Walking Backwards: Tracing the New Customer Journey from Finish to Start to Help Shape Content


Hi, I'm Sally Stumbo. I have successfully transitioned from a career in customer service to one in technical writing and knowledge-centered service work. Here's how I did it, and how my support background has helped and influenced my tech writing work. When I was a technical support engineer at Duo Security, I gained a good understanding of our customer's most common issues, and insight into the approach our support team takes in solving a customer's issue. Now as a technical writer, I'm able to use that experience to work on projects and develop content that will help deflect support volume. Duo uses a slightly modified version of the "Knowledge-Centered Service," which means that, in addition to the step-by-step product documentation created by our Engineering team, we have an internal and public knowledge base that captures any troubleshooting steps, common questions, and best practices for our customer and customer-facing teams.

My primary role is editing and publishing crowd-sourced content from our customer-facing teams. Just last quarter we published more than 200 articles written by our 23 support engineers alone, and lots of other teams contribute. While the crowd-sourced articles are great, I had an idea for something else I could focus my time on during work: I had anecdotal evidence, based on my experience in support, that new customers were reaching out to support before reading the documentation or searching the knowledge base. But why? What information were they receiving in the early stages? What information should they be receiving?

To better understand the customer journey from the moment they sign up for a trial account, I devised a plan to audit support cases created by customers in their first 90 days of having an account. I wanted to compare the questions they were asking with the content they receive in email campaigns, as well as review whether the topics are covered in our documentation or in the knowledge base already.

  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2020

About the speaker

Sally Stumbo