To any avid readers of this blog, and you both know who you are, thanks for the heads up. I recently had a couple technical issues with my blog that were corrected by the hard work of a team in product support. In the olden days, we called this “technical support” or “product support”. It was not called customer support to avoid any confusion with the business side of the interaction. I am going to continue with product support for convenience.

I have a warm spot in my heart for anyone doing product support because it was my personal gateway to the computer software industry. I did product support in three failed companies before my attention was turned from one-on-one phone support to the more one-to-many documentation/help. I’ve continued down that road.

The specific issue I had is not important. But the “product” was this blog.  I was prevented from changing anything on my blog. My profile got messed up. The real problem was that my RSS feed was posting updates from some other person. That was a little disconcerting.

In any case it is fixed now. I worked with Max Wang (ChinaSoft) ) from the Server and Tools support team, who patiently helped me troubleshoot the issue. I’m grateful to him and his team for fixing the issue. As this blog shows, I can access my blog for publishing, now.

More than that, I am happy to be reminded of the way in which content publishing, my current discipline, can work effectively with support. Documentation/help and other content that goes to customers can be informed and improved by a good relationship with the support team.

Support represents a boundary spanner in the organization. Support people talk directly to the customer. Therefore the boundary is the one between a company and its customers.

In content publishing, it’s easy to get isolated from the customer. Sometimes, it is  hard to identify who a customer is. If you are part of an internal service organization, it is people who receive their checks from the same person you receive them from. And when no money is exchanged, who is really a customer of whom?

Without getting to wrapped up in that, let us remember that there is wealth of common problems that customers have. And the support team definitely know about them. Next time you want to write something that directly helps a customer, reach out to boundary spanner like product support. They have empirical evidence on what real people on the other end of the phone, chat, or email are experiencing. Together, we can forge well-targeted communication that has a broad reach that unambiguously meets a well-known need.