Every documentation team gets stuck in a rut, working heads down, trying to meet deadlines and at the same time produce the best quality content. This workflow doesn’t just apply to groups creating application help, but can relate to marketing writing groups or even your own internal departments creating company-specific documentation.
So what are you missing when your head is down and your nose is to the grindstone? Stop to check with your end consumers that what you are producing is what they are expecting and need. Here at Epicor, we have several different ways to make sure we are soliciting feedback from our consumers.
- Epicor provides an easy means of communication. Within our application help and embedded education courses, we provide a link to send content feedback directly to us (email@example.com). This comes straight to the management team to address, and if valid, to schedule updates. We also have email links on our Epicor extranet, EPICweb. Customers, partners, and employees use this site to contact us regarding not only the documentation available, but also education courses and classes.
- Epicor University booth at annual Insights user conference. This might not pertain to all of you out there, but we always make sure we have a booth at our user conference and spend countless hours chatting with our customers and gathering their suggestions and feedback. We’ve created many lasting relationships during these events.
- Customer lunches during Insights user conference. Months before the conference begins we solicit the Epicor User Group presidents to poll their membership for those who may be interested in a more private atmosphere to discuss our current offerings, discuss strategic initiatives, and again, build relationships. Anytime you can get some one on one time with your consumers – take advantage of it!
- Documentation Feedback Committees. This is something we just started here at Epicor this past year, and it came from an idea offered at one of the customer lunches at Insights. We’ve been meeting for the past five months with members of the Epicor ERP User Group. There are two of us from the Epicor University team that meet with the five members. Each month, we as a committee choose a type of documentation to review. We send a sample out about two weeks before the meeting so the users can have plenty of time to review any unfamiliar content. The meetings are scheduled around the same time of the month for one hour. During the actual meeting, we all join an online conference and review the material, and the Epicor team takes notes on the feedback, answers questions, and provides answers about why the content looks the way it does. This has been an invaluable resource for Epicor ERP, and we are in the process of launching the same program with our Prophet 21 customers.
My message this month is simple -- keep your consumers in sight– find a way to work with them and make it easy for them to help you help them.
Posted by Staci Cummings, Senior Content Manager, Epicor University