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Is the Importance of Technical Communication Evolving?

20th June 2014 Posted in Blog, Documentation 1 Comment

Image for Technical Writing Impact on Business

This excellent summary article on TC World makes the assertion that:

“Technical communication is moving away from engineering and closer towards marketing and communications.”

The piece cites and summarizes the results of surveys to back up that claim with three overall observations:

  1. Good product information encourages users to recommend a product.
  2. High-quality technical information is a decisive factor in purchasing decisions.
  3. The vast majority or consumers research online before buying.

We don’t think the third item is a surprise to anyone. Researching online in advance of making a purchase is pretty much a given today. But have you given much thought about the extent to which technical communications can influence purchase decisions and grow sales?

Some of the findings include:

  • More respondents (47%) used product information to learn more about a new product before they used it than to troubleshoot a problem (42%).
  • 82% of those surveyed felt that high quality product content was essential to good customer service.
  • 88.7% believed that high quality technical information is important or very important with regard to the purchase decision.
  • 72% responded that high quality product content makes it more likely that they would recommend a product and brand.

Are any of these findings particularly surprising to you? What are your thoughts?

Related topic:
Great Documentation Can Save You Big Bucks When it Comes to Support

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One Comment

  1. By Nicholas Wadeon 7th, February 2018 at 11:06 am

    I beg to suggest that the question is not subtle enough. As a contract Technical Author/Writer, I have found that your (my) jobs tend to be dictated by two factors 1) A project nears completion and somebody has said “oops, where’s the bloody documentation”, and 2) You join a project with a harassed PM who points wildly to gant charts and just wants “something” to fill the pages, dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
    Each time I take one of these contracts my heart sinks, and I basically slink off to a dark corner, pick up my quill and start writing – not a comfortable situation.
    At each interview I pour my heart out that the documentation is just as important as the product and is probably more important to finance than the advertising. A couple of sage heads nodd and I get the job – set timelines based upon the software, output based upon fingers crossed.
    So, after 20 years in the industry, I’m just a little bit fed-up with the whole ball game. You can sit and write the best material and the appreciation is zero. You are generally pointed towards Word and deadlines are ‘assumed’ possible or will somehow magically be made possible. Dare you to analyse the software and then come up with a true time estimate! You’ll be laughed out of the room.
    So when I see surveys like this, I have to take it with a pinch of salt – were all saints till we’re sinners. Ask someone whether high quality information was important and of course, who’s going to say no?
    The fact is, unless the business is a well established goliath, which wants to ensure the ‘polished’ view of themselves, there is very little chance that quality documentation is really an issue.
    Sad….very, very sad.

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