By Daniel Hunter

New research from Xerox highlights the importance of having clear and comprehensible product instruction manuals for a company’s bottom line and high customer retention.

The research reveals one third of consumers are less likely to buy products from a company if they know they have convoluted instruction manuals. Consumers over 55 years of age are especially discriminating, with 46 per cent factoring the quality of product instructions into their purchase decision.

According to the research, 1 in 10 admitted that inadequate guidelines lead to arguments in their household and over 1 in 20 even confessed to breaking their product after being confused by instruction documents.

“Communicating the full functionality of the product is an essential and often overlooked stage in the customer buying journey,” said Julie Hesselgrove, Group President, Xerox Communication and Marketing Services (CMS), which provides a complete range of services to help clients simplify their marketing and communication programs.

“Having confusing instructions is like having a keyboard without the letters printed on — you can muddle through but it will take you a lot longer and cause lots of irritation.”

The YouGov survey* sampled over 2000 UK adults and shows 21 per cent of people find instructions difficult to understand with the same percentage believing that they are not detailed enough.

This has led to a systemic lack of understanding of how many everyday technology devices actually work. More than 1 in 5 (21 per cent) claimed that they don’t fully understand how to use their mobile phones while 25 per cent don’t have a complete grasp of their personal computers.

“Offering your customers the tools to understand your product in an interactive and interesting way makes a difference to brand loyalty and repeat business,” added Hesselgrove. “Newer channels, such as via online videos, interactive, web support and apps offer better ways to make instructions comprehensive and easy to follow.”

As a specialist services provider, Xerox can help large companies create easy-to-understand instruction manuals in a variety of digital and print formats, helping organisations reduce after-sales support costs and improve customer experience.

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