How Poor Customer Technical Communication Hurts Business

How Poor Technical Communication Hurts Business reveals that firms regularly increase their customer service and marketing costs by sending inept letters, emails, technical instructions, and other communications to their customers and employees. It shows how they can increase profit by making these communications more user-centric.

Poor Technical Communication Hurts BusinessBanks, physicians, retailers, and many others routinely send poor instructional technical communications to their customers, resulting in high customer service costs, high return costs, high customer churn, and many related costs. These letters, emails, web pages, and other communications are produced by writers who show little insight into customers’ journeys that include the product or service.

The same problem occurs when firms communicate to their employees, and this results in employees’ anxiety and lost productivity (think about choosing your “benefits”) as well as HR staff time, IT staff time, management time, and employee dissatisfaction. It hurts the relationship that most employers try to develop with their employees.

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Why Design Will Eat User Documentation

Design Will Eat User Documentation and technical writingAs Marc Andreessen once quipped, software is “eating the world,” embedding itself in all material and digital products. The basis of his remark was that digital interaction was an order of magnitude faster and more efficient than analog.

Design will eat user documentation explains that now a much more profound change is afoot because design is permeating everything that humans make. People are more likely to use things that have been explicitly designed for them because products’ ease of use and relevance are greater.

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Improving the Business Impact of Technical Writing and UX Writing

Improving Business Impact Technical WritingImproving business impact of technical writing and UX writing outlines how to increase the business value of two writing disciplines that directly affect customer experience.

Before diving into that, the backstory shares how I developed an unusual point of view while practicing service design and experiential social media—and how this led me to technical writing and UX writing.

Then the main event: I offer five ways organizations can substantially improve the business impact of technical writing and UX writing.

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Ethnographic Research for Design

Ethnographic Research for Design: IxD Service Design UX Strategy Interaction Customer ExperienceEthnographic research for design explains how to use advances in ethnographic research of social media to design products, services, experiences… anything—while getting better results at lower risk. Ethnographic research of social media is breakthrough for designers in the “design stack” in which I’ve includedArchitecture/Interior Design, Product Design, User Experience Design/Interaction Design, UX Strategy, Service Design and Customer Experience Design.

Designers in all fields lament clients’ resistance to funding robust research. Traditional design research methods are often grounded in asking proposed users explicit questions, and self-reported responses vary significantly from actual behavior despite respondents’ best intentions. Similarly, shadowing, service safaris, “a day in the life,” and other analog research methods are costly and slow. Sample sizes are necessarily small because scaling analog methods greatly multiplies the budget and length of the research phase. Ethnographic research of social media changes the game because it studies proposed users’ actual behavior in digital public when they’re having heated discussions about the outcomes they want when the proposed product, service, or process is useful to them. It enables […]

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media: de-risk innovationEthnographic research for business innovation shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing controlled disruption within organizations. Ethnographic research of social media can transform the entire innovation process because it’s a very efficient way to study the behavior and motivations of the people that the innovation proposes to serve. Unlike traditional innovation and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

Ethnographic research for business innovation can dramatically improve the depth and breadth of business and corporate strategy, business design and service design research since it allows teams to consider more users and to assess their behavior and motivations, which can improve the value of more costly research.

This post outlines the business innovation use case of ethnographic research of social media, and it includes examples in banking, professional services, consumer products, and B2B marketing. For more on ethnographic research, see More Resources below.

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