Sales. It’s what drives most brands. But sadly, most companies think their job is done as soon as that sale comes through. It means they can move onto the next one. The reality is that for the customer, their journey continues long after they click “Buy Now.” Many of today’s most popular gadgets come with a lot of set-up required, which is often a steep learning curve for many customers.
So how can enterprises make sure that their customers enjoy their experience days, months and even years down the line? By converging web and technical content and making customers continue to feel appreciated after their purchase. The worlds of pre-sales/sales and post-sales are still divergent, but it is possible to make the journey seamless and even enjoyable. It is important to consider that for the consumer, all the benefits of their purchase come post-sale.
A new combi-oven, coffee machine, surround sound music system or set of headphones all come with printed or PDF manuals (or what we define as structured content) and after the initial thumb through many buyers don’t hesitate to throw them away. And once the manual is tossed out or misplaced, how do you figure out how to steam those vegetables after all? In today’s consumer driven world you hope that a quick Google search gives instant results or that the brand has an app to aid their customers in the post-sale combi-oven experience, but most of them don’t.
Some brands are taking the lead on bringing the web and technical content worlds into one while some could highly benefit from improving the flow. As an example, the Dutch company ATAG sells kitchen appliances under several brand names (such as Pelgrim) in the Benelux and exports to some Western European countries. The appliances are delivered with a stock manual in four different languages (Tech Content). Each language consists of about 60 pages because the combi-oven has so many different functions.
Will everyone that purchases this particular Pelgrim brand combi-oven read all 60 of those pages and convert them to memory before trying to cook a pizza? Probably not. But there may come a day when they do want to use that vegetable steaming function, but give up because it’s difficult to find the info they need in that oversized, multi-language user guide. Maybe they’ll attempt to find a quick video tutorial on the company website but the only info offered there is sales driven and there’s no clear link to customer service. Further searching may finally bring up the pelgrimservice.nl website which doesn’t even appear to be related to the company because it is different in format, branding and style. And it’s still nearly impossible to find the right answers.
After this process the customer will most likely wonder if they made a mistake purchasing this brand of combi-oven, feeling disappointed after having spent so much time researching and evaluating all the choices. Does this customer experience mean that the Pelgrim appliance wasn’t a good choice? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean that the company could put more effort into their post-sale customer experience to ensure that the product is used to its full potential.
The Pelgrim website looks modern, the content is marketing and commerce driven so clearly the web content management (WCM) is in good order, but the Technical Content or Structured Content Management (TCM) should be more integrated. Learning how to use products correctly really shouldn’t be a chore to the customer.
One company that is doing a better job bringing their WCM and TCM together in order to facilitate an easier customer experience is iRobot. With the popularity of their vacuuming and mopping robots steadily increasing, they’ve realized the importance of post-sale. The iRobot website has three equally defined headers with Support being one of the components. You can quickly and easily find the model you need, get a PDF version of the manual and access integrated tutorial webpages. The Support page also encourages iRobot owners to make sure they have the Home app by iRobot where they can register and name their model, maintain the device with Robot Care, connect it to Wi-Fi, automatically download software updates to the Robot, and access Customer Support. The post-sale experience of purchasing an iRobot feels much more modern and integrated.
Give customers what they want – continuity
However, they could still be doing even better. Why does the customer still need to download a PDF and then search for an answer within the document? The next step in the convergence of Web and Tech content is to have manuals delivered as an integrated experience within the website. By the customer having registered the product, they would have known which manual to reference. By using natural language search or even conversational interfaces they could easily lead the customer directly to the content from the manual that was applicable. In other words, they could have personalized the delivery of Technical Content.
Technical/structured content can be as exciting as web content and should be just as relevant. After a good experience investing in an iRobot, those buyers are sure to recommend the product to others and likely talk about it on social media. Offering multiple sources of easily accessible information, one of them being a well-developed digital experience platform that comes in several languages, would make the iRobot post-sale experience ideal for today’s gadget buyers.
When WCM and TCM are well integrated, the entire customer journey flows better as a process. It helps to ensure customer loyalty and makes a company more reputable. With new software being dedicated to the management and integration of the Web and Tech Content worlds, branding, voice, and even translations are easier to maintain throughout the entire customer experience. The journey doesn’t end at the Sale for customers and it shouldn’t for the enterprise either.