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Old 12-21-2012, 07:37 PM   #64
Hitch
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exaltedwombat View Post

Maybe if you'd written a 2-page one...? :-)
I'll answer/reply to the rest later, but, bottom line? I have not found anything that they'll read. Not one-paragraph explanations, like on our Knowledgebase, nor the same on our FAQ; not the 300-word explanations of how to clean up a Word file; not the video versions.

I got so sick of answering the same questions, over and over, particularly after I'd given them a link to our KB, and said, "please see this article: [link here]," and then getting the SAME QUESTION back in email that I made the Handbook out of the KB and FAQ, added a crapload of pictures, used a reading comprehension calculator to simplify sentences (no, I'm not making that up). I now send it to every potential victim that comes by, along with the links to the KB and the FAQ. When they don't read it, and ask "X," I tell them to see paragraph Y of the Handbook.

What slays me is that 90-95%--maybe more--of the questions we get have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the service that we actually provide. It's questions about publishing, not making the eBooks ("where do I get my ISBN," "what should I set my price at," "how do I upload to Amazon," etc.)

I'll give you an example: we have a production checklist, which is basically just the metadata from the client for embedding. It's a page and a half, a basic table. I've attached a link to a very thorough PBS article on the topic for them to read. Additionally, (because NOBODY reads the MediaShift article), I created two pages of instructions for it. Very simple stuff: "For Description, put your blurb" kind of thing.

I had them on our YSI Dropbox, which identifies every download, and tallies them, so this isn't "guesstimation." Over 68% of the clients never downloaded the INSTRUCTION sheet, and then emailed us to ask what to put in the table cells.

I've tried videos; I've tried Powerpoint shows. I've tried written instructions. I've tried Knowledgebases, FAQ's, the Handbook. I've tried screenshots with text boxes and instructions above. I've just found that at the end of the day, the bottom line is that if it's easier for someone to pick up the phone and ask us a question, or email us and ask us, instead of reading something, or watching something, or Googling something, they will.

THUS, instead of creating 100 different pages of instructions or answers, which already exist in the KB and the FAQ, I put it all in the Handbook, (along with some marketing carrots, like a list of 50 book blogger sites), and send it out. We receive 300+ emails a day; half are production emails going in and out of our PM system, and the other half are author questions. Of those, 10% are new client queries; the rest are questions from existing clients, asking us stuff about publishing. (n.b.: a large number of questions are "issues" created because clients don't have an e-reader, and expect an ebook to work like a print book. Our Handbook has some novice articles about that, as well--resizing text, reflowing, etc.) At some point, you either become rude, because of course, you're not being paid for answering publishing questions, or you create something you can send out instead. I chose the latter. {shrug}. Dealing with publisher clients is one thing; dealing with author clients is a whole different cup of tea. Fortunately, we've added a large number of publisher clients, but we still have a very large author-pub clientele and client base.

Hitch
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