While every business has over-arching goals and objectives, procedures provide the daily operational framework to reach them. Procedures are about ensuring consistency for the employee as well as the customer. In essence, these documents say, “This is how our company operates.”
In short, without a complete “set” of consistent documents, your company runs the risk of sending out mixed messages by speaking with many voices – that is, the sales voice, the boardroom voice, the Human Resources voice, the public relations voice, the interdepartmental voice, etc.
A style guide goes farther than simply establishing what grammar and punctuation should be used. It outlines when, for example, to use a company abbreviated name or trademark symbol. Once in place, it allows authors to write in a consistent way, rather than infuse their own style – it sets the tone for authors to follow.
Many companies make the mistake of being too formal – and too company-oriented in their writing – instead of customer or employee-focused. At the same time, you want to create in-house “rules” to follow to ensure there is consistency across how plain language is used in all your documents. you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
What would it mean if you could dramatically reduce support calls and associated costs around using your products or services? You’ve put a lot of time, energy and resources into creating them, so don’t let your user guides prevent your customers from quickly understanding what to do. Look at it this way: your user guides often act as your first line of customer service.
Documentation that’s poorly written and organized doesn’t target the end user’s needs and sets your company up for dissatisfied customers and increased support costs.
Online help allows consumers to find answers to questions about using a company’s product or service without the need to contact a customer call center. If your online help documentation isn’t user-friendly-well written, organized, concise and easy to navigate-it’s actually a waste of time and resources.