Support call percentage as a function of help

Subject: Support call percentage as a function of help
From: DAnderson -at- Collegeboard -dot- org
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2004 10:31:30 -0700

Good afternoon folks;

I am trying to prepare a cost/benefit analysis on implementation of online
help for a software product. I am hoping the list can provide some advice
as I have not been able to locate the data I need.

At present we do not offer online help. The current documentation set for
this product is developed for print and delivered via PDF with a hard copy
option. PDF is a compromise solution that has worked well for us. We can
provide information that is easily accessible online, and still allow the
user to print out a chunk of information that has page numbers and other
paper-based user affordances. However, its access and search methods are
limited, and it does not provide immediate access to task-based
assistance. In an effort to determine the impact that this has, I
conducted an informal survey of our functional technical support staff.
They estimated that anywhere from 20 to 33% of calls are questions that
are already answered in the user guide. The question my management will
ask, and that I'd like to have an answer for, is whether there is any
research to support that this number is inordinately high, and if so, what
the numbers could be expected to look like if we implemented help.

Thanks for any words of wisdom!

Darrill Anderson
Senior Project Leader
The College Board

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