How technical documentation helps the customer journey

Here is a diagram that shows the different types of User Assistance that can help users as they progress through the customer journey:

how user assistance helps the customer journey

Supporting the user through the customer journey has become more important, partly because the subscription, “try before you buy”, sales model means users can stop being a paying customer at a moment’s notice. Today, all of the information you provide, both pre- and post- sales, needs to provide the same consistent, high quality, experience to the user.

Have we missed anything out? Let us know if you think the image should be changed in any way.


Toni Ressaire

Thanks for sharing this graphic.
This is a conversation I’ve been having with clients for a product launch. We have a similar “funnel”. Because you mention subscription, I assume you are primarily speaking of software or web-based products. One thing I would add is trial/demo, which in your chart I would place under convert. I think that is similar to your Overview videos, but once a potential customer gets their hands dirty in a product, if they like it, that could be a strong contributor to the conversion stage. And once they’ve done a download, it makes it much easier to just purchase a key and plug it in to continue using the product.
What I believe is most relevant about what you’ve shared here is that UA involves many “types” within the company. Developers, writers, marketing, support all need to be working together on UA. Planning down to implementation needs to include all of these functions to really give the customer what they want and need. It’s time we break down these silos.

Ellis Pratt

Hi Toni

Yes, the monthly fee model tends to be used for Software as a Service.
Since we wrote this post, we’ve started to describe it as design-led documentation – something that needs to be part of the initial steps in the product design process.

Toni Ressaire

Aggree completely. Docs need to be part of the product design process. Years ago when I worked for Rosetta Stone, I was embedded in a dev team. But even before dev began, I was involved with the product designer in the early planning stages and conceptualization of the new product. I didn’t realize at the time how progressive this was for the company to bring in content people to the design phase. They recognized us as user experts and wanted to make sure the design was in-line with user needs. I hope this becomes the norm.

Again, thanks for sharing this graphic. I’ve posted a link in the Doc 4.0 Linkedin group.

Alessandro Stazi

Hi Ellis. Your graphic is very interesting. As indicated by Toni, documentation have to be integrated in the development of the product. Agile processes, where applied, are a good example of this paradigma. In your schema, “intelligent content” seems one of the element of the scenario. In my opinion, “intelligent content” is the centre of gravity of all processes and methods for adding value to customer communication, in Industry 4.0 scenario. Another point on the last layer ADVOCATE: the feedbacks collected by the field, by the real users, for correcting errors and improve the quality of previous layers. In this approach, the social networks could be considered an interesting low cost option low for collecting feedback from the users.

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