Poor Content and #Printing of Product Documentation Is Bad Marketing

Am I the only person who gets frustrated with poorly designed, poorly written and poorly printed product documentation? It never ceases to amaze me how companies can invest so much money into the development and production of their products and then not take one additional small step to ensure that all their marketing is first class.

Here are two examples of many that I have recently uncounted:

I recently bought a high end car. There were four manuals provided. Sitting in my car and attempting to learn all the features and capabilities was daunting. The content and graphics depicting and explaining the car elements were not clear enough. Using my laptop within my car was not a viable alternative. I learned most of what I need through trial and error.

Another example was trying figure how to install our new and expensive infant car seat. The explanations, graphics and printing were extremely poor. They provided a link to a YouTube video and web site which were as bad as the printed documentation. You would think someone in their management ranks would review the documentation and hold someone accountable.

This can’t be good for the companies involved.

Smart companies produce outstanding customer facing collateral pieces. They never miss an opportunity to look good.

Perhaps the explanation is that the offending companies are trying to take cost out of their business.  Or maybe it is a lack of attention to details or simply bad management. In each case mentioned above, the product manufacturers hurt their brand, customer experience and created calls for their call centers. Having customers call “hot line” support immediately after buying a high end product is never a good idea.

I know this is not a new problem.

For years, customers have complained of poor instructions and product documentation on a variety of products ranging from children toys to software to high end luxury items. The acceleration of Internet-based documentation has not made things easier. In fact it may have made the situation worse. The graphics are generally not good. Writers and programmers seem to be more casual than ever with the accuracy and clarity of the content.

Whatever the reasons, I applaud all those providers who produce great documentation and instructions with their products and services. I believe it does make a difference on how customers perceive the quality of brands. This does affect their bottom line.

Joe Rickard

Tuxedo Park, NY