TechComm prep school: six takeaways from customer support

If you merely scratch the surface, it might seem that the only similarity between a technical writer and a customer support agent is the broad goal of serving the needs of the target audience. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that these jobs are not only connected but also have a lot in common. Following my own experience in customer support, I will share a couple of observations and show that customer support might even turn out to be a sort of TechComm prep school.

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The power of deep interviews

Earlier this summer, I had a chance to attend a lecture called “The power of deep interviews” by Maryna Ptashnyk of Bambuk Design Studio. Targeted at designers doing field interviews with customers, it provided several tips & tricks that made me rethink how I myself as an Information Developer prepare and ask questions during the interviews.

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Target audience: Millennials

When writing documentation, target audience is one of the first things on mind of an information developer. Audience determines what deliverable to choose, as well as what style and tone to apply to it. Wrong idea of the target audience’s needs may result in total failure of documentation. Therefore, a good information developer should be aware of every possible target user. Having deep knowledge of the product, understanding the aim of the documentation and the audience – their needs, possibilities, desires, and preferences, results in a masterpiece documentation.
So, how do we know what our target user wants? The answer is research! And I did a little research of my own on one of the most fast-growing generations in history. Millennials. So, let’s have a closer look at them and try to do our best to meet their expectations.

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What if? Localizing a help system: coping tactics

What if a Technical Communicator without localization experience was commissioned a localization task? What if they accepted without being familiar with the localization guidelines? What if they failed? There are no definite answers to these questions, but the one, which is for sure certain, is that certain guidelines are to be followed. So, let’s take a look at what major problems and potential pitfalls may come up on the way of a Technical Communicator challenged to complete a task in which they haven’t gained enough experience yet.

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