Content and Customer Experience – Part 1

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Debra Johnson

By: Debra Johnson

Immediate Past President 
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

Manager, Technical Communication 
SunGard Public Sector

If you take a look back… into the past when companies, especially product companies, competed mainly on their features, functionalities, and price.  Compare this to today, where the situation is much different. When you look at most large corporations today, you see that the differences are small.  In a globalized world, many corporations buy companies and add them to their portfolio… resulting in numerous corporations offering many of the same products, with similar features, and most often, a very similar price tag.

Companies are no longer competing on just price and features; they are competing on the “customer experience.”  contentandcustomerexperience2

This customer experience can truly become a differentiating factor.

According to Gartner®, in 2016, more than 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on customer experience.   To that end, more than 50% of budgets that were supposed to go into product improvements are being reshuffled into improved customer experience initiatives.   Add to this… Forrester® Research found 93% of corporate executives give higher priority to customer experience improvements over product enhancements or better training.contentandcustomerexperience1

So, how can we as Technical Communicators help leverage our company’s content assets to improve customer experience?

Traditionally, content and customer experience have generally been viewed as separate things…and because of this “either/or” dichotomy – content in one bucket, customer experience in another — we have been told to focus on one vs. the other.

Our answer in Technical Communication, is to not join this debate (or the battle) at all – we believe this dichotomy between content and customer experience doesn’t really exist!   For us, content and customer experience are and always will be integrated – because in reality, that’s how customers see things.

There are SIX key factors we believe in Technical Communication:

  • Content and user experience are interconnected
  • We should be using content to get closer to Customers
  • We need to strategize and manage content as an asset, just like our “code”
  • Content professionals and user experience professionals are allies – not enemies
  • Content is everything product-related
  • Content is dynamic–-not static

It is our belief that all content-producing areas, such as Marketing, Professional Services, Sales, Support, Proposals Training, blog contributors, etc., should be working together to strategize on how to use the content each other produces to get closer to the customers, to collaborate with each other, and to create a positive experience that will resonate long into the future.

In my Technical Communication group at my company, we are implementing a new philosophy.  We are shifting away from “a world of documents” to “a world of answers.”  This new way of thinking would extend the reach of company content by providing customers with easy, personalized access to the information and answers they need from any device.  We have not done this in the past … but we in TechComm are definitely moving in that direction!

So how do we accomplish this?

Well…we want to help our customers help themselves… 🙂

Stay tuned for Content and Customer Experience – Part 2, where I will talk about how to move from just having productivity value… to having customer value as well…

Source: Private PowerPoint presentation and Blog article sent from Gal Oron, CEO – Zoomin Software, 2016

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