Documentation yields cost savings

In most companies, documentation is simply a cost center.  But did you know that documentation can save you money?

It’s a common misconception that documentation is at best a necessary evil—something that facilitates processes that would already happen.  But documentation is more than just a catalyst; it can fundamentally change the way work is done, bringing improvements that cut costs.

The question is, how to cut inefficiencies?  In many cases—particularly those involving human interaction (which is expensive) good documentation can help reduce if not cut out these costly inefficiencies and weaknesses.

Our favorite example of documentation actually saving the company money at Shoap comes from a major wireless provider.  Each time a customer called the help desk, the call cost the company about $15.  Multiply this by thousands of calls and you can appreciate the scale.  The solution?  Put support documentation on the company’s website so subscribers can find answers to their questions.  The result: reduced support costs.

There are indirect savings of good documentation, too, namely increased customer satisfaction.  As we all know, customer satisfaction yields better sales.  Consider how easy it is to express satisfaction—or a lack thereof—to friends and, more importantly, to the world via the internet.  How much money could you make or lose from a favorable or unfavorable customer review because the user guide was incomplete, inadequate or, worse, non existent?

Internal documentation can have great bottom-line results, too.  One recent Shoap client had to spend days tracking down system bugs because there was literally no documentation for each variation of the messages received from their clients.  This was inefficient and, more importantly, expensive because the developers had to spend their valuable time reading through code to find where the problem arose.  With the proper documentation, the client was able to reduce the debugging process from days to hours.

For a majority of our clients, we find that documentation facilitates communication and reduces cost and overhead—between cell phone users and the help desk, between customers and developers at companies via user guides, and among employees.  Why? Because documentation disseminates information in a cost effective way.  It cuts down on expensive human interaction and promotes users’ finding their own answers.  When information is better and more broadly communicated, business runs more efficiently.

Where in the communication process is your company bleeding money?  Contact Shoap to see how we can help your bottom line.

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