The importance of quick start guides

Junior Strategist

A good quick start guide (QSG) can improve the customer experience and help to reduce costs by lowering the number of engineer call outs and customer service calls for setting up.

A quick start guide is a document that helps to briefly communicate the key actions that a customer or user must complete in order to start using their product or service. They are often used to support self-installation; helping a customer to get set up on their own.

They are different from a user guide or manual, which are more likely to look like the book in the picture above.

Why is research important to a quick start guide?

Writing clear, comprehensive quick start guides takes practice and experience. A good quick start guide writer should have an understanding of user experience (UX) and be able to put themselves in the user’s shoes, while also cutting down the information to leave just the essential.

This is why user research is such a key part of creating quick start guides. It’s a good idea to involve someone that is external to the company, product or service in question, as an unbiased, and in some cases unfamiliar, view of a product or service will help to produce a clearer start guide for end-users.

In order to create clear and helpful quick start guides, the strategy team at Make it Clear undertake user testing and observation sessions to better understand the situation of an end-user when experiencing the guide and also to identify any problems that the user encounters. Additionally, it’s also useful to have user personas or user journeys in place at this stage so that the quick start guide can be created with existing customer knowledge in mind.

If you’re wondering why a quick start guide will help, read on.


How a quick start guide can help

1. Improve clarity and understanding 

A quick start guide gives the customer all the information they need to set up and use their new product or service properly. It can prevent confusion and improve the experience with a new product or service.


2. Reduce costs and resources

An excellent quick start guide saves the business time and money by reducing the need for in-person expert assistance, such as installation engineers. It decreases the volume of customer service calls and the amount of time that the customer may have to spend seeking help with their installation and set up.


3. Empower the customer 

By reducing the need for additional help, the customer does not need to schedule and wait for installation engineers or outside assistance, which can often be inconvenient and incurs both direct and indirect costs, both for the customer and the business. The customer can complete their setup and combat many problems in their own time, without the additional cost of help from experts or customer service.


4. Increase understanding of the new product or service

In order for the user to solve their problem with the help of the guide, in this case, setting up their product, they will have to work through stages of the install process and become familiar with the product. By going through the process of self-installing, the user now has a rudimentary understanding of how their product works, which can provide some context for them to fall back on and reassure them in the case of a future problem.


5. Support future problem solving

The quick start guide also gives the business the opportunity to present supplementary information to support the user, in advance of future issues. The user may absorb more information about their new product than they immediately realise by reading the quick start guide.


6. Contribute to the overall experience

By reducing the stress that the user may experience when booking an installation engineer or incurring extra costs from having an expert called out to look at their WiFi, the company is creating a better user experience for the user. If their guide is well written, carefully thought out and sufficiently descriptive, the user can have a smooth, quick set up immediately. The improved user experience may mean that the user purchases from that company again, cultivating brand loyalty and increasing sales from existing customers, or encouraging users to become a brand advocate, recommending the product to friends and colleagues.


7. A good guide can reflect well on the company 

Lastly, the quick start guide can reflect the company brand identity and purpose, showcasing how they treat their customers and how they are better than their competitors. It can influence what the customers and end-users think of that company, supporting their image and providing instructions that are a testament to their commitment to, and care of, their customers.


In our last article, we outlined our top 10 tips for writing quick start guides and explained why each aspect is so important. Give it a read to learn more about what to focus on when writing your QSG.


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