Use a help authoring tool and slash your customer support costs

A happy customer

What are the major product related costs for your business? Everyone knows that creating a new product costs money. There are costs involved in designing, testing, manufacturing the product, and also in getting the product to customers. All of these things need to happen if you are going to create a product which can be sold and produce an income that will allow the business to prosper.

What happens after the product is sold?

It is tempting to think of the sale as the final part of the process, but this is often far from being true. Businesses put a lot of effort into attracting customers and persuading them to buy their products, what is often forgotten is the ongoing cost of supporting customers who have purchased your product but have difficulties using it, or questions about product features.
All successful businesses understand the importance of keeping customers happy. Poor service can quickly turn into unhappy customers, poor reviews, and a loss of future business. The difficulty for many small businesses is that the cost of supporting these customers isn't cheap and as your customer-base grows your support costs often grow with it.

How to control your customer support costs

Taking control of customer support costs is vital if your business is growing. The constant drain of support costs can hold back the business and prevent growth. The key to controlling support costs is to ensure the product manual answers all of the users commonly asked questions. Before writing or updating any help documentation, talk to your support team and identify the most commonly asked questions. It is probable that the majority of your support team’s time is occupied answering the same few questions repeatedly. If these issues are fully addressed in your help documentation then your support team’s workload will be dramatically reduced.

How to write better help documentation

If you are going to write better help documentation that accurately covers all the questions your support team are dealing with then you will need some help to do so. Help documentation can be complex to write, each topic needs to be explained in a way that your end-users can understand, and you need to ensure that nothing important is missed out. The easiest way to write your help manual in a timely manner is to use a help authoring tool. Help authoring software provides many features which help to ensure your new manual will be helpful and accurate.
A topic editor can show you at a glance which topics you have already covered, and makes editing them simple if you need to change anything. The media library lets you easily include any images or video needed to explain product features. Perhaps the biggest advantage of using a help authoring tool comes at the end of the writing process. Help authoring tools allow you to produce your completed help documentation in a wide variety of formats including HTML and PDF saving you the effort of reformatting your manual for each new format. By producing quality help documentation that fully addresses the concerns of your customers your support costs will be reduced and you can redirect your company resources to more profitable activities.