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MadCap Flare

On-prem Topic-based Authoring and Publishing

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Your hub for streamlined content collaboration and management

MadCap IXIA CCMS

Enterprise-class Component Content Management System (CCMS)

MadCap Xyleme

Enterprise-class Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

MadCap Flare

On-prem Topic-based Authoring and Publishing

MadCap Central

Your hub for streamlined content collaboration and management

MadCap IXIA CCMS

Enterprise-class Component Content Management System (CCMS)

MadCap Xyleme

Enterprise-class Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

Customer Success Story

Transflo Knowledge Bases Built with MadCap Software Cut Support Demands by 120,000 Hours While Empowering Users in the Office and on the Road

Use Case

  • Enhanced User Self-Service 
  • Reduced Support Demands 
  • Streamlined Content Delivery 

Industry

Transportation

Results:

With MadCap Software, Transflo has cut some 120,000 hours of support time, extended self-help to customers working onsite or on the road and increased overall brand awareness for the company. 

photo Transflo tablet image

Transflo®, a Pegasus TransTech company, is a trusted industry leader in mobile, telematics, and business process automation solutions for the North America transportation sector. The company’s customer-centric mobile and cloud-based technologies enable real-time communication for fleets, brokers, factors, shippers, and commercial vehicle drivers. Today, Transflo products are responsible for digitizing 800 million shipping documents each year, representing some $115 billion in freight bills and 3.2 million downloads of the Mobile+ app.  

Today, transportation-industry organizations utilize an end-to-end solution suite and digital platform powered by Transflo to increase their efficiency, improve cash flow, and reduce costs. To assist these customers with easy access onsite and on the road, the company delivers knowledge bases along with chatbots in Salesforce. To deliver these information resources, Transflo leverages the MadCap Central cloud-based content management system (CMS), MadCap Flare software for single-source multichannel authoring, and MadCap Connector for Salesforce. 

Goal: Enable User Self-Help Anywhere 

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Transflo has been at the forefront of innovation in transportation software for over 30 years. However, for much of that time, information on how to use its solutions was contained in CHM and PDF files that were primarily sourced in Microsoft Word. Not only did the files regularly contain outdated information; they were also difficult to navigate. 

 “Our market share and products were growing, but our users had no idea how to do anything without calling us; they needed help,” recalled John Karl, Transflo director of product experience. “It was time to upgrade our company’s thought process on enabling our users to find better self-help online. By saving time for them and reducing the time spent on support calls, we could save money while creating a better user experience.” 

 Transflo initiated a search for content management and authoring software that could be used to build modern knowledge bases for the company’s customers, as well as enable content to be synchronized with both the company’s local Git repository and Azure DevOps repository. After researching different vendors’ solutions, Transflo ran demos of MadCap Flare and two other products. 

 “When we ran a demo with MadCap Flare, it just hit home,” John noted. “We’re designers, but we know how to develop HTML5, and for us it was easy to create a knowledge base site using Flare. The interface was more user friendly in the way that we were used to building websites. Also, we could just import Word docs into Flare, and we could use a plug-in to connect with Salesforce.”  

 With so many Transflo customers using the software while driving, another factor was the ability to produce lightweight output that could be readily downloaded.  

Transflo mobile

Creating lightweight, easily downloadable outputs was crucial.

“We had truck drivers using the mobile app that were losing high-speed wireless service because they’re out in the oil fields,” John explained. “Luckily MadCap Flare is so light and configurable, we could let users download kilobits instead of gigabytes of data, meaning they could get information even if they only had access to 3G wireless service.” 

 John added, “Then, we discovered that MadCap Central offered additional features to help us publish and manage the current content and future knowledge base sites, and it became obvious that MadCap Software was a clear winner.” 

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We know our support volume has gone down while our knowledge base hits have grown by the thousands weekly. Anyone can do the math. Support cost per call versus self-help with MadCap Software equals big savings.

Damon Logiudice Principal Technical Writer and MadCap Specialist , Transflo®

headshot of Damon Logiudice

Creating an Intuitive Customer Experience

Transflo now uses MadCap Flare and MadCap Central to maintain and publish 18 customer-facing knowledge base sites for different users of its 10 primary product solutions. Additionally, the company maintains two private admin-only sites where access using login credentials is required and is managed by MadCap Central.

“We have thousands of example images, including screenshots and over 150 videos that all share a common home in our knowledge base sites maintained by MadCap Central and Flare, and recently we hit over a million user views,” John notes. “We also use MadCap Software to provide some context-sensitive SaaS software Help links, a few PDF training guides, and in-app Help that runs inside our flagship mobile app, itself.”

The use of individual knowledge bases helps to filter information, so users are only directed to relevant content. For example, if a user is on a mobile device or the main mobile app, they will just find content for mobile if they are running a search. Additionally, Transflo has started to add micro content for popular questions, so users can get a quick answer at the top of their search results.

The company also takes advantage of the synonym feature in MadCap Flare, says Damon Logiudice, Transflo principal technical writer: “We can add rules that improve SEO. For example, if a search word is misspelled a certain way, then go to this keyword and topic instead. Each quarter, we run reports on the success rates of users getting to the information they need, and with the use of synonyms in Flare, we’ve seen a significant improvement.”

John adds, “Now without waiting for a live person or paging through old PDF manuals, our collective audience can enter a search term and begin to apply knowledge to their scenario. The consistent look of the content also helps users immediately interact and engage, whether they are an advanced administrator or a novice user. And MadCap Software makes it all possible.”

 customer-facing knowledge base

Transflo now uses MadCap Flare and MadCap Central to maintain and publish 18 customer-facing knowledge base sites for different users of its 10 primary product solutions. 

