Technical writers can and should collaborate with trainers to offer customers a unified and cost-effective learning experience. Here are eight specific reasons why they should collaborate – and two why they cannot afford not to do it:
- Same goal: Ensure that customers can set up and operate the product efficiently, effectively and confidently.
- Same audience: Customers, more specifically users of the product (who, in a corporate setting, may have made the decision to use it or not).
- Same demands by that audience: Fill a knowledge gap, whether it’s large or small, conceptual or practical.
- Similar deliverables: Conceptual and instructional/procedural information, possibly in different formats, such as training slides or handouts, user manuals or online help.
- Cost-effective deliverables: Share text and images, use cases and examples.
- Better coverage: Writers and trainers see the product and its users from different angle and can help avoid professional myopia.
- Beneficial reviews: Writers and trainers who review each others work also learn about their own deliverables.
- Satisfied customers: A unified learning experience increases user confidence, satisfaction with and trust in the product.
Companies where writers do not collaborate with trainers run a considerable risk:
- Confused customers: Incoherent or even contradicting messages in documentation and training materials confuse and alienate users.
- Lost business, potentially in three ways:
- Bad reputation and bad impressions keep prospects from buying.
- Bad learning experience keeps customers from continuing or returning to the product.
- If you’re really big, external companies can take a bite out of your training or manual business. This is harder to replicate and hence less likely if you offer one seamless learning experience.
Have you considered or tried to collaborate with training? Has it been worthwhile? Can this be a first practical step towards content strategy? Please leave a comment.