Vivienne Begg - Structured Writing Product Manager
Documentation is not a sexy word. And words like policies and procedures quite possibly make your eyes glaze over.
Even though you may be aware that your documentation is incomplete, out of date, inaccurate, inaccessible or inconsistent – or all of the above – you may not prioritise spending time and effort improving it. There are lots of other things to focus on and the business seems to be managing ok without doing anything about it.
Or is it?
Poor documentation may be having more of an impact than you realise.
The symptoms may take different forms, with the following being key warning signs.
Overloaded support centres
If customers or staff are unable to find the information they need – or are unable to understand it if they do find it – they will turn to call centres or help desks with their questions.
So if your call centre or help desks are overloaded, it’s quite possibly as a result of poor documentation. This is a highly inefficient way of providing information, and it’s one of the first things TP3 investigates when we’re trying to identify problem areas in clients’ documentation.
Reduced employee productivity
Are your supervisors spending large amounts of time answering employees’ questions, fixing up problems, or dealing with rework? Is it taking new staff excessively long to become skilled up in their roles? Or maybe you’re relying on long serving staff who have knowledge in their heads – and could be about to retire, taking all that knowledge with them.
If any of these situations sound familiar, it could be because your employees have difficulty finding the information they need just to do their jobs.
The ROI of better documentation
Effective documentation has many benefits, most of which are not immediately obvious.
A major plus is the reduction of costs it brings, by increasing the efficiency of staff and supervisors, and reducing support calls. Research has shown that supervisor questions can reduce by up to 90%, and error rates up to 54% with the use of a structured writing approach. Time and effort spent in writing effective documentation is repaid many times over.
And if compliance is central to your organisation, having structured documentation in place can help reduce risk.
Could your documentation do with an overhaul?
TP3 has over 25 years’ of experience in helping organisations develop effective documentation. Our structured writing approach provides a research based method for writing effective documentation that’s easy for readers to find, understand and act on.
We can train your staff to do the writing, or we can provide structured writing consulting services and write the documentation for you. If you’d like to see what we can do for your business, contact us on 1300 658 388.