Re: Podcasts for Customer Support

Subject: Re: Podcasts for Customer Support
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 18:17:46 -0400

I don't see manuals being completely replaced any time soon -- people like their security blanket user guides -- but podcasts (strictly speaking a video broadcast is also a podcast) should be at least considered as part of any future documentation project. They have multiple uses, including marketing, customer support, sales, training, and documentation.

Rather than writing stilted scripts, I recommend storyboarding or point form outlines that an articulate narrator will then turn into decent instruction. You get the step by step as well as accurate visuals. Planning has to be as comprehensive as for a manual, but production costs have now fallen so that audio and video are achievable on a budget.

Thinking about the audience, the rising generations are more accustomed to getting information in audio and video form than ever before. Reality TV is making us accustomed to seeing guerrilla-style video rather than studio production style, so our expectations are different. You can achieve great rapport with the audience in a podcast -- as companies are realizing. Instead of a formal audio walking some unknown user through a sequence of steps, you can create a two-way conversation with a real user as you literally help them "online" perform a task. They ask questions, you answer them, and it's all recorded as you go. Makes for a very rich user experience.

There's plenty of potential in this area that we have not even begun to implement. One good thing is that you could probably get some of marketing's budget if you wanted to give it a go.

Beth Agnew
STC Presentation Podcasting & Vidcasting, the Future of TechComm archived at:

Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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Re: Podcasts for Customer Support: From: Marc Bryant

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