Reliable, easy-to-use instructions establish a clear path to brand loyalty and more efficient installations. While traditional paper instructions are still in use, advanced digital alternatives are providing a better experience for both field representatives and end users. Options like interactive 3D solutions offer a more in-depth look at a product or process, ensuring up-to-date information and taking troubleshooting to the next level.
Immersive 3D instructions also go beyond less advanced digital solutions, like basic digital instruction sheets and product videos. Digital manuals are often simply paper versions made digital—they supply complex yet minimal visualizations, making them only a tepid upgrade from paper instructions.
Video demonstrations, meanwhile, come with only one POV and require manual searching, which leads to confusion and avoidable inefficiency. Only with interactive 3D instructions can manufacturers take full advantage of the digital revolution. With easy searching, animated demos, and an efficient updating process, 3D instructions offer unparalleled accuracy and accessibility.
The results can dramatically transform the way manufacturers install, assemble, and service their brands. Read on to see how 3D instructions can fundamentally upgrade a business.
A Leap Forward: The Move From Paper Manuals to Interactive 3D Solutions
One of the most important trends of the last few years is how quickly customers look around for other brand options. The ubiquity of online shopping has made it much easier to replace brands than ever before, creating challenges in generating brand loyalty.
This has put pressure on manufacturers to improve the way they create product instructions, simplifying ease of use for a given product to avoid any customer frustration. A cumbersome manual that confuses technicians or frustrates customers is an easy way to increase product returns, create the need for costly rework, and diminish customer confidence.
Some of the ways traditional paper user manuals fall short of customer expectations include:
- Search difficulties. Finding solutions in a paper manual can be extremely difficult, especially if manuals are lengthy. This increases installation, assembly, and service times while making it more challenging for customers to solve problems on their own.
- Outdated information. While today’s customers are used to real-time information, companies relying on paper manuals simply can’t keep up. Instead of rapid and continual updates, manufacturers must bear the expense of discarding old manuals and reprinting new versions in an attempt to stay current.
- Lost manuals. When customers lose paper user manuals, they must search online for a digital version or call customer service—which lowers levels of satisfaction. This puts additional strain on both companies and field technicians.
- Sending the wrong impression. When a field rep is working with paper instructions, it suggests the company is woefully behind the times. Because paper manuals also slow down service technicians, it’s hard to counteract that initial impression.
- Limited visuals (or none at all). One of the biggest shortcomings of traditional instructions is the lack of useful visuals accompanying a given product. This makes it much more challenging for end users to successfully finish an installation or assembly, and it applies pressure to support departments.
All of these setbacks are easily resolved with the right cloud-based 3D instructions. Companies can provide total clarity on all their products, generate effortless product updates, and demonstrate a brand image more appropriate for the digital age.
Upgrading to a more effective instruction platform is also one of the easiest and least expensive components of the ongoing digital transformation. Manufacturers are facing pressure to digitize many of their processes, forcing many companies to reevaluate all phases of the business. Many of these transformations will take years or even decades to integrate. By comparison, implementing 3D instructions can make a material difference in the business with a fraction of the time and cost of other components of the digital infrastructure.
How Video and Basic Digital Instructions Fall Short
Moving from paper to video-based instructions can be a step in the right direction, but videos come with severe limitations as well. Users not only can’t change the point of view in a video, but they must search for the correct information manually. Replaying the needed portions of the video requires manual searching, causing further delays that can frustrate users.
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Like paper instructions, video-based manuals are also difficult to update. The cost of reshooting an installation video to include a new model or update can be prohibitive. This can lead to incongruous editing or the need for supplemental material to retain clarity. While visual learners will do better with video instructions than with most paper options, video manuals can still frustrate field reps and end users.
The same goes for generic digital instructions, particularly when they are merely PDF versions of paper. Without immersive elements, these simple digital versions are not ideal for learning or troubleshooting. Searching and updating is easier than with videos, but basic digital instructions lack the visual element that is a core component of interactive 3D solutions.
The best 3D instructions allow users full, multisensory access to all angles of a product or installation. Installers can zoom, pinch, and manipulate the image until they have precisely pinpointed the relevant components. As we push further into the digital era, advanced 3D interactive manuals are much more in line with the ongoing revolution than other options.
