Teach your Users to Read the Manual

RTFMNobody RTFM, amirite??

When someone fails to read a manual/knowledge base, the reaction from support agents usually goes one of two ways: exhausted resignation, or grumpy outbursts. But saying “if you had read the manual you would know the answer to this, jerkface” isn’t particularly effective. What’s a support agent to do, aside from crack open a beer?

One great suggestion from our Customer Service Breakfast group goes as follows: “teach” people about your knowledge base by including links to it while still providing answers.

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This might look like this:

“Why yes, Clark, our fabric is rated for temperatures above 300 degrees. In fact, our fabric can withstand temperatures from -100 to 500. You can find that info here: http://superherofabrics.com/knowledgebase/temperature-ratings”

You’re not forcing Clark to go look for it himself. That wouldn’t be very good service, and you’d risk losing him as a customer. But you’re also subtly teaching him that you do have a knowledge base and that some of the info he needs may be there.

It might take a couple of instances, but eventually your customer will realize that they might be able to get their answers faster by scoping out your knowledge base first. Plus, they’ll feel like it’s their idea rather than you berating them. Double-win!

User manual photo courtesy of Peter Merholz


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