MadCap Connect for Salesforce with Enhanced Chat Experience

Some customers, particularly drivers, are less likely to be computer-savvy. So, Transflo has installed the Einstein bot from Salesforce, which allows users to simply ask questions and have the bot deliver responses. The answers are powered by content from the MadCap Flare-based knowledge bases.

“Using MadCap Connect for Salesforce® makes the connection easy. It will copy images, links, everything beautifully over from MadCap Flare, John observes. “It has allowed us to build a chatbot option that serves up our Help links and when necessary, routes users to a support agent.”

John adds, “The bot is very useful to us when drivers are on the road because they can speak to the chatbot, and it will automatically search for answers. One of the best experiences with MadCap Software has been enabling our drivers to get the exact information they need.”

The availability of the MadCap Flare-based knowledge base content in Salesforce also facilitates the ability of Transflo support agents to help customers.

“The support agent taking a call can have the bot automatically connect to Flare to pull up the knowledge base topic they need. Then, the agent can read it to the customer and send the topic link,” John explains. “That's been a huge benefit of MadCap Connector for Salesforce.”

 customer-facing knowledge base

To further help users quickly find the information they need, the Transflo content development team uses search analytics in MadCap Central to understand what search terms customers are using. 

MadCap Central for Analysis and Management

The MadCap Flare-based knowledge bases provide robust search capabilities. To further help users quickly find the information they need, the Transflo content development team uses search analytics in MadCap Central to understand what search terms customers are using, and then they update the knowledge bases to recognize those terms as synonyms.

“With the MadCap Central search analytics, we are able to appreciate what our audience is looking for by reviewing the actual search input strings or long keywords they are entering to see if accurate results—or no results—are being generated,” John notes. “Then, we are able to engineer and update the experience for the user that guides them toward the content they need.”

Damon adds, “MadCap Central analytics and reports help us to identify common questions and show specific keywords that resonate with our audience but do not align with current articles.” Armed with this information, Transflo then uses MadCap Flare to triage the keyword gaps and make improvements in search engine optimization (SEO), as well as to provide answers to common questions as micro content appearing at the top of search results.

“MadCap Central is a really robust tool, and by using its insights into problem areas and the overall health of searches for our users, we easily can update or fix a section in seconds and publish it live right away while tracking action items and progress,” Damon says.

In addition to analytics, Transflo uses MadCap Central for task management, Damon says, “After using five or six other agile planning tools, I found the simple Task Board and Task Details pages in MadCap Central to be a strong feature for aligning teams, assigning work, and measuring project health. A lot of writers can appreciate visualizing a series of tasks on a board and tracking their status to completion each week, month, or sprint.”

Transflo also finds value in the build management features in MadCap Central to provide a secure history, offer rollback options, and show file change commits.

Maximizing Team Efficiency with MadCap Flare 

Beyond the productivity gains achieved with MadCap Central, Transflo has also realized several benefits with MadCap Flare. One is automatically meeting a company requirement to maintain documentation in the cloud-based systems used to manage the company’s software development, including GitHub and Microsoft Azure.  

 “We are very satisfied with the dual-binding capabilities we enjoy with MadCap Flare,” John says. “At any given time, our content is synchronized with our local Git repository, our Azure DevOps repository, and the remote MadCap Central cloud repository.” 

 Because some employees within Transflo like to work with Microsoft Word, the documentation team regularly uses MadCap Flare to import Word files, as well as produce some content as Word documents. Additionally, the team leverages several capabilities within MadCap Flare to maximize content reuse: 

  • Responsive web output skins in the MadCap Flare HTML5 output allow the team to publish a single target for desktop users and mobile users on smartphones or tablets. 
  • The topic structure provides a flexible architecture for grouping related procedures under drop-down headings or separate Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) concepts, tasks, and reference information into separate topics that can be arranged as needed in one or more table of content (TOC) files. 
  • Conditional text is used to help manage and process content through various stages, such as raw imported content, drafts, ready for quality assurance, and final. It is also used to mark hidden content, private content where a user must request access, and content be archived. 
  • Snippets facilitate content reuse across the 18 Transflo knowledge base sites. 

 “We benefit tremendously from the flexible features inside MadCap Flare,” John notes. “With Flare, MadCap Central, and an agile mindset, we’ve been able to grow from one to eighteen knowledge base sites in just under three years with the same headcount.” 

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We are on track to save just over 120,000 staff hours that would have been required to take support calls and resolve tickets. Using MadCap Software for our knowledge base sites helps us to deliver a self-service model that puts the user in control and allows us to allocate resources to more product initiatives.

John Karl Director of Product Experience , Transflo®

John Karl Photo

Optimizing Support

The benefits of using MadCap Central and MadCap Flare to manage and maintain Transflo knowledge base sites extend to customers, the support team, and overall brand awareness for the company.

“Based on current statistics and trends, we are on track to save just over 120,000 staff hours that would have been required to take support calls and resolve tickets,” John notes. “Using MadCap Software for our knowledge base sites helps us to deliver a self-service model that puts the user in control and allows us to allocate resources to more product initiatives.”

Damon adds, “We know our support volume has gone down while our knowledge base hits have grown by the thousands weekly. Anyone can do the math. Support cost per call versus self-help with MadCap Software equals big savings.”

At the same time, Damon explains, “When support does get involved, they can bring up the knowledge base article and pass it along to the user for clarity. We’ve also learned that teams here at Transflo are using the knowledge base sites as an onboarding tool to help get new hires up to speed faster.”

The success of the Transflo knowledge base sites is also reflected in search and social media results: “We have reached 2 million views; our SEO is great; and we rank high on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. We’re also seeing positive online customer reviews, more supportive feedback, and dozens of thumbs-up rankings,” Damon observes. “Working with MadCap Software, we have witnessed first-hand how the availability of information helps grow the business.”

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