The fiscal year is coming to an end, it is budget setting time again, and you are being asked to justify the expense of developing content. Proving to upper management the investment they are making in documentation is money well spent, is a problem faced by many Technical Communication Managers every year. One idea that might help you communicate the value your team adds is measuring the return on investment for user assistance content over the product lifecycle.
Here are three value propositions we can use to help measure the benefits of delivering user assistance:
- Increasing Sales: How much does content contribute toward increasing product adoption? How many product sales and new customers can be attributed to content?
- Increasing Customer Satisfaction: How much it contributes to customer satisfaction. How many customers would purchase the product again or recommend it to a friend because the documentation made it easy to install, deploy, migrate, and operate?
- Reducing Costs: How much it contributes to reducing support and development costs. How many support calls can be avoided because customers can solve their own issues using product documentation?
And here are some of the roles different types of content play at different points along the product lifecycle:
Pre-Sale: Evaluation content delivered before the product ships designed to describe the product to potential customers. Examples include:
- Marketing Content
- Reviewers Guides
Post-Sale: How-To to content delivered with the product designed to explain how to use the product. Examples include:
- Product Help
- Deployment Guides
- Operation Guides
Sustained Engineering: Support content available over the life of the products use designed to tell people how to maintain their product. Examples include:
- Trouble Shooters
Finally, here’s a chart that puts it all together. It displays the value propositions across the product lifecycle. It contains questions you can ask yourself that apply the metrics we defined above to different types of documentation and the roles they play at different points in the product lifecycle: