- support engineers are at the ones who interact with customers and who help fix customer problems,
- support engineers know the problem areas in the product (a "problem area" being one that generates the maximum number of support calls),
- the documentation team, with a little help from the development team, can figure out whether documentation could have pre-empted such support calls,
- the documentation team can thus, by studying the support cases logged by the technical support desk, gain real customer feedback on documentation,
- such customer feedback can go a long way in planning for the maintenance of legacy documents.
I agree with Vasanth's viewpoint. It is a novell (in my knowledge) approach to getting customer feedback on documentaion, and tackling the problem areas that may exist (in the documents).
But for service companies, like the one where I work now, access to support desk data is almost non-existent. We develop the product, ship it to the client, and that's about it. Who gives us feedback? Our client, who is NOT the end user (the "customer").
So, I was wondering how to adapt/adopt the support-case strategy to the documentation cycle of service companies.
I posted a question at the Technical Writers of India yahoo group and got some responses. I'll be summarising them in a couple of days.