Technical Communication, previously known merely as “technical writing”, is a broad, comprehensive profession that builds bridges between companies and their customers. The Society for Technical Communication, the professional organization for technical communicators, notes that practitioners operate
“across all user abilities and media so that both businesses and customers benefit from safe, appropriate, and effective use of products, information, and services. Technical communication is an essential part of every organization’s competitive strategy.
Technical communicators research and create information about technical processes or products directed to a targeted audience through various forms of media.
For example, STC members communicate about technical or specialized topics, such as computer applications, medical procedures, or environmental regulations. They communicate by using technology, such as Web pages, help files, or social media sites. And they provide instructions for products and services.”
With an end user focus, the technical communicator creates documentation and product support materials that help the customer use and enjoy the product or service they have purchased. Beyond that, technical communicators are (or should be) heavily involved in the product development life cycle, and they carry out their own project management activities to get the job done.
Technical communicators interface with every department within a company. Therefore, they are often one of the few people to see the entire operation and understand both the big picture and the detail level of operations. With a firm grounding in knowledge management, technical communicators facilitate all forms of communication within a company.
In practical terms, technical communicators can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty for any company. While many of their activities are transparent to the customer, and often to management as well, they are crucial for a company’s success.
During the product development process, technical communicators inevitably conduct user testing of the product, something that is often forgotten or certainly not given sufficient emphasis in many high tech companies. Since they document products and processes, technical communicators develop fine-grained knowledge of a company’s products and services, making them more informed than customer support personnel. Their intimate knowledge of how the product or service is meant to serve the customer gives them an understanding of the end user that is superior to Marketing’s. Knowing how the product or service meets the needs of the customer makes them aware of its selling points far better than any Sales rep.
Technical communicators are professional problem solvers. Their efforts can improve products and processes to increase sales, increase customer satisfaction, improve customer retention, and improve the image of the company. All of those activities drop directly to the bottom line.
If your company needs improvement in any area relating to your customers, you should hire a technical communicator without delay.
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