6 Steps to Avoiding Customer Service Nightmares

torches pitchforks_100Over the past year I have had run-ins with customer service at various companies. I have experienced both the positive and the negative. In dealing with an insurance company after a tree fell on my home I endured the nightmare that happens when a company doesn’t have a decent process in place. On the other hand, I work daily with a SaaS based software company that has a five-star customer support process. The differences between the two are like night and day. They quickly illustrate an issue we help solve here at Information Mapping: developing efficient, effective customer service policies, procedures and processes.

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5 things to do before moving to the cloud

5cloudOver the last six months we here at Information Mapping have been in the process of moving all our information to the cloud. While the decision to move to the cloud was an easy one for us, the move itself hasn’t been as simple. Knowledge Management is our business. And yet, like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes, we had a lot of work to do to organize our information before moving to the cloud.

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Writing Web Content: Garbage in, Garbage out

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Writing for the web today can sometimes feel like you’re trying to put a puzzle together with a blindfold on. It’s difficult to imagine how the final page is going to look and feel because all the content you are writing is input into small silos in a Content Management System.

I first ran into this experience a few years ago as I worked on the development of a website in Joomla. The experience really became very frustrating without a method for organizing the content and understanding all the different ways and places the information might be used.

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Streamlining Democracy: Mapping solutions for government policies and procedures

voting

As we celebrate President’s Day in the US this week I cannot help but think about how lucky we are to have the right to vote for our President here in the US. It is a right that many envy, worldwide. Every US President we have elected has been chosen by the people. People who come out, stand in line, and cast their vote.

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Summary of written findings and observations including advisory commentary applicable to similarly purposed private sector initiatives, based upon investigation of the implementation of Public Law 111-274, enacted by the United States Congress on October 13, 2010 (Plain Writing Act of 2010)

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*or, without the gobbledygook: Plain Language lessons from our government

In our last entry, we noted that although the U.S. Government’s Plain Writing Act of 2010 has been in effect for over a year and a half, there hasn’t been much improvement in the way the feds communicate with the public. This time, we look at some of the reasons why the Act hasn’t helped cure the government’s addiction to gobbledygook. Understanding what’s wrong with their approach to the problem can help you avoid repeating the feds’ mistakes when you implement your organization’s plain language initiative.
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Writing in Plain Language: Are we winning the war on gobbledygook?

frustration

Many Americans, puzzled and frustrated by incomprehensible communications from their government, suspect that the feds invented gobbledygook—and they’re right. The word “gobbledygook” was first used in the 1930’s by Maury Maverick, a two-term congressman. He coined the term to describe the confusing bureaucratic language he heard in the House of Representatives, which reminded him of the gobbling of wild turkeys back home in Texas.

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6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Create reusable information

Step 6: Create reusable information

recycle-content

If you visit the Information Mapping offices, in our hallways you’ll see several big blue bins. They’re usually full of paper that’s waiting to be picked up for recycling. You probably have similar bins in your offices, since nowadays most organizations are doing their best to be good corporate citizens. Many of us recycle glass, plastic and metal at home, as well. Recycling these materials represents cost-effective and efficient use of resources.

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6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Guide Users

Step 5: Guiding your users to the information they need

white-water-rafting

Have you ever gone on a white-water rafting trip? If you like outdoor adventure, it’s a great experience. The river is wild and beautiful, the rapids are thrilling, and paddling is excellent exercise. You can enjoy it all without ever wondering about where you’re going or which route will get you there. You don’t need to think about that because your raft is steered by a guide, an expert whose job is to make sure you enjoy the trip and reach your destination safely.

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6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Take the User's Perspective

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Step 3: Organize Information from the user’s perspective

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for two people to look at the same situation, and yet see things very differently? Of course, if you’re married you know exactly what we’re talking about. If you’re unattached, all you need to do is turn on the news—this is a presidential election year, and the candidates’ differences of perspective are feature stories every day.

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6 Steps to Better Compliance Documentation: Categorizing Information

muppet-chef

Imagine for a moment that you’re a chef, and your specialty is preparing dishes without knowing which ingredients you’re using. How many customers do you think will patronize your restaurant? How long will it be until you’re offered your own cooking show on television?

Step 2: Categorize information by type and purpose

Would you enjoy being served a meal that was prepared by a chef who had no idea which ingredients he was using? None for me, thanks—it would probably upset my stomach. Of course, if you’re a writer who creates a document without understanding the different types of information you’re working with, you’re putting your readers into much the same situation. Except that instead of indigestion, the result will probably be non-compliance.

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