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Simple product - no need for a user manual? We debunk this popular belief

December 2, 2022

Twice a year, at the moment of the time change, we all find ourselves faced with a mini-oven with the wrong time. This is the starting point for a long quest to find the user manual, and try to get the solution, only to end up restarting the appliance and losing all its settings.

To prevent your customers from continuing to suffer the same mishaps, it is in your best interest to write a manual! And to make it accessible on your product, using a QR code for example! That's our bet at Pimster, if you're curious, don't hesitate to go and see what we do.

Is your product intuitive to use? We explain why it's not so obvious 👉

User manuals are crucial, no matter what the product

We can't say it enough, but the user manual is a crucial element for your product because it is the first point of contact of your brand with your customer after the purchase. It is important not to miss this appointment that can allow you to increase the loyalty of your customers.

Still not convinced? Check out our previous article: Why the user guide should be your priority - we list 5 reasons.

Put yourself in your customer's shoes

Your product is probably simple for you and your team because you participated in its creation and design...in short, it has no secrets for you. But don't be mistaken! If you find your product intuitive it is because you have been working on it for a long time.

To avoid falling into this trap, you have to ask yourself the following question: have you thought about putting yourself in your customer's shoes?

To answer this question properly, you need to be able to look at your product in a fresh way, as if you were discovering it for the first time. This is the key to writing a top-notch user manual.

Of course it is often very difficult to rediscover a product that you know by heart. That's why you can always do a product test with a sample of consumers, and observe their reaction to the product, and note their questions. This will not only allow you to understand your customers' questions, but also to avoid missing any crucial information when writing your user manual.

Think about the customer experience

Writer Joseph Pine* says that we have moved from a product-based economy to a service-based industrial economy to an experience-based economy.

To create an experience, brands must be able to create a memory in consumers. For example, Starbucks has understood this very well: the brand doesn't just offer a coffee, it sells a unique customer experience (newspapers, chairs, warm atmosphere) inspired by the cafés of Milan.

It is important that you are able to create an experience around your product with your instructions and not just a service! What is the difference?

Joseph Pine explains that a service offers "time well saved", while an experience offers "time well spent". Therefore, your user guide must not only save your customer time, but it must also give a feeling of satisfaction to the customer, who must have the impression of having spent his time well.

*video on Youtube : Welcome to the experience economy - Qualtrics

Add self-maintenance and repair tips

The manual is not only used for onboarding the customer, it can also be used for maintenance or self-repair. Today, these are major issues that no company can ignore. Indeed, maintenance is also one of the first requests from customers during after-sales calls, whether the product is simple or complex.

The most practical and least expensive solution for your company? Include a section dedicated to maintenance and a section dedicated to self-repair, in your user manual. This section can take several forms, but we have identified the most effective ones for you:

  • a list of common questions concerning maintenance and repair, with their answers
  • a failure-solution table: list the classic failures in the left column, then in another column, drag pictures or pictograms to identify the failure, and finally in the right column, explain the solutions
  • links to video tutorials made by you, giving maintenance and repair advice

Keep it simple!

If your product is simple, try to make a simple user manual! This is the best way to offer the best of both worlds.

A simple manual is often short, accompanied by images and targeting the most common problems that your users may have encountered.

Finally, you can opt for a dematerialization of your instructions and propose video tutorials which will be the most efficient way to explain your product.

You can be inspired by our article referencing the best user manuals in 2022.