I was fixing my dishwasher this morning. Well, looking at it intently with the vain hope of fixing it at the back of my mind, and knowing that fixing it was highly unlikely at the front of my mind.

I Googled what I was looking for. (Do we ‘search the internet’ any more?). Found various forums with the same questions I was asking, and a variety of answers that spanned the whole gamut from simple and unhelpful through to too complicated and undecipherable. Finally I resorted to trying to find the manual that came with the dishwasher.

 

In the manual I found a section called ‘Fault finding’ and there was a section with the problem I was having, but none of the answers helped. So I am stuck with a dishwasher with a problem that is more of an annoyance than a problem. But this got me thinking about instruction manuals and what an instruction manual might look like in a social media world?

I am not discounting the need for an instruction manual, just wondering how else a company might present the information.

  • One idea is to use QR codes. The beauty about QR codes is that you can embed the information about a product into the machine itself. So imagine putting QR codes at the specific points on the machine where issues might occur. The resolution of the issue becomes part of the machine itself. There’s no reason you couldn’t extend this to being able to order the replacement then and there, speaking to an agent about the issue, perhaps even offering live chat or a link through to a community, self-help videos published to YouTube.
  • Another is to create instruction manuals for viewing on mobile phones that provide relevant links and YouTube videos.
  • Enabling someone to ring a number which converts the voice message into an email which is posted into a community.
  • Or simply offering Twitter, YouTube or Google as part of your customer service proposition, in addition to your FAQ page.

Companies have a vast array of options at their disposal now to create instruction manuals, not only those they create themselves, but also those that allow them to leverage videos or content created by others. Add an element of game mechanics in to the mix where appropriate, and the whole experience potentially becomes more engaging.

How could you create a more engaging instruction manual that brings together the elements of discovery, intuition, functionality and design? Notwithstanding, that I’m only ever likely to read it or need it when I need it.

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