Be successful at providing support to your users without even solving their issue

Active listening

When facing with end-users issues, some cases do not really require bringing a ‘technical’ or even a functional solution. Indeed, the key is often to let users talking and expressing their concern. Actually, they need to be listened by someone they consider as “expert”, and they need to be listened carefully.

The simple fact to describe their trouble actually solves a large part of the situation; sometimes it even solves at 100%. Because when users talk about trouble they are facing, they realize:

  • either they realize they know the solution, but they have requested for support too quickly. Typically, emergency obscures clear mind.
  • either they did not diagnose correctly the problem. Their explanations are a little bit confusing, so they rephrase, they ask (to themselves) new questions. Usually, this sudden brainstorming ends up with new insights that bring them the solution.

Providing support is as acting as a coach, it means having the attitude that helps users getting a solution on their own.

In a short, “active listening” is the key: listening carefullyasking relevant questions at the right moment will conduct users to solve an issue by themselves.

Credits: thanks to Rachel Jones for the infographic.

Collaborative solutions: How to perform major changes and provide efficient communication to users

Collaborative solutions

More and more professionals use collaborative digital solutions to perform their daily work: intranet, wikis, blogs, shared documents, internal social media.

A high number of ‘active’ users (readers and contributors) combined with an important volume of data require reliable, maintainable and scalable system. When it comes to upgrade it with major changes, how to keep providing a satisfying User Experience to all end-users?

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How to write documentation that matters for your audience

Target your audience

man stay focused

Image source:
http://blog.invoiceberry.com/2012/07/how-to-stay-focused/

1) Write short, very short content

Even the shortest as possible, provided that it still delivers exact information. Indeed, users browse documentation when they look for solution or help. So, they are in a hurry to find it, and conversely they do not have time for reading, especially not for fun.

2) Provide screenshots, infographics, diagrams

or even mockups. There are plenty of studies showing that images retain attention and are far better memorized than plain text.

3) Make all its content searchable and provide a searchbar

Users barely read chapters or sections titles, but they first want to search for specific terms. So, make their search more convenient with a search function flexible and powerful enough to work with a large kind of queries.

4) Get some statistics

about which are the most read topics (of your documentation). Then, highlight them with a direct link on the homepage or other means of featuring. Users will thank you to make them earning time.

5) Invite users to send you feedback, question or comment

This is the most important, and you can do it by this simple way: on all pages, display a one-click button (or image, or link) that opens a form, where users enter address email and feedback. Only these two fields, this is quick and easy.