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How To Write Better Technical Documents That Improve Business Results

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We’ve written about how the quality of written documents produced by professional organizations can affect relationships with customers or clients. In short, they enhance customer understanding, boost trust and credibility, and lead to happier customers overall. But better customer relationships are themselves, ultimately, only a means to an end: building a stronger organization and generating desired business results.

But how can you use technical documents to do that? Don’t underestimate the power of the content your organization produces to have a direct impact on both customers and business outcomes. Per advisory firm Gartner, three-quarters (74%) of customer experience experts say that improving content and knowledge delivery is key to customer satisfaction and, by extension, growing business.

In fact, one study found that organizations can use their written content to directly influence customer sentiment for the better: “Results indicate that … content can enhance customer sentiment. This study also highlights sentiment’s role as a leading indicator for customer lifetime value.”

So, how can you improve your writing quality?

To start: you must know how to write effectively. The quality of writing significantly affects how information is received and acted upon, and this is doubly true when dealing with technical or complex subject matter that may need to be accessible and understandable by a variety of readers.

Businesses looking to enhance the quality of their written output should start by investing in comprehensive training for their teams, including workshops on technical writing, along with regular feedback sessions to refine skills. Studies of successful writing programs reveal that they all have teachers who “committed a considerable amount of time to teaching writing.”

In other words, you can’t take shortcuts here: improving writing means learning writing, and that means devoting time to the task.

What are other tactics to improve client-facing technical documents?

Skills development in writing is only the start. Other best practices for improving client-facing documents include:

  • Engaging your readers: Understand the client’s technical literacy and use it to tailor the document’s complexity. This ensures that the document meets the user’s needs without either oversimplifying or overcomplicating the information. Before beginning to write the document, engage in audience analysis.
  • Incorporating visual aids: Incorporate diagrams, flowcharts, and images to complement the text and aid in quicker comprehension of complex concepts. However, note that the visual dimensions of written documents go beyond images and charts; make all documents, no matter how technical, as visually appealing and readable as possible.
  • Promoting consistency and standardization: Use a consistent format and terminology throughout the document. This reduces the learning curve for clients and standardizes the communication across different products or services. Additionally, standardizing organizational writing processes ensure reliability and repeatability in producing quality output.
  • Using helpful writing tools. Using technology platforms or AI for to check for grammar and style consistency can further help standardize and polish communications. That said, avoid losing the human touch altogether. “Even though we use AI, a human effort is still required to make the rocket fly,” Kate Bradley Chernis, CEO of marketing firm Lately.ai, told HubSpot. “Everyone just wants to push a button and walk away, which is just plain lazy. And AI doesn’t work like that. The hard way is the way.”

What kinds of outcomes can you expect by improving these client-facing technical docs?

Technical documents aren’t typically oriented around sales or marketing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want them to achieve specific outcomes. An operating manual should help clients successfully troubleshoot or solve problems, for example. Ultimately, better written materials are clearer, more accessible, and more persuasive – and thus produce better outcomes.

  • Fewer questions, better product utilization: Clear and comprehensive documentation can reveal additional features or uses of a product that clients might not explore without guidance. In turn, they won’t need to pester the organization with as many questions. GE, after rewriting its own software manuals, reduced customer inquiries so much they estimate they now save $375,000 per business customer.
  • Cost savings: A study in The Technical Communication Journal shows that clear and concise documentation can significantly reduce production and support costs. One company saved $19,000 just by simplifying a user manual.
  • Reputation and credibility: Documents that are well-written and informative can enhance a company’s reputation for quality and reliability. Consider: if you present a paper at an engineering conference, but it’s a confusing and muddled mess, it will fail to show off your expertise.
  • Research and citations: According to one study, well-written articles receive more citations than others, suggesting that quality writing in technical documents can lead to wider recognition and credibility in professional communities.

In the end, investing in high-quality technical documents doesn’t just strengthen customer relations, it serves a strategic purpose in achieving organizational objectives and business growth.

For more insight into the question of whether a professional writing course could help your team improve its technical writing output, contact Hurley Write for a consultation to assess, diagnose, and strengthen your team’s writing situation.

How To Write Better Technical Documents That Improve Business Results

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Prefer to chat? Call us at 877-249-7483
 

(172 Reviews)