Content creators come in all shapes and sizes, and from all sides of an organisation, but do these differences affect the user experience? Before we talk to our customers, should we talk to each other?
Any given organisation has many different voices addressing customers at any one time. With a well-managed content plan, all of these voices sound more or less the same, but the majority of organisations don’t have a content strategy which applies across the board.
How do we avoid these voices clashing so the user experience doesn’t suffer?
Good user experience should be at the core of any organisation’s plan for a number of different reasons, including:
- Increased peer-to-peer recommendations.
- Increased customer retention.
- Improved overall brand quality.
Additionally, customers are usually willing to pay more for a good customer experience, regardless of the product.
For SaaS companies in particular, this customer experience is largely dependent on the content produced by the organisation.
Content comes from multiple different sources in an organisation:
- Marketing departments design shiny brochures for potential customers.
- Techcomms produces technical documentation for existing or future customers.
- Support writes reassuring emails to stressed-out current customers.
When producing content in these different departments, without any collaboration or review, organisations can end up with different silos of content: that is, content which comes from the same brand, but is wildly different in tone, style and purpose.
The problem for users
When the customer has to listen to so many different voices saying so many different things, the only result can be frustration with the brand.
When Marketing insists that the product is easy to install, but the installation guide is an impenetrable 100-page tome, or when the user guide encourages readers to call Support on a line which isn’t answered, your customers can end up thinking that your organisation doesn’t really know what it’s doing.
Working together on content
The simple solution to all of this is communication.
Encouraging departments to liaise, share information and curate content collaboratively means that expertise and style are common across the organisation.
Each content-producing department has insight to offer:
- Marketing departments can bring crucial details of user personas.
- Techcomms work with Engineering to find essential product information.
- Support can share the real-world problems that end-users have had.
Practically, this means empowering a head of content who can review and sign off all external communications, or putting together a documentation team consisting of one member of each department. The team collects potential content centrally, collaborates on how to improve and align this content, and then takes actionable decisions back to their respective departments.
Technical documentation, by definition, forms a bridge between engineers and customers, and increasingly Technical Communicators are working with Marketing and Support departments to bring in these perspectives of the user experience.
At 3di Information Solutions, we work with Marketing, Engineering and Support departments to ensure that all content produced is aligned before being released into the wild.
Today, information can and should be produced in multiple different outputs, whether that’s as a PDF, video, or embedded help. For the sake of the user, however, each of these outputs must be speaking with a single unified, knowledgeable voice.
Collaborative content production allows expertise from all departments which produce content to come together to create this unified voice, and make a more valuable product in the process.