The Impact of a Multisensory Learning Experience
The more versatile and detailed an instructional mechanism, the more its users will be able to grasp critical information. Visual demonstrations and images can improve recall and understanding for most, but visuals alone aren’t enough.
Learning capacity peaks when we have vibrant visual elements, audio accompaniment, and hands-on, kinesthetic components. Studies show that only about one in three people prefer a single mode of learning—most prefer multisensory types of learning to maximize comprehension.
Once again, this highlights the limited nature of traditional instructions. While paper instructions offer the most restrictive learning experience, digitized PDF instructions and video-based manuals are only modest steps forward. PDF manuals do allow for greater portability and somewhat easier searches, but visuals are still rudimentary and users don’t benefit from a true multisensory environment. Video reinforces some of the information with audio, but it’s not a hands-on experience that can facilitate a deep understanding of the product.
Interactive 3D solutions use multiple learning preferences in collaboration with each other. The product can be viewed and reviewed in vivid detail; voice guides can walk a user through key steps of the process; and the user can manipulate the image to see the product from the preferred angle. The best software will also allow users to tap on parts of the image to access supplemental information. With multiple learning modes working cohesively, interactive 3D solutions diminish confusion and create a powerful learning experience.
Achieving Happier Field Reps and Customers
Superior instructions create a highway to elevated levels of field rep productivity and customer satisfaction. The best 3D options can:
- Decrease costly, unnecessary support. Customers who comprehend the instructions don’t need to call customer service. This lightens the burden on the service department and helps companies avoid unnecessary costs. At the same time, field workers can ensure they get it right the first time when installing or making repairs, avoiding unnecessary callbacks.
- Lower the number of product returns. Anything a company can do to trim the percentage of returns will help the bottom line. Frustrated customers who struggle with the instructions are more likely to initiate a return.
- Improve the comprehension of field reps. If a product requires professional installation, assembly, or follow-up service, a smooth process can lead to high marks from the customer. Manufacturers can empower service professionals to complete the task accurately and efficiently. 3D instructions can lead to better-trained technicians and an improved ability to solve problems at a job site.
- Increase conversion rates. Instructions should inspire confidence, which leads to improved conversion rates. A product page that showcases easy-to-follow interactive instructions will help consumers overcome potential barriers to making a purchase.
- Help companies avoid errors and inaccuracies. Inaccurate or outdated information blocks a brand from making a connection with a customer. 3D instructions that are easy to update allow manufacturers to circumvent errors and provide the most current information possible.
Keeping Up with Trends
We live in an immersive digital world that has changed dramatically over the last decade. The ability to manipulate images on our phones or devices is a relatively new concept, yet it has quickly become ubiquitous thanks to the steady advancement of technology. Not only are we inundated with visuals, but we have direct access to them thanks to the impressive digital toolkits we now possess.
Instructions need to work alongside that trend to be successful. Both customers and field representatives who serve them, especially from younger generations, now expect a different level of connection. Videos and searchable PDFs have improved the overall experience, but they are still outdated methods that restrict end users from fully engaging with products.
Meanwhile, interactive 3D solutions have the inside track on linking products to customers and service reps. With product familiarity comes stronger brand loyalty, increased confidence, and more referrals to other potential buyers. Dynamic 3D instructions offer intuitive guides that have the same digital grammar as many of our favorite devices. Such an organic interactive experience is built for the modern worker and consumer, generating positive experiences that are the foundation of repeat business.
Finding the Right Options to Transform Your Instructions
Using inadequate user manuals is an easy way to undermine a product or installation and put pressure on the service department. The reputation of a product or brand can also take a significant hit, leading to drops in customer retention and conversions. For companies looking to improve their process, interactive 3D solutions can completely revolutionize the way a product understood. The top options can convert insufficient instructions into a modern. multisensory guide that will dramatically enhance relationships with the brand.
As a leading 3D solutions company, BILT can upgrade your instructions from top to bottom. Replace paper manuals, digitized PDFs, and manufacturer CADs with advanced, interactive instructions that help both service reps and end users. Contact the BILT team for more on how next-generation 3D instructions can impact your business.