Establishing metrics in areas where we want to cut costs or build sales gives us measurable goals to judge the success of technical communications.
To establish product support metrics, we can work with the product support team to identify customer complaints and common problems. For each complaint or problem, we can quantify the number of support calls per week and amount of time per call. After developing a help system, user guide, software wizard, or whatever else users need, we can check whether product support receives fewer complaints and support calls and whether the amount of time per call has gone down.
To establish sales metrics, we can work with the sales department to identify problems during the sales process. Are prospects reluctant to make purchases unless they talk at length with product developers? If so, we can quantify the time. A white paper or multimedia presentation may replace the developer's role in the process. After we develop a technical communication to solve a problem, we can check whether the metrics show improvement.
If we don't have metrics that show the magnitude of problems in product support, sales, and other areas, we may focus on cutting technical communication costs rather than solving problems. Cutting those costs is self-defeating if costs increase in other areas.
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