Imagine being presented with a way to reduce your cost of providing technical support.
Tech support is a necessary expense that when done correctly builds customer loyalty.
One way to reduce your cost of providing support is to ensure that customers first look in their manuals or user guides, before calling for support.
Except nobody wants to look in the manual, whether paper or onscreen. Why not?
Well, manuals are boring, dry, and sometimes written in the second language of the tech writer.
Everybody wants to have fun. For many people, work is not fun. Therefore, if you make your manuals humorous, mildly irreverent, and fun to read, then users will enjoy looking up the solutions to their challenges.
My immediate superior had already okayed the idea, as he saw the time and cost advantages of reducing tech support calls. He even suggested a manual to read that used the idea, which I could swipe ideas from.
Here, paraphrased from memory, is what happened when I showed an example to a tech support manager.
Manager: “No. We’re not doing that. Everybody will think we’re clowns.”
Me: “It will reduce our tech support calls, because customers will want to go to the manuals, just to see what we’ve said about their problem.”
Manager: “I don’t care. We can’t have everybody thinking we’re clowns. This is serious business.”
Me: “Who’s ‘everybody?’”
Manager: “Everybody in this industry.”
Me: Our customers, our competitor’s customers, and competitors?”
Manager: “That’s right. Almost all our competitor’s customers are also our customers, because we make things they need that nobody else can, and some of our competing products work better than our competitors’.”
Me: “What do you think will happen when we reduce our tech support calls by having fun-to-read manuals?
Manager: “We built this company by providing the best customer service. It’s why when we can’t fix it remotely we put people on company planes and send them to our customers.”
Me: “While I thought that was the company president’s way of writing off his flying hobby, I understand why customer service is so important. I understand it’s how we took away such market share from competitors.
“Making our manuals fun is merely another extension of our exceptional customer service. It might help us sell to our non-customers. And be one more way we’re ahead of our stodgy old competition.”
Manager: “They’ll think we’re clowns and won’t take us seriously.”
Me: “Why do you care what our competitors think? Are you afraid our competitors will stop buying our products if they find out our manuals are fun to read?
Manager: “Don’t be a smartass.”
Me: “Why do you care what our competitors think of our manuals?”
Manager: “Because this is serious. It’s how we’ve always done it, and it’s how we’re always going to do it. Manuals aren’t supposed to be fun.”
That manager preferred spending money needlessly, because he was afraid of what his competition might think of him.
Unfortunately, his silly attitude is common, especially among corporate marketers, which is one reason why so much marketing is boringly bad.
Good marketers are always researching. While conducting research a while back I came across a lawyer using video to sell his services.
That this lawyer continues releasing the same kind of humorous videos means his advertising is bringing clients to his law practice, because if his videos didn’t bring him clients he’d change his marketing strategy to one that does.
I’m certain his advertising upsets his competitors, and very likely some of them complained about him to whatever professional body they report to.
If you want a chuckle, look online for “Texas Law Hawk”. He does not care what lawyers competing for his clients think of him and his advertising.
Do you care what your competitors think of you?
Your competitors don’t buy from you. They compete with you for buyers.
You do not have to maintain some imaginary industry standard, because there is no industry standard. It’s imaginary.
Test new marketing. Try new things. Use the marketing that brings you results. Discard what doesn’t.
And do not consider for a nanosecond what your competitors might think of you.
“I don’t worry about the competition. I let the competition worry about me.” – Roger “Chicken” Butcher.
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