First, I want to say how honored I am to serve as the new President of the STC Philly chapter. This is an exciting time to be a technical communicator, as many of us are gaining access to innovative new tools to educate our audiences, and gaining new responsibilities as well.
Over the next few months, we want you to share your views, accomplishments, and ideas on the tools and processes you’re using to generate exceptional online help, user documentation, customer experiences, and more.
We want the STC-PMC website to become a forum for all of these accomplishments and growth areas that we’re experiencing. Please share a fun photo of you and we’ll post that with your story! Send your story to email@example.com
So let me start with my story. I had been an STC member for many years, but when my career shifted to content marketing in 2008, I shifted away from STC. When I returned to technical writing in 2017, I gained a new appreciation for measuring content – and how to convey technical knowledge with a customer relationship mindset. For the past five years, STC has been my “go-to” association for building a successful online help platform.
So now I want to give back to STC. For starters, I have seen how technical communicators are branching out into UX writing, training content, marketing education content, and much more.
Customer Experience – a Hot Topic!
Consider the July/August 2022 issue of Harvard Business Review. The cover article was “Identifying Unmet Needs in a Digital Age.” The article’s core premise is that companies should seek to ways to identify their customers’ unmet needs. One approach, the author states, is to gain insight into unconventional users of products, and expand the audience view and study many types of user needs. This helps product development and marketing teams connect better with customer needs, which leads to new products, customer programs, services – and even new ways to promote current offerings.
What I find fascinating is that technical writers hold the power to gather – and analyze – this type of customer data. For example, when I was creating marketing content, I leaned on our technical writer for insights into user software feature preferences. This led to “product differential” messaging related to features and enhancements. As technical communicators, we have the distinct advantage of being the bridge that spans marketing, product development, and customer service.
Analyze the Usage Data!
By capturing user behavior data, search queries, and help center article preferences, we can optimize our content for different audience types – and help others shape the customer experience:
– Encourage users to self-educate, putting less stress on the customer service team;
– Target users with new “microcontent” that answers a specific question that’s been posed frequently;
– Foster deeper relationships with customers so they can explore other products and services easily, and even become advocates.
We need to remind our senior leadership executives that this “customer experience” data helps build deeper, more meaningful relationships. So please share your story with us – you can send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it to the STC-PMC site.
Let us know what we can do to help you grow as a technical communicator!