong in big, public ways – System users deserve an apology – System users deserve a sincere gesture of thanks for risking a continued relationship 3/25/2015 4| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  5. 5. Tech rules our lives • Tech rules our lives • Tech can be big • Tech can be fragile – When technical things go wrong, they often go wrong in big, public ways – System users deserve an apology – System users deserve a sincere gesture of thanks for risking a continued relationship 3/25/2015 5| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  6. 6. Hooray for #TechComm • The voice of a technical organization – Training • “I’m sorry it’s hard to do right.” – Online help • “I’m sorry it’s confusing.” – Release notes • “I’m sorry it was broken.” http://blog.wordbank.com/2011/12/23/best-404s-of-2011/ 3/25/2015 6| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  7. 7. Hooray for #TechComm • The voice of a technical organization – Training • “I’m sorry it’s hard to do right.” – Online help • “I’m sorry it’s confusing.” – Release notes • “I’m sorry it was broken.” http://blog.wordbank.com/2011/12/23/best-404s-of-2011/ 3/25/2015 7| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  8. 8. It’s all about the other guy • Active listening – Don’t interrupt – Don’t make excuses – Do make eye contact when you can – Do acknowledge the problem 3/25/2015 8| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  9. 9. Problems with the doc? • Prompt correction of the problem • Gushing thanks for the feedback • At least somebody is reading it 3/25/2015 | @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg | 9
  10. 10. Problems with the system • List the problems fixed – Order billing system failed to enable free shipping on replacement parts – Contacts screen not enabled for international phone numbers • Stress the focus on quality • Apologize for the inconvenience • Make financial or other amends • Express thanks for the business relationship 3/25/2015 10| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  11. 11. The “I” Message • State how you feel (the message relationship or meaning) – “I feel _________________________. • State the content of your message – because _______________________ – which resulted in ________________________. – What I want is __________________________.” http://americanwoodmark.com/ 3/25/2015 | @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg | 11
  12. 12. True Confessions • I’m a screw up survivor! • I learned! • I made amends for the whole organization. – Admit we caused a problem – Thank the folks for their patience with us while we worked out a solution – Give a concrete token of our appreciation, and make it an awesome stress-relief toy! 3/25/2015 12| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg | https://viquidill.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/thank-you-note/
  13. 13. 9-1-1 Dispatch • What’s the worst thing a phone system can do? – Call the cops – Scare the callers – Upset the dispatcher • My job: check up on 368 phone users – Acknowledge the problem – Thank them for their patience – Win back their trust 3/25/2015 13| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  14. 14. 9-1-1 Dispatch • What’s the worst thing a phone system can do? – Call the cops – Scare the callers – Upset the dispatcher • My job: check up on 368 phone users – Acknowledge the problem – Thank them for their patience – Win back their trust 3/25/2015 14| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  15. 15. Who moved my cheese? • Who moved my cheese? – Give the stretchy mice and cheese to clients and teammates when you've changed processes, interfaces, or objectives over and over. – Thank them for being like the second mouse who didn't freak out when the cheese moved. – Make it public! http://www.officeplayground.com/Stretchy-Mice-and-Cheese-P279.aspx 3/25/2015 15| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  16. 16. Who moved my cheese? • Who moved my cheese? – Give the stretchy mice and cheese to clients and teammates when you've changed processes, interfaces, or objectives over and over. – Thank them for being like the second mouse who didn't freak out when the cheese moved. – Make it public! http://www.officeplayground.com/Stretchy-Mice-and-Cheese-P279.aspx 3/25/2015 16| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  17. 17. I dropped the ball • Gamification added to a training program • Moved to another program, just before #STC14 • I did not communicate well what was left to do • I did not follow through 3/25/2015 17| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  18. 18. When pigs fly • Flying pig – Give the flying pig to clients and teammates who are especially committed, even in times of conflict. – Tell the Agile story about the pig and the chicken. http://www.officeplayground.com/Slingshot-Flying-Pig-P1200.aspx http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chicken_and_the_Pig 3/25/2015 18| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  19. 19. I was kicked off the team • Oh dear, I’m not on the team – Suddenly, I’m not invited to team meetings – When I found software bugs, nobody was happy about it – My test data was overwritten – Project schedules included planned overtime 3/25/2015 19| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  20. 20. Roses are red • Rose above it – Give the solar rose toy when a teammate has persevered through a tough season. – This works great when someone is willing to come to work when they're sick with something non- contagious like stress related migraines or digestive trouble. http://www.officeplayground.com/Solar-Dancing-Flower-Rose-P2362.aspx 3/25/2015 20| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  21. 21. Roses are red • Rose above it – Give the solar rose toy when a teammate has persevered through a tough season. – This works great when someone is willing to come to work when they're sick with something non- contagious like stress related migraines or digestive trouble. http://www.officeplayground.com/Solar-Dancing-Flower-Rose-P2362.aspx 3/25/2015 21| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  22. 22. I changed the plan • The project scope and objectives changed – Everything had to be redone – With the same deadline – In a high exposure project – Impacting all 3,000 employees 3/25/2015 22| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  23. 23. Metamorphosis • Butterfly – Give the butterfly solar toy when a project starts out ugly and then turns beautiful after a dormant season. – The metamorphosis message will not be lost with this token of thanks. http://www.officeplayground.com/Solar-Power-Motion- Toy-Dancing-Butterfly-P6066.aspx 3/25/2015 23| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  24. 24. I love my teammates • We did our best – Uncontrollable externals – Unforeseen results – Pulled together – Without scapegoating 3/25/2015 24| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  25. 25. Slay the dragon • Dragon – Give the dragon squeeze toy when someone helps you work through a particularly tough situation, like slaying a dragon. – Users who are willing to participate in early usability or beta tests will appreciate the metaphor. http://www.officeplayground.com/Poppin- Peepers-Dragon-P5741.aspx 3/25/2015 25| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  26. 26. Slay the dragon • Dragon – Give the dragon squeeze toy when someone helps you work through a particularly tough situation, like slaying a dragon. – Users who are willing to participate in early usability or beta tests will appreciate the metaphor. http://www.officeplayground.com/Poppin- Peepers-Dragon-P5741.aspx 3/25/2015 26| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  27. 27. I’m sorry. Here’s proof. • People love a heartfelt apology • People love toys – By combining the two, Technical Communicators will be able to rebuild relationships with customers in a concrete, humorous way 3/25/2015 27| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  28. 28. Share your story 3/25/2015 28| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  29. 29. Questions? 3/25/2015 29| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  30. 30. Did we meet your expectations? 3/25/2015 30| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |
  31. 31. Connect with me • Bio http://wdcb.stcwdc.org/about-us/chapter-bios/dill-bio/ • Blog https://viquidill.wordpress.com/ • Email social_media@stcwdc.org • @viqui_dill https://twitter.com/viqui_dill • Linked In http://www.linkedin.com/pub/viqui-dill • Facebook https://www.facebook.com/viqui.dill 3/25/2015 31| @viqui_dill | Saying Thank You. Saying I’m Sorry. | #InterChangeNE #TechComm #STCorg |